NEW DELHI (UCAN): About a hundred people, including Muslims, joined hands to form a human chain in front of New Delhi’s Sacred Heart Cathedral on April 23 to pay homage to the victims of suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka that killed 359 people, mostly Christians.
Leaders from Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths came together to express solidarity with the families of victims of the Easter Sunday blasts.
“Here we are praying for grieving families and for Christians to have courage and hope after this most dastardly attack. I can’t recall such a large number of martyrs in recent history,” Maulana Mahmood Madani, an Islamic scholar and politician, said.
The violence in Sri Lanka “is an attack on all of us. We must and we can fight against those who want to destroy us or tear us apart,” said Father Felix Jones, secretary of the Archdiocese of Delhi Commission for Interfaith Dialogue.
Participants sang hymns praying for those who perished while flowers were placed in front of the cathedral, fortified with unprecedented security and candles lit in memory of the dead.
Here we are praying for grieving families and for Christians to have courage and hope after this most dastardly attack. I can’t recall such a large number of martyrs in recent historyMaulana Mahmood Madani
Delhi police have strengthened security in churches across the capital following the atrocity.
Apporvanand Jha, a Hindu college professor who has been part of a campaign against hate crimes, said in the face of such violence “the best response is to come together, hold each other and say that violence cannot do us apart.”
He added, “We will continue to be together. Every time such a heinous crime takes place, we should come together and condemn it.”
Christian leader, Michael Williams, said, “More and more good people need to come out from their comfort zones onto the streets and unite against the spread of hatred. Don’t just sit back and say, ‘I did nothing wrong, why should I bother?’ “ he asked.
The programme was organised by United Against Hate, a collection of groups campaigning against hate violence and the intolerance of Hindu groups towards minorities in India such as Christians and Muslims. It was endorsed by the Archdiocese of Delhi and its Commission for Interfaith Dialogue.
Ovais Sultan Khan, organiser of the human chain, said it was good to see people from every faith coming together to stand against religion-based violence.
“I think these kinds of symbolic things will make a strong future that will be more peaceful,” Khan said.
Sikh leader, Gurvinder Singh, condemned what he called the “barbaric” violence in Sri Lanka. The Sikh people “stand in unity with the Christian community and seek justice,” he said.