Sri Lankans, Twin Cities worshipers mourn deadly Easter attacks
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The first wave of bombings struck at the heart of Sri Lanka’s minority Christian followers during Easter services Sunday morning.
In Minnesota, local Sri Lankans, along with worshipers around the state, joined the rest of the world in mourning.
At least 13 suspects are in custody and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.
The aftermath paints the picture of how eight Easter attacks killed at least 207 people and hurt at least 450 across the country. The suspects targeted several hotels and churches on the holy day. The attacks took place roughly 10 years after a decades-long civil war.
In Minnesota, some Sri Lankan U of M students also gave their reactions to the tragedy.
“It’s not a reflection of Sri Lanka as a whole,” said Nuwan Pathagamage, a medical student. “You never want to see anything like this happen in this country, our home country.”
“It is pretty sickening,” added Sathira Wijasekia, a masters student. “It’s tragic someone got away from this.”
Wijasekia and Pathagamage are part of the small Sri Lankan community in the Twin Cities. Both students say their family members are OK as worshipers across the Twin Cities mourn during their Easter celebrations.
“I was in Sri Lanka not too long ago,” said Wijasekia. “Spent time in the hotels that were bombed.”
“It is really sad and the fact it is our holy celebration and it happens on a day like today,” said David Smith, a parishioner.
Another parishioner, Lisa Reiner added, "especially in this community, we want to use our Christianity for everyone so we only not pray for the people targeted but for the people that thought this would be a good choice.".
While many churches paid respects during evening services, the local Buddhist Temple in Minneapolis held a ceremony at 6 p.m. Sunday.
Local leaders have also voiced their reactions to the tragedy in Sri Lanka.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar sent prayers, writing, “Religious freedom is a human right that will never be defeated by hate.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted, “No person of any faith should be fearful in their house of worship.”
Rep. Dean Phillips shared holiday wishes with those celebrating Easter and Passover as well. Remembering those lost in Columbine 20 years ago and Sri Lanka, he wrote, “each of us must play a role in repairing the world, may we begin today.”