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UK Archbishop Calls for Recognition of ‘Anti-Christianism’ After Sri Lanka Attacks

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA - APRIL 23: Relatives of the dead offer their prayers during funerals in Katuwapity village on April 23, 2019 in Negambo, Sri Lanka. At least 311 people were killed with hundreds more injured after coordinated attacks on churches and hotels on Easter Sunday rocked three churches and …
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THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.

The Coptic Archbishop of London has called for acknowledgment that “anti-Christianism” is as real a phenomenon as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia following the horrific Easter massacre of Sri Lankan Christians.

“It is time for us all to #StandTogether and recognise #Antichristianism as much a real phenomenon and epidemic as #Antisemitism and #Islamophobia and deal with it as such,” wrote Archbishop Angaelos in a tweet Monday.

“Only when we consider an attack on ANY of us as one on ALL of us can we go some way towards healing our world,” he added.

The head of the Coptic church in the UK launched his appeal after Islamic terrorists slaughtered over 300 people in coordinated suicide bombings of churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, the most important Christian holy day of the year.

The chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, Wilson Chowdhry, said that the United Nations (UN) and world leaders needed to do more to prevent violence against Christians, noting that the Sri Lankan bombings follow the pattern of Islamic State satellite groups.

“The targeting of Christians on Easter Day is very intentional and is based on a desire to frighten worshippers from practising their faith and sowing seeds of division amongst communities,” Mr. Chowdhry said.

Pakistan itself was the site of the massive 2016 Easter massacre that claimed the lives of 72 victims, mostly women and children, along with more than 320 injured.

On that occasion, an Islamist suicide bomber blew himself up in an attack on Christians in a large park in Lahore, where hundreds of families had gathered to celebrate the feast of Easter.

The bomber was 28-year-old Yousuf Farid, a member of the radical Islamist group Jamat ul Ahrar, a branch of the Taliban (JuA).

In case there was any doubt regarding the religious motivation behind the attack, a JuA spokesman declared that the intended target of the bombing was “Christians.”

“The target was Christians,” said JuA spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, adding that the jihadists wanted to send a message to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “that we have entered Lahore.”

Mr. Chowdhry said Monday that in the case of the Sri Lanka attacks, “the targeting of high-end hotels which are frequented by westerners is simply a clear hatred for all that is not Islamic [and] a clear indication that fundamentalist ideology is radicalising the Muslims of Sri Lanka.”

“Innocent lives have been lost and those killed join a growing list of Christian martyrs in a world where intolerance towards our faith has seen exponential growth,” he said.

Chowdhry added that “governments and International bodies like the UN must do more to eradicate extremism and terrorism, especially towards Christians who are experiencing unprecedented levels of persecution.”

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