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Violence in Sri Lanka: Attacks on one faith are attacks on all faiths

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Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia urges people of all walks of life to join together to categorically reject the sort of hostility and violence in Sri Lanka and to affirm peace and harmony.

Barely a month after the terror attack on Muslims in a mosque in New Zealand, the world is once again in shock, receiving news of attacks and loss of innocent lives, this time in the island of Sri Lanka.

These attacks are even deadlier, with the death toll rising to at least 290 people, mainly Christian worshippers in three churches and guests at five-star hotels across the cities. There are also damages to church buildings and hotels and those properties therein.

Civil society groups are horrified by such brutal and inhumane acts of terror since it was targeted at peaceful worshippers and guests at the hotels and the churches during the celebration of a sacred Christian event.

We condemn such attacks and denounce the use of violence on followers of any religion. We also denounce the religious extremists or zealots who were widely reported to have orchestrated and coordinated such attacks on the otherwise peaceful cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa in Sri Lanka.

Religious violence begets only hostility and violence. It creates a never-ending cycle of intolerance, leading to more hostility and violence that in the end threatens the very fabric of a peaceful and democratic society.

Every religious group, whether in majority or minority, has the right to practice its own religion in security and comfort. It is appalling that Christian worshippers gathering peacefully in Easter celebrations at their own churches could be subject to bomb blasts that claimed the innocent lives of so many.

The attacks on one faith are therefore attacks on all religious faiths.

We urge people of all faiths and walks of life, to join together to categorically reject this sort of hostility and violence and affirm peace and harmony.

We call on state authorities to ensure prejudice and hatred must never be allowed to fester in our peaceful society either by appealing to the politicisation of race or religion for self-serving interests or gains.

Finally, GBM as a coalition of civil society organisations takes this opportunity to once again reaffirm our commitment to the call as contained in the KL Declaration of Peace 2019:

  1. Condemning any act of discrimination, violence and killing in the name of religion or ethnicity
  2. Totally rejecting any act or culture based on hatred in the name of religion or ethnicity
  3. Supporting all efforts to foster peace and promote harmony among people of all ethnicities and religions
  4. Defending the sovereignty of the country from being destroyed by agents of racial and religious hatred
  5. In solidarity with the citizens of the world, developing an environment of peace and prosperity based on the recognition of diverse ethnicities and religions

In doing so, we stand in solidarity not only for peace but at this moment in the shock, grief and distress of Sri Lankans who are suffering from this heinous crime.

Zaid Kamaruddin

Chair, Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia

On behalf of endorsing GBM member organisations:

  1. All Women’s Action Society (Awam)
  2. Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia (BMSM)
  3. Engage
  4. Kumpulan Aktivis Mahasiswa Independen (KAMI)
  5. LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
  6. Merdeka University Berhad
  7. Monsoons Malaysia
  8. Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
  9. Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)
  10. Partners of Community Organisation, Sabah (Pacos Trust)
  11. Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)
  12. Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia (LiuHua)
  13. Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (Ikram)
  14. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas)
  15. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
  16. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
  17. Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
  18. Tindak Malaysia
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