The Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith urged those involved in violence against the Muslim community to immediately stop these attacks. He also urged the Muslims not to get intimidated by these sinister elements and to act patiently and remain calm. He also urged the Muslim community to make an effort to be part of the Sri Lankan culture and not to isolate themselves by their customs. When asked if the Christian Affairs Ministry was supportive of the efforts taken by the Catholic church, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said there need not be different ministries for each religion in the country.
“I personally feel that all religions should be brought under one religious affairs ministry. There is no need to have different ministers representing the different religions. This difference is what is causing all this issues. This is a Buddhist country and Buddhism is the spinal cord of the country’s culture. However, all other religions have existed in this country for ages without any issue and as far as the Catholics are concerned we receive better respect and recognition even more that so called Catholic countries,” the Archbishop noted.Addressing a media briefing in Colombo yesterday, together with the Ven. Iththapane Dhammalankara Thera at Archbishop’s House, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith urged the Muslim community to join with the rest of the communities in country and share in their similarities rather than isolating themselves through their differences.“I am a person who wants to work in close relationship with all communities and that is why we did not allow the Easter Sunder incident to fester. At least as a respect for that effort, I urge all Muslims to try to shed their differences and stop isolating themselves and join all communities in this country in harmony and brotherhood. If we do that all communities in this country could live peacefully in this country.” Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith appealed to all citizens of this country, irrespective of their race or religion, to refrain from doing anything that would jeopardise the peace and unity of the people in this country.“Sri Lanka is such a beautiful country because of its variety. We are Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus etc. Therefore, we must build a new Sri Lanka where all these religions and races live together in unity. We have existed for centuries in peace and unity and we must not allow selfish motives to disturb that peace. Unfortunately, what happened on April 21 was a sad chapter of our history and we lost so many valuable lives. Now we have managed to control our emotions and rise up as a nation, united and strong. So please do not allow this situation to get out of control.”He urged the groups engaged in causing riots in certain areas to please stop. “We know that some of these group attacking shops and causing harm to religious places to please refrain from doing that. We know that some of these groups are politically aligned. We ask all those political leaders to please control their members to ensure that they don’t get out of hand and they don’t take the law into their own hands. There are establishments to maintain security and the rule of law and let them do their job. We stood together in brotherhood in the face of tragedy and around 250 people lost their lives and the best tribute we can give them is to remain calm and refrain from violence.”When a journalist asked him if he agrees with a comment made by a TNA MP that this tragedy is a result of minority rights being supressed, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said, “I don’t think this incident was because of any suppression of minority rights. These politicians should not try to bring their political views to the fore using this incident. This atrocity was unleashed by a group of misguided youth who were manipulated by an international terror organisation.”