Saudi Arabia leads global condemnation of Sri Lanka attacks

Updated 22 April 2019
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Saudi Arabia leads global condemnation of Sri Lanka attacks

  • King Salman condemned the "despicable act of terrorism"
  • Other world leaders have also condemned the attacks that killed more than 200 people

RIYADH: King Salman and other world leaders have condemned a series of blasts in Sri Lanka that killed more than 200 people on Sunday, including dozens of foreigners — with British, Dutch and American citizens believed to be among them.

The Saudi king sent a cable of condolence to the president of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena following the terrorist attacks in the country.

“We are aware of the terrorist attacks that targeted your friendly country and the resulting deaths and injuries, and we strongly condemn this despicable act of terrorism,” the cable from the king said.

Saudi Press Agency reported the king called for an international effort to combat terrorism.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a cable to Sirisena, expressing his condolences and a speedy recovery to those injured in the attacks.

Seven suspects were arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday bomb attacks on eight churches and hotels in the island nation.

Other world leaders also condemned the attack. Here is a summary of the reactions:

United States of America

US President Donald Trump said the US sends its heartfelt condolonces to the people of Sri Lanka, adding his country is ready to help.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis condemned the attacks as "such cruel violence" and said he was close to the Christian community, hit while celebrating Easter.

United Kingdom

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the attacks as “truly appalling.”
“The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time,” she tweeted.
“We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practice their faith in fear.”

Netherlands

“Terrible reports from Sri Lanka about bloody attacks on hotels and churches on this Easter Sunday,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted after the attacks first emerged.
“Thoughts are with the victims and their relatives.”

Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was thinking of those killed in a “horrific terrorist attack.”
“To the beautiful people of Sri Lanka, Australia sends its heartfelt sympathies and our prayers and our support — and our offer to do whatever we can to support you in this terrible time of need,” he said in a statement.
“At this time as Easter Sunday draws to a conclusion here in Australia, our heart goes out to those Christians and all of those other innocents who have been slaughtered today in this horrific terrorist attack.”

New Zealand

A month after dozens of Muslims were killed in a shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the attack as “devastating.”
“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating.
“New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence.”

Catholic Church in Jerusalem

The Catholic Church in Jerusalem said the blasts were particularly sad as they “came while Christians celebrate Easter.”
“We pray for the souls of the victims and ask for speedy recovery of the injured, and ask God to inspire the terrorists to repent of their killing and intimidation,” the statement said.
“We also express our solidarity with Sri Lanka and all its inhabitants in their various religious and ethnic backgrounds.”

India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed solidarity with the fellow South Asian country, and said “there is no place for barbarism in our region.”

Pakistan

Imran Khan also took to Twitter to condemn the attacks, saying: “My profound condolences go to our Sri Lankan brethren.”

Iran

Iran's foreign minister says he is “terribly saddened” by the Easter Sunday bombings.

Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that “terrorism is a global menace with no religion: it must be condemned & confronted globally.”

Lebanon

Lebanon's prime minister calls the attacks “blind terrorism” and offers solidarity to Sri Lanka's people.

Saad Hariri in a tweet asks for mercy for the “innocent victims” and speedy recovery for the injured.

France

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Sunday the “odious” attacks that left 160 dead at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. “We strongly condemn these odious acts,” he wrote on Twitter. “Full solidarity with the Sri Lanka people and our thoughts for all those close to the victims this Easter.”


Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

Updated 4 sec ago
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Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

  • The president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury Shagaf Khan said people will be both financially and spiritually supported during the journey
  • Khan said a trip to Makkah would normally cost around 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,769), but King Salman’s offer would cover pilgrims “from the time they leave their house and come back”

CHRISTCHURCH: King Salman’s Hajj offer to host families of those affected by March’s Christchurch terror attacks is “something really special,” said the president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury, Shagaf Khan.
The Saudi king has offered to host and cover the expenses of 200 Hajj pilgrims when they journey to Makkah this year.
Khan said people will be both financially and spiritually supported during the journey. “For some of them, it’ll be a great comfort feeling like they’ve fulfilled the obligations of being a Muslim,” he added.
Khan said a trip to Makkah would normally cost around 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,769), but King Salman’s offer would cover pilgrims “from the time they leave their house and come back.”
When asked what the offer would mean for Canterbury’s Muslim community, Khan said it is part of the solidarity and support that has been shown to them since the Christchurch terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 51 people.
“Four months on … people still feel supported and they feel they’re still being remembered,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed Amir, who is working closely with the local community, Saudi Arabia’s Embassy and its Ministry of Islamic Affairs to implement King Salman’s offer, said it will be available for those who had lost family members or been injured in the mosque attacks.
Canterbury’s Muslims are “very appreciative” of the offer, added Amir, who is chairman of the Islamic Scholars Board of New Zealand.
“I’ll say with full confidence that this will be a big relief for the deceased’s families, for the victims, for all those who’ve been injured and affected,” he said.
When asked how the organization of the pilgrimage is going, Amir said “so far, so good,” but added that it has been challenging without official records to track everyone down.
He said it is an honor and a responsibility to help organize the pilgrimage, which he has been helping to plan since the end of Ramadan. “People are very excited about it,” he added.
He said he believed that the king’s offer had been made to help people’s rehabilitation after the terror attacks.
“The community believes he’s going to contribute in building Christchurch and bringing people to a normal life,” Amir added.