Institute on Religion and Democracy Press Release
April 22, 2019
Contact: Chelsen Vicari office: 202-682-4131, cell: 540-239-2170
“Islamic jihadists have no hesitation about slaughtering Christians on the holiest day of the year, the day of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. So why are certain American politicians and talking heads so squeamish about identifying the victims as Christians and now calling them Easter Worshippers?”
-IRD International Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J.H. McDonnell
Washington, DC—Coordinated bombings targeting multiple churches, as well as hotels, on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka highlight, once again, the growing persecution of Christians in South Asia and around the globe.
The New York Times reports that at least 290 people were killed and 500 others injured by the terrorist attacks, many a part of Sri Lanka’s minority Christian community. Three coordinated suicide bombings took place during Easter Sunday morning services at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo (pictured above), evangelical Zion Church in Batticaloa, and St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s commercial capital and largest city.
The Sri Lankan government suspects the bombings were carried out by the National Thowheed Jamaath, a local Islamist militant group with international ties,
as reported by the Washington Post.
The Cardinal Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Ranjith, strongly condemned the terrorist attacks, calling it “a very, very sad day for all of us” and extended his “deepest sorrow and sympathy to all those innocent families that have lost someone, and also to those who have been injured and rendered destitute.”
During his Easter address, Pope Francis called the attacks “horrendous” and expressed his “heartfelt closeness to the Christian community, attacked while gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such a cruel act of violence.”
IRD International Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J.H. McDonnell commented:
We are deeply saddened by the murders of these innocent people, our brothers and sisters in Christ, celebrating their Risen Lord, as well as all the others. Their families and community, and the entire nation of Sri Lanka is in our thoughts and prayers.
Islamic jihadists have no hesitation about slaughtering Christians on the holiest day of the year, the day of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. So why are certain American politicians and talking heads so squeamish about identifying the victims as Christians and now calling them Easter Worshippers?
This reticence to name Christians as targets of persecution is also seen in Nigeria, where the slaughter of entire communities of Christians by Boko Haram and Fulani jihadists is euphemistically referred to as “clashes between farmers and herdsmen.”
It is time that Christians who are standing and even dying for their faith in Jesus received the honor that they deserve. Four years ago 147 Kenyan Christian young people at Garissa University were murdered by al Shabaab. We at IRD denounced the euphemisms used by President Obama and others that avoided explicitly stating that these students were Christians who were killed because they were Christians.
Christians are tiring of these euphemisms. Currently, #Easterworshippers is trending on Twitter. Christians who still have freedom in the West should speak the truth freely and boldly about the persecution of their brothers and sisters.