Singapore—Even as the world reeled in shock and horror from the heinous Easter Sunday bombing attacks in churches, hotels and other areas in Sri Lanka on April 21, Singapore’s officials joined other leaders around the globe who quickly condemned the acts of terror, including Pope Francis, US President Donald Trump, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and others.
The attacks on 8 locations in Sri Lanka, which began at 8:45 local time (11:15 am in Singapore) left 207 dead and 450 injured, although officials have said that they expect the number of casualties to still rise. While no group claiming responsibility for the attacks, Sri Lankan officials have arrested 8 individuals and are attributing the bombings to religious extremists.
Reports say that around 30 foreign nationals are among the dead. No Singaporean citizens were reported to have been injured or killed in the bombings.
By early Sunday evening, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong put out a statement on his Facebook account, with both condolences for the victim as well as condemnation for the attacks. He also expressed solidarity towards Sri Lanka, and provided contact information for Singaporean citizens who may be in need of consular assistance.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also released a strongly worded statement condemning the attacks, and reassuring the public that citizens who had e-registered in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, had been reached out to by the ministry.
Singapore’s Home and Law Affairs Minister, K Shanmugam, also expressed his shock over the bombings in Sri Lanka on Facebook, commenting that
Every few weeks we see these terrible actions. –K. Shanmugam
He also wrote about how beautiful the country of Sri Lanka is, as he has visited it numerous times both for work and leisure.
Mr Shamnugam called for justice for the victims of the bombings, “Those who planned the attack, those who carried it out, must face the most severe punishments. It is difficult to think of a worser (sic) form of human beings – killing people who go to pray, spread hatred and terror. The ideology that spread the hate must be dealt with.”
In opposition leader Pritam Singh’s post concerning the attacks, he drew parallels between the attack in Sri Lanka and the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, which occurred on March 15 and left 50 people dead and the same number injured. According to the Workers’ Party leader,
What do those who plan and execute such terrorist attacks want? To make hate and religious strife a permanent state of affairs, pitting one community against another. –Pritam Singh
Mr Pritam said the solution lies in forging strong connections with one another even more. “Building more bridges with one another. Treating each other like we are our brother and sister’s keeper.
Putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes and living a life marked by tolerance, understanding, and empathy.
Regardless of race, language or religion.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by Tan Chuan-Jin, the country’s Speaker of Parliament, who wrote, “The more these people seek to tear communities apart, the more we should continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with each other, regardless of our backgrounds. It’s an age-old challenge that takes many forms, but there is no reason why we can’t forge a different future together.”
the more we should continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with each other, regardless of our backgrounds.–Tan Chuan-Jin
In her post, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu expressed a thought that many have likely had as well, as she commented on the timing of the bombing on one of Christianity’s holiest days.
She wrote, “Shocked and saddened by the loss of so many innocent lives in vicious attacks on churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
These attacks on churches on a holy day for Christians seem calculated to stoke fear among communities.–Grace Fu
I hope that justice, restraint, and peace will prevail.”
She also called for continued vigilance on our home shores. “Here in Singapore, we should continue to be vigilant and to protect our culture where people of all faiths can live in harmony.
#SGSecure #SGCN”/ TISG