On this Anniversary of the Easter Sunday Bombings, we the Muslim community of Sri Lanka stand in solidarity with our Christian Brothers and Sisters and remember with profound sadness the victims of the bombings carried out by extremists who knew nothing of the true teachings of Islam.

As Muslims we believe in Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) not only as a great Messenger of God, but also in his conception without a human father, by a Word of God which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him. We believe in his many miracles, which he did by the leave of God; in his ascension to heaven and in his Second Coming to usher in a New Era of Peace and Justice.

Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) is in fact referred to many times in the Qur’an as Isa Ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary). Mother Mary too occupies a very special place in Islamic scripture. She is the only woman mentioned by name in the Qur’an and has an entire chapter of the Qur’an named after her, Surah Maryam or The Chapter of Mary. She is regarded as the pinnacle of womanhood, for we read of the angels addressing her: “O Mary, indeed God has chosen you and purified you – chosen you above the women of all nations”. There are many chapters in the Qur’an besides the Chapter of Mary that speak of Christ, his mother and his disciples and followers.

The Qur’an refers to Christians in very endearing terms: “Strongest among men in enmity to the believers will you find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers will you find those who say “We are Christians”. Because among them are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, you will see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth. They pray: “Our Lord, we believe. Write us down among the witnesses. What cause can we have not to believe in God and the truth which has come to us, seeing that we long for our Lord to admit us to the company of the righteous?” And for this their prayer has God rewarded them with Gardens with rivers flowing underneath – their eternal home” (The Repast:82-85)

As such it is our bounden duty to love and cherish and protect our Christian brethren at all times. We wish them nothing but love and peace and call upon them to join us in moving forward as one common brotherhood under God.

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