What Happened in Sri Lanka, Response, and Opinion

What Happened:

In eight coordinated attacks, over 300 people (321 confirmed and the total number pending) were killed and approximately 500 more were injured in Sri Lanka this last Easter. These coordinated attacks were targeted towards churches and hotels in an active attempt to kill tourists and Christians.

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The government of Sri Lanka identified the small Islamist terrorist organization, National Thowheeth Jama’ath, as responsible for that attacks. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but proof of their claims is still pending (as ISIS has a tendency to claim responsibility for any and all terrorist attacks in an attempt to gain influence and the power of fear regardless of their actual contributions). Another claim pending without proof is the widely publicized notion that this attack was a response to the attack on Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand back in March.

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Currently at least 24 people have been arrested for participation in the attacks. A six-foot pipe bomb reportedly discovered at an airport that never went off. This coordinated attack is reportedly the worst act of violence the country has seen since its civil war a decade ago. The suicide bombings invoked intense fear and panic in the country, social media outlets were cut off by the government to lessen the threat of false reporting from desperate people.

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Response and Outrage:

In response to the attacks, several politicians reached out through social media to express their support/condolences. Included in these tweets were two by former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Hillary Clinton. The tweets read:

Both tweets invoked outrage under the intent refusal to acknowledge the religious affiliation of those under attack.

Opinion:

As an American Christian, I have never felt the threat of retaliation against me for my faith on the level of death, imprisonment, or anything extreme. But that is simply because I am a Christian in the United States. Abroad, Christians face an incredulous amount of threat to their very livelihoods on a day to day basis.

In just April of 2019 alone: Nigeria witnessed a massacre at a Christian baby dedication. Seventeen were murdered by the extreme Islam group, including the mother of the baby. Christians in Iraq are facing persecution from Iranian backed militias. In China, two Christian priests were apprehended for their religious practice, one beaten and kidnapped by the government officials. Also, in China, 60 believers were severely beaten guarding their church against shut down. In India, Hindu nationalists found and beat Christians at a prayer meeting, burning their bibles. All of this while in Chad, reports of Christian persecution is continuously on the rise.

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This is not to say that other religious groups do not face prosecution or suffering for their beliefs. The events of March show that clearly enough. But our proudest politicians denouncing the suffering of Christians abroad is a direct insult to the pain these non-American Christian believers have to face on a day-to-day basis. As an American, it may come easier to consider all Christians as the ones we see within our borders, but the reality is our freedom from religious persecution does not expand globally. They were Christians, not Easter worshippers.