Arab nations, Al Azhar condemn Sri Lanka blasts

Two Muslim groups in Sri Lanka also denounced the attacks.
Sunday 21/04/2019
Security personnel stand guard outside a church after a bomb blast in Negombo, Sri Lanka April 21, 2019. (Reuters)
Security personnel stand guard outside a church after a bomb blast in Negombo, Sri Lanka April 21, 2019. (Reuters)

A number of Arab nations and Al Azhar Islamic institution in Cairo condemned the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 200 people.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates issued statements Sunday via their foreign ministries over the attack.

The UAE called upon "the international community to close ranks and uproot the scourge of terrorism in order to ensure international peace and security."

Bahrain said "these acts of terrorism are incompatible with religious principles and human and moral values."

Saudi Arabia also denounced the "terrorist explosions" and extended the kingdom's condolences to the families of the victims and the people of Sri Lanka.

The series of blasts at three churches and three luxury hotels killed at least 207 people. It is the worst spout of violence in Sri Lanka since the South Asian country's bloody civil war ended a decade ago.

In Cairo,  Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's foremost religious institution, also condemned the "terrorist" attacks. 

"I cannot imagine a human being could target the peaceful on their celebration day," said Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the institution's grand imam.

"Those terrorists' perverted disposition goes against the teachings of all religions," he said in comments published on Al-Azhar's Twitter account.

"I pray that God grants patience to the families of the casualties and recovery to the injured," added Sheikh Tayeb.

Al-Azhar frequently denounces jihadist movements and regularly reaches out to the Christian faith.

Two Muslim groups in Sri Lanka and the secretary general of the world's largest organisation of Muslim nations also issued statements condemning the attacks. 

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's chief Yousef al-Othaimeen described them as "cowardly attacks" that targeted innocent worshippers and civilians. Some 57 nations are part of the OIC, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea city of Jeddah.

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka says it mourns the loss of innocent people in the blasts by extremists who seek to divide religious and ethnic groups.

The All Ceylon Jammiyyathul Ulama a body of Muslim clerics, says targeting Christian places of worship cannot be accepted.

Muslims make up about 10% of Sri Lanka's population of 23 million.

No one has claimed responsibility for what Sri Lankan officials have described as a terrorist attack by religious extremists.

(AW staff and agencies)