Former Sri Lankan cabinet minister arrested for alleged links to Easter 2019 anti-Christian terror

Rishad Bathiudeen was previously arrested in October for alleged misappropriation of state resources, and was released on bail in November.

Catholic and other religious leaders commemorated the second anniversary of the attacks on April 21, and prayed for an end to religious extremism.

Cardinal Ranjith joined Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim leaders at the service, speaking at St. Anthony’s Shrine, the site of one of the major bombings. The service included prayers and two minutes of silence in remembrance of the dead.

Ranjith challenged the country’s Muslim communities to reject extremism and help Catholics identify those responsible for the attack. Muslim cleric Hassan Moulan said the Islamic faith does not justify crime, and said that Muslims around the world condemned the attack. The Sri Lanka Muslim community has not permitted the suicide bombers’ bodies to be buried in its cemeteries, to distance them from the religion of Islam.

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Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa won election in 2019 while promising to find the truth of the attacks. His government previously accused a Muslim clergyman, who had been arrested after the attacks, of being the organizer.

Catholic leaders rejected this claim and suspected foreign involvement.

Ranjith has criticized a presidential commission that investigated the attacks, saying it focused on political leaders’ failure to prevent the attacks rather than on finding those directly responsible.

Sri Lanka is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, southwest of the Bay of Bengal. Its population numbers more than 21 million people. More than 70% of Sri Lankans are Buddhists, roughly 13% are Hindus, almost 10% are Muslims, and fewer than 8% are Christians. There are 1.5 million Catholics in the country, constituting the overwhelming majority of Sri Lanka’s Christians.

The country has been plagued with periodic violence since its 26-year civil war concluded in 2009.

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2 thoughts on “Former Sri Lankan cabinet minister arrested for alleged links to Easter 2019 anti-Christian terror

  1. Pingback:Colombo cardinal says Sri Lankan officials out to mislead pope over probe into 2019 attacks - News Worldwide
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