Mumbai - "As Sri Lanka is a country very close to us, together we intend to offer practical help to allow the victims of the Easter attacks to overcome the unprecedented crisis that has devastated their lives. We send a high-level inter-religious delegation, composed of members of our faith communities, to explore the possibilities of cooperation and also to offer our sincere condolences to the people of Sri Lanka": this is stated in a joint declaration signed by Cardinal Oswald Gracias. Archbishop of Bombay and President of the Indian Bishops' Conference , and of Maulana Mahmood A. Madani, Secretary General of "Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind", the Council of Muslim theologians in India. Christians and Muslims in India together express "shock and unequivocal condemnation of the barbarous attacks in Sri Lanka", reads the statement, sent to Agenzia Fides. "The people and groups responsible for the massacres are against humanity, against civilization and against God. They are the embodiment of the most atrocious forces on earth", the two religious leaders affirm in the shared text. "Associating terrorists with any faith is a sacrilegious act", the two say, urging the followers of all religions to "deny and condemn these barbarous individuals and groups", and inviting the government to ban them from society. The message points out that "terrorist attacks become more gruesome if executed under the pretext of religious faith: in addition to causing the loss of innocent lives, they destroy peace and harmony". "It is the duty of all religious leaders to stand up and use all our resources to repudiate this evil from society", the leaders reiterate. For this reason, they continue, "it is necessary to remain close to our Christian brothers, share their sorrows and express our solidarity with them".
The two religious leaders ask the government and the police "to be more vigilant and to take precautionary measures that prevent terrorist groups from devastating civil society", expressing "our determination to continue our fight against terrorism, for global peace", and inviting all citizens, of any faith, to "collaborate with their personal efforts".
The statement concludes by appealing to "all men of good will, regardless of religion, caste or creed, to work to save humanity and maintain social harmony and peace".
Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic nation, the 22 million inhabitants are mostly Buddhists but include minorities: Christians, Muslims and Hindus. In India, a nation of 1.2 billion inhabitants, 80% are Hindus, about 25% of the population are Muslims, while Christians represent 2.5%. >>