Sri Lankan State Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardana claims that the series of Easter Sunday bombings carried out across the island nation were conducted by the National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ), an Islamic extremist group. No group, however, has stepped forward to claim responsibility.
Wijewardana further claims that the bombings were in response to the recent attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Christchurch attacks left 50 dead and 50 more injured and were carried out by a white supremacist. It’s unclear what evidence Wijewardana has to make his claims.
In Sri Lanka, the death toll has risen to 321 and may rise further. Eyewitness reports suggest that suicide bombers had entered the churches and luxury hotels throughout Sri Lanka and detonated their bombs. Suicide bombing is a common tactic among Islamic terrorists.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has admitted that “information was there” before the attacks. President Maithripala Sirisena, who ranks below the prime minister, allegedly had advanced warning of the attacks but did not inform the prime minister.
Fr. Jude Fernando, who is the administrator of St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, which was targeted in the bombings, has urged Christians not to retaliate. Fernando was quoted as saying: “Please be calm and quiet and pray, because our God is not a god of revenge, he’s a god of love, he’s a god of peace…let’s follow our master and spread the good news. Continue to pray for one another, and don’t do any harmful acts.”
Sri Lanka is predominately Buddhist but is home to substantial Christian and Muslim minorities. .