By Luis Arellano
Prominent Democratic politicians did not refer to Christianity or Christians in tweets expressing sympathy for the victims of the Sri Lanka terrorist attack on Easter Sunday that left nearly 300 dead and hundreds more injured.
Former U.S. President Barrack Obama, Former Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton and 2020 Presidential Candidate Julian Castro all referred to “Easter Worshipers” as the target of the attack rather than Christians.
The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 21, 2019
On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I’m praying for everyone affected by today’s horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 21, 2019
On a day of redemption and hope, the evil of these attacks on Easter worshippers and tourists in Sri Lanka is deeply saddening. My prayers today are with the dead and injured, and their families. May we find grace.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) April 21, 2019.
On Twitter, some conservative commentators felt this was intentional. Kay Jones, a Canadian–American singer and member of National Diversity Coalition for Trump pointed out on Twitter that both Obama and Clinton referred to the “Muslim community” following the apparent lone-wolf terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand.
Sri Lankan junior defense minister Ruwan Wijewardene has stated that the attacks, which left 310 dead, were in response to the New Zealand terrorist attack. However, some terrorist experts wonder if such a coordinated attack could have been planned within just six weeks since the New Zealand massacre of Muslim worshippers by a lone terrorist.
In his own tweet following the Sri Lanka attack, Trump did not refer to Christians or “Easter Worshippers” but, rather to attacks on “churches” and “hotels” — perhaps not surprising given Trump’s status as the world’s most famous hotelier.
138 people have been killed in Sri Lanka, with more that 600 badly injured, in a terrorist attack on churches and hotels. The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2019
The Sri Lanka government has blamed the suicide bombing attacks on a little known Sri Lanka Jihadist group. Suicide bombing as a terrorist tactic has deep origins in Sri Lanka. In early 1987, the LTTE “Tamil Tigers” a terrorist organization continued to build a homeland for ethnic Hindu Tamils in Sri Lanka committed its first suicide bombing. The tactic became closely associated with the group, which between 1987 and 2000 carried out 168 suicide attacks on civilians and Sri Lanka government forces. The Sri Lankan government in 2009 defeated the LTTE. The majority of Sri Lanka is Buddhist with smaller Hindu and Muslim minorities. Christians make up 6.19 percent of the Sri Lankan population. The overwhelming majority of whom are self-described Catholic — a legacy of Portuguese colonial endeavors in Sri Lanka.
One group left out of the Twitter controversy was the people of Sri Lanka — the government has blocked access to social media following the attacks.