Leeds Imam condemns Sri Lanka Easter Sunday attacks which have killed more than 200 people

Imam Qari Asim MBE who is Imam at Leeds Mosque and the chair of Mosques andImams National Advisory Board said he stands in solidarity with Christians around the world following the attacks.
Imam Qari Asim MBE who is Imam at Leeds Mosque and the chair of Mosques andImams National Advisory Board said he stands in solidarity with Christians around the world following the attacks.
0
Have your say

A Leeds Imam has strongly condemned the Sri Lanka attacks which saw churches and hotels targeted across the country on Easter Sunday.

Imam Qari Asim MBE who is Imam at Leeds Mosque and the chair of Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board said he stands in solidarity with Christians around the world following the attacks.

A view of St. Sebastian's Church damaged in blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019.

A view of St. Sebastian's Church damaged in blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019.

Britons are among those hurt after more than 200 people died in a series of explosions which ripped through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka.

Six nearly simultaneous explosions at churches and hotels killed scores of people in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa.

Hours later there were further explosions in Dehiwala and Dematagoda on the outskirts of Colombo.

Read more: Leeds Imam slams Shamima Begum's 'dangerous' decision to join IS and calls for young to challenge extremism
The authorities said 207 were killed and 450 injured in the attacks, most of which were being blamed on suspected suicide bombers.

No one has taken responsibility for the killings, but officials say seven suspects have been arrested.

The Easter attacks are the worst bloodshed Sri Lanka has seen since its brutal civil war ended a decade ago.

Imam Qari Asim, said: "I strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday which resulted in innocent people being brutally murdered and hundreds injured.

"Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by the explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.

"The highly coordinated attacks on churches on Easter Sunday demonstrates that there are no boundaries to the depravity of the murderers. Murdering Christian worshippers on Easter Sunday is akin to killing Muslims praying in a Mosque on Eid day, and therefore we can understand the pain and anguish that has been caused to the Christian community of Sri Lanka on a day they consider to be one of their holiest.

"In this extremely difficult time for the Christian community across the world, we stand in solidarity with Christians everywhere. An attack on any place of worship is an attack on the way of life of faith communities and therefore an attack on all of us.

"These reprehensible acts, committed by those who are driven by hatred, aim to create fear and division in communities. The extremists want to restrict freedom of religion, which is one of the fundamental human values shared globally. We must stand together in solidarity and show that extremists will never succeed.”

Read more: Muslim women still spat at and assaulted in the streets, says Leeds Imam Qari Asim
In Colombo, St Anthony's Shrine and the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotels were targeted in the first wave of explosions.

Other blasts were reported at St Sebastian's Church in Negombo, a majority Catholic town north of Colombo, and at Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa.

Theresa May said the Easter Sunday massacre was "truly appalling" and "no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear".

Britons in Sri Lanka who need help were urged to call the High Commission in Colombo on +94 11 5390639 while people in the UK worried about friends or family should call the Foreign Office on 020 7008 1500.