In response to Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that left over 320 dead, the Knights of Columbus have pledged support to the diocese of Colombo to help rebuild the local Christian community.
(The Knights of Columbus are a principal sponsor of Crux.)
Sunday’s terrorist attacks, which specifically targeted Christians as they attended Easter Mass, and Westerners staying in popular hotels, were carried out by the Islamic State. The government received warnings of possible attacks ten days before they were carried out, but failed to act.
“The Knights of Columbus stands in solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka during this time of trial. Terrorist attacks like those on Easter Sunday are the acts of those who reject the sanctity of life, human rights and religious freedom,” said CEO Carl Anderson in a statement.
On Tuesday, some of the first funeral Masses of the victims were already underway, some of whom had just recently received their first communion.
“Globally, it is well documented that Christians are the most persecuted religious group today. Now is the time for every country to take concrete steps to protect their minority populations, including Christians, and to stop this persecution and slaughter,” said Anderson.
“Every country should protect its religious minorities, and freedom-loving countries must demand nothing less of their neighbors. Talk of human rights and religious freedom rings hollow when people are killed for nothing more than worshipping the one who taught us to love one another,” he continued.
The financial support of $100,000 from the Knights has been sent to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, who has criticized the Sri Lankan government for failing to heed warnings of the attack.
“I condemn to the utmost of my capacity this act that has caused so much death and suffering to the people,” said Ranjith.