Like you, we are heartbroken to hear of the brutal attacks directed at Christian worshippers and tourists on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. Please read OMNIA's statement below and share with your colleagues, family, and friends. Together we must embrace the conviction that love is stronger than hate and that peace is everyone's to build. Please join us as we pray and work together to help heal Sri Lanka. A link to a formal press release is also included, which we encourage you to distribute to your network.
A Statement on the Easter Violence in Sri Lanka
from the Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, President of the Omnia Institute
Chicago, IL (April 21, 2019) – The OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership stands in deep solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka following the despicable bombing attacks on Easter Sunday. Our hearts go out to the families of the 290 persons who lost their lives, and to more than 500 persons wounded in the churches and hotels that were wracked by bomb blasts. The violence appears aimed at Christians and tourists, but when one group is targeted, all are affected. We strongly condemn these acts.
Violence directed to a religious community, especially at a time of worship, is particularly heinous. The targeting of tourists at hotels is no less so. While it is still premature to reach any conclusions about the perpetrators or their reasons, what we do know is this: for the past several decades, religious minorities have been under threat from various extremist forces. The government’s attempts to protect minority religions, to prevent such violence, and to bring perpetrators to justice have been inadequate and ineffective. We hope this tragedy will result in more effective interventions.
OMNIA has been honored to be invited to Sri Lanka throughout the past year, where we have established 14 Interfaith Peacemaker Teams. Through these teams, religious leaders and people of all faiths in Sri Lanka have joined together to learn how to build strong relationships across the boundaries that usually divide people. They learn to build powerful coalitions and work together on issues that arise from the ground in their communities. The Easter tragedy reminds us that much more must be done in Sri Lanka and we pledge to continue our work to reduce all forms of religion-based violence.
To our friends and colleagues in Sri Lanka, we extend our heartfelt love and abiding support. We pray that the message of Easter, of new life and the hope of peace, will give them strength and courage.