Sri Lanka: LWF condemns violence, urges religious leaders to promote peace

Candle lighting during a church service. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

LWF calls for protection of places of worship

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) continues to express the communion’s solidarity with all those affected by the Easter Sunday attacks targeting Christian places of worship and hotels in Sri Lanka.

“The LWF is deeply disturbed by the despicable acts of violence, in which more than 350 people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured,” LWF President Archbishop Dr Panti Filibus Musa and General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge say in a joint statement today.

“This is yet another act of violence that shows an appalling contempt for human life. Sadly, it also adds to the increasing attacks targeting people as they gather in their places of worship,” the LWF leaders say.

Musa and Junge convey LWF’s “deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives and of those who have been injured” and offer prayers of comfort.

The LWF leaders call upon governments to guarantee the rights of all people and protect “places of worship as part of their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.” They also draw the urgent attention of authorities to growing extremism, saying it is “an imminent threat to lasting peace and co-existence in our increasingly multicultural and pluralistic societies.”

Musa and Junge encourage religious leaders to persist in their engagement in the public space in order to seek the common good and promote equal protection and participation of all people. They urge them to also “actively oppose all instrumentalization of religious groups or beliefs to fuel conflict and fragmentation.”

Affirming Christ’s message of peace and hope this Easter season, they encourage the communion’s member churches “to continue promoting, witnessing and building just and peaceful relations with their neighbors, including other religious communities.”