SOMERSET, NJ – After the Easter Sunday bombings at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka killed more than 300 people, Sri Lankan officials joined legislators, religious leaders and residents for a vigil at Masjid-e-Ali mosque in Franklin to mourn victims of the attack.
The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, claimed responsibility on Tuesday for the coordinated bombings that targeted half a dozen locations Sunday morning, including churches and hotels in the capital of Colombo.
More than 320 people were killed and at least 500 wounded. Nearly all the victims were Sri Lankan with dozens of foreign tourists killed at the hotels.
The attack was the deadliest the country has seen since the end of the civil war 10 years ago.
Amrith Rohan Perera, Sri Lanka's ambassador to the United Nations, condemned Sunday’s violence and said that the attack was an affront to the multiethnic and multicultural reality of Sri Lanka
“It was an attack not only on churches and Christians. It was an attack on all humanity, the human values from which we have been built up,” he said. “This is an attack against the values that we treasure.”
Even in tragedy, Perera said he was encouraged to see that world leaders across the globe and in the United Nations have spoken out against the bombings and that people of all backgrounds have stepped up to donate blood for victims in Sri Lanka.
Assemblyman Joseph Danielsen, D-Somerset, said that the community will continue to give blood and mourn together because “this is a community that accepts and loves and invites and embraces each other.”
Leaders of the area’s Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities spoke at the vigil condemning violence perpetrated in sacred places around the world. Monks from the New Jersey Buddhist Vihara also performed a funeral ritual common among Buddhists in Sri Lanka for those killed on Sunday.
Franklin Township Mayor Phillip Kramer said that it’s during tragedies like this that people need to “pull together and have faith in each other throughout the world.”
“This is the time to say that the many will not be dictated to by the very, very few,” he said.
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