Tim Cook: We grieve as Islamist terrorists’ bomb attacks kill hundreds of Catholics in Sri Lanka

“The clock hands on the steeple of St. Anthony’s Shrine were stuck at 8:45 a.m., the exact moment when the first suicide bomber’s explosion ripped through the wooden pews as Easter Sunday worshipers were praying,” Dharisha Bastians, Jeffrey Gettleman, and Kai Schultz report for The New York Times. “Within a few hours on Sunday, suicide bombings hit three Catholic churches and three upscale hotels in the Indian Ocean island nation of Sri Lanka, still recovering from a quarter-century civil war in which the suicide bomb was pioneered.”

“The death toll in the attacks rose to 290, with about 500 people wounded, a police spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekera, said, although he would not give a breakdown of where the fatalities occurred,” Bastians, Gettleman, and Schultz report. “By day’s end, the police said at least 13 people had been arrested in connection with the attacks in the capital, Colombo, and the cities of Negombo and Batticaloa. Seven of them were seized at a hide-out after one suspect blew himself up, killing three officers.”

“At least 36 of the victims were believed to be foreigners, including several Americans,” Bastians, Gettleman, and Schultz report. “The bombings were the deadliest attack on Christians in South Asia in recent memory and punctuated a rising trend of religious-based violence in the region.

The St. Anthony’s Shrine blast left a scene of broken bodies, billowing black smoke and splintered wood. ‘It was a river of blood,’ said N. A. Sumanapala, a shopkeeper near the church who said he had run inside to help. ‘I saw limbs and heads. There were children, too,'” Bastians, Gettleman, and Schultz report. “Pope Francis, after celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square, said the attacks had ‘brought mourning and sorrow’ on the most important of Christian holidays. Other world leaders also expressed shock.”

“About 6 percent of the population is Catholic, according to government figures. The country has struggled with sectarian divisions, including last year, when the government temporarily shut down Facebook and WhatsApp in an effort to curb anti-Muslim violence,” Bastians, Gettleman, and Schultz report.

World leaders responded with pledges to help and with condemnation:

Apple CEO Tim Cook joined world leaders in responding to the attacks:

Read more in the full article here.

In a follow-up report, The New York Times reports, “The government on Monday blamed National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a little-known radical Islamist organization, for the bombings. An official said the group, which had not carried out any serious attacks before, had help from ‘an international network.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Our condolences to the many thousands – those killed, injured, and their framily and friends – affected by this horrific, evil act.

The Associated Press reports:

Sri Lankan authorities have blocked most social media services in the country following attacks that killed more than 200 people on Easter Sunday.

The NetBlocks observatory says it detected an intentional nationwide blackout of popular services including Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram.

Sri Lankan officials said Sunday they are temporarily blocking social media to curtail the spread of false information and ease tensions until their investigation is concluded.

Read more in the full article here.

Wall Street Journal: Bomb Attacks Hit Sri Lanka’s Minority Catholic Population – April 21, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook advocates privacy, says terrorists should be ‘eliminated’ – February 27, 2015


    1. They were worshipping Christ on Pascha (called “Easter” by speakers of English and German, and meaning the same thing).

      No one is accusing any Christian, much less Catholics, of worshipping false gods.

      1. Yes, I realize this. However, when the MSM and DNC members all tweet similar phrases then I see it as a way to NOT call attention to the faith of those murdered and by who.

        Contrast THAT with the coverage of the New Zealand massacre and it shows their true ‘colors’.

        1. For example:

            1. I find it ironic that a group of people who incessantly rant about the excessive sensitivities of “bleeding heart liberals” are acting just like…bleeding heart liberals.

              As far as I can tell, the far right only cares about proper terminology when it suits its purposes. Otherwise, you seem willing to carelessly and inaccurately toss around all kinds of terms such as socialist, communist, etc. in your quest to discredit anyone who does not believe as you do.

              The far right in the U.S. has become a religion and appears to be reincarnating the spirit of McCarthy.

            2. Oh, my! Down votes on MDN for a post that does not adhere to the vocal far right on this forum. What I am to do? I am devastated by this…not.

              I stopped voting on this forum a long time ago. The votes mean absolutely nothing in the bigger picture.

            3. “I find it ironic that a group of people who incessantly rant about the excessive sensitivities of “bleeding heart liberals” are acting just like…bleeding heart liberals.”

              To paraphrase Anne Baxter in the Ten Commandments, Melvin, Melvin, Melvin. How so? No, we don’t act and stick to the facts, your comments absolute rubbish.

              “As far as I can tell, the far right only cares about proper terminology when it suits its purposes. Otherwise, you seem willing to carelessly and inaccurately toss around all kinds of terms such as socialist, communist, etc. in your quest to discredit anyone who does not believe as you do.”

              Unknowingly, you just described the tactics of the far left to a T. The sad part is, you are ignorant of the reality of doing so.

              “The far right in the U.S. has become a religion and appears to be reincarnating the spirit of McCarthy.”

              Let’s hear your take on the “far” left, hmmm? Never mind, you are incapable of honest analysis. Common sense and facts are NOT FAR ANYTHING. They should be embraced by EVERYONE. You do not understand that simple truth, too bad…

          1. Normal person’s checklist when deciding to offer condolences:

            a – did the person suffer?

            Extreme rightie checklist:
            a – was this person born in my country?
            b – does this person worship the same idol as me?
            c – does this person speak the same language as me?
            d – does this person have the same skin color as me?
            e – does this person act or dress like me?
            z – does this person loudly and repeatedly support the same political figures as me regardless of what corruption and disloyalties exist in my own camp?

            Before the evil press reported this tragedy, it’s likely that 90% or more of the righties couldn’t find Sri Lanka on a map or tell you if there was a single Christian church there. Had a Sri Lankan Christian walked into an evangelical church in the USA, would he be welcomed or be referred to Homeland Security first? Righties exhibit more of their xenophobia by twisting their isolationist politics into tirades against their openminded political adversaries. Indeed the righties sound like thin skinned bleeding heart dogmatic whiners.

            Righties don’t understand English grammar and they can’t seem to get their history straight either. Jesus wasn’t a Christian, he was a Jew who preached tolerance and nonviolence across borders to all he encountered. Trump isn’t a Christian, he worships nothing but himself, yet the extreme right loves his hateful rhetoric. Ye who cast stones at how others express condolences — what kind of Christian places grammar or superficial cult checklists above basic humanity??????

            Get over yourselves.

            1. Maga man: the term Christian was used to describe Saul/Paul’s followers in Antioch, according to Acts 26:28.

              Jesus was a Jew and following his martyrdom, James The Just led his followers, who described themselves as Nazareans.

              In other compelling news, people from Green Bay call themselves Packers. Just as relevant to Apple as all the political/religious BS shoveled about on this site.

          2. Nicely scripted: “Easter Worshippers” as s combination of words has probably never been seen (feel free to correct me if I am wrong—by example) yet suddenly it appears in multiple media outlets.

            Pure coincidence, I am sure.

            1. Of course it does. In case you haven’t noticed, “going viral” is a thing now. Social media has allowed the rapid plagiarism — or “retweeting” of other people’s words. Since the public prefers to seek information from re-broadcast “curated” second hand news in their social media feeds rather than subscribing direction to news organizations that employ staffs of professionals that vet the news, then what Americans now imbibe is mostly second hand quotes and opinions. This site is a perfect example. Lots of words with spin and bias, very little attempt at relaying the bare plain facts. The solution is not to attack “the media”, it is to start supporting proper nonpartisan journalism.

            2. TKD,

              In my personal experience going back over sixty years, most Christians who actually attend church refer to our neighbors in the pew as “Sunday worshipers” at least several times each week. We don’t worship the sun god any more than “Easter worshippers “ are bowing down to the Germanic goddess of the dawn, Ēostre. The latter expression, like “Christmas worshippers,” is pretty common among actual worshiping Christians as well. I find it odd that anybody would find the “combination of words” unusual.

              Most of us also talk about irregular attendees as “Christmas and Easter Christians,” without any implication that they worship Christmas Christ or Easter Christ, rather than Jesus Christ.

              This whole controversy is ridiculous.

        2. First off, sympathies to any and all innocent people of any faith, color, and creed, that have been hurt, ever!

          I would think that “Church Bombings” pretty much covers who the victims are in this case, and it’s your right wing lunacy clouding your judgement. It is you that has politicized this here and now.

          1. Being in a church makes you as much of a Christian as standing in a garage makes you a car.

            You do realize that there are a lot of non-believers who attend church, especially at Easter and Christmas time?

            1. You comment is utter bullshit. Really bad analogy. Maybe if you said mechanic…

              Whether you one is good Christian or not is above my pay grade, but at some point you were a Christian, or are very close to one. Or will you contend that it may just as well have been full of Jews and Muslims, but no Christians.

        3. Let’s back up a bit.

          Facts: A coordinated attack occurred. 6 bombs exploded, 3 in churches and 3 in luxury hotels. Current count shows that 321 humans were killed, Christian and non-Christian. The death toll took Sri Lankan, American, Australian, British, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Indian, Portuguese, and Turkish nationals.

          In light of these facts, it makes you look extremely petty to focus your attention solely on the Christians while ignoring all the non-Christians. It’s sad that poiticising and nitpicking the vague word choice of someone’s condolences is where you choose to spend your energy.

          This is precisely what is wrong with hyper-partisan Americans. You are so hellbent on scoring points for your team that can’t even stop the mudslinging in the wake of a multinational, multireligious, human disaster. Pathetic.

          1. The original expressions of sympathy, except for Vice President Pence, included the other victims along with the “Easter worshipers.” My guess is that that expression was chosen because it seemed WORSE to target Christians when they are gathered for worship on their holiest day than at some other time or place.

            Besides which, it is still not clear that this was specifically directed at Christians as such, as opposed to places that some radicals (Muslim, but also Hindu and Buddhist) see as symbols of colonialism. Bombing a church or brunch venue in a predominantly non-Christian country on a major Christian holiday maximizes the casualties among tourists and expatriates.

      2. True, the stories and comments do not specifically identify the church victims as Christian. They do, however, say that they were worshipping the power of God and resurrection of Jesus Christ by attending Mass in Roman Catholic Churches on the most holy day of the Christian year. Similarly, not every story about the Passover Seder specifically identifies the worshipers as Jews (they talk about the “Jewish ritual” but do not specifically identify the participants).

        I don’t know how many times I have seen stories about deaths among “religious pilgrims” in India that do not identify which particular religion (or sect within Hinduism) was affected. The annual stories about stampedes at the Haj generally assume that readers understand that people visiting Mecca are Muslims.

        The complaints here remind me of folks with a chip on their shoulder who go out of their way to say “Merry Christmas” to men in yarmulkes and women in hijabs. If you don’t count atheism or agnosticism, the number of people following non-Christian faiths in America is a relatively small percentage, yet there are so-called Christians who act like the Faith is under daily persecution. Hint: it isn’t persecution to treat Christianity the same as any other religion, just as the US Constitution requires.

        Sri Lanka isn’t America. The Muslims aren’t recent immigrants. The Christian and Muslim communities (which both go back well over a thousand years) are each about 8-9% of the population. Because most of the Muslims speak Tamil, they are discriminated against by the 70% of the population who are Sinhalese-speaking Buddhists. Because they are not Hindus, they are also discriminated against by the 15% (locally a majority in the north) who are Tamil-speaking Hindus.

        During the Civil War, the Tamil Tigers forcibly expelled the Muslims from their territories and confiscated or destroyed their mosques and other property. As the story notes, there was widespread anti-Muslim rioting in Sri Lanka just last year. Terrorism flourishes in that sort of environment (although this fringe Islamist group appears to be driven by foreigners displaced from the Islamic State).

        Some indication of the lack of Western media bias favoring Islam is that the anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka has been virtually unreported. It took violence against Christians to make the papers. Similarly, the inter-communal violence in India that has killed at least scores of people in the last few months (millions over the last 72 years) has received much less press than the Christians who have been charged with blasphemy in Pakistan. I’m not suggesting less coverage of violence against Christians, just proportionate coverage of violence against other people.

        1. Pretty unambiguous that Church means Christian. Even the Religious Right should know this.

          Matthew 16:17-19

          “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rockb I will build my church, and the gates of hellc shall not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosedd in heaven.”

        2. Once again you take the point of a discussion and use it to show you have a pointy head.

          It’s not about the reporting in Sri Lanka, it is about the difference between THAT reporting vs New Zealand.

          Do you seriously have this hard of a time following conversations often…?

          1. TowerTone, you have a very difficult time following and accepting comments from anyone else who does not agree with you. You have trended farther and farther away from logic and reason over the many years that I have participated in this forum. I used to enjoy some of your posts. But you (and the MDN staff) have gradually morphed into a powerful reasons to avoid this entire website.

            Every day you remind me why I have always kept my distance from organized religion.

            1. Although I am Baptist I don’t belong to a Church so the religious aspect doesn’t directly affect me.
              (also I live with two Muslims….)

              My views have changed very little over the last two decades, but what HAS changed is how the media reports most stuff.
              That has been the entire point here of my rant.

              (but if you want to read the ‘old’ TowerTone check out the philosophy thread)

          2. A part of the difference in reporting might be that the New Zealand shooter only attacked Muslims and left extensive documentation showing that anti-Muslim sentiment was his sole motivation. Reporting that the Christchurch attacks were anti-Muslim was simply reporting the confirmed facts.

            Reporting the Sri Lankan attacks as primarily intended as anti-Christian goes considerably beyond the confirmed facts. There has been no claim of responsibility or explanation of motive in the Sri Lankan bombings, which included as many hotels as churches. The security forces are attributing it to a small Islamist group that was previously blamed only for attacking Buddhist targets. Even if that proves to be the case, it does not mean that the bombers were motivated by anti-Christian (as opposed to anti-Western, anti-Establishment, anti-colonialist, or anti-capitalist) bias.

            Unlike most Western nations, there is almost no history of hostility between the Muslim and Christian communities in Sri Lanka. They have tried very hard to avoid getting involved in the confrontations between Buddhists and Hindus that have repeatedly broken out into violence. They have almost invariably been the victims, not the perpetrators, of communal violence. There is no obvious reasons why anyone in the Muslim minority would target the Christian minority for their religion as such, as opposed to a perception that Catholic Churches and modern hotels are somehow part of the legacy of colonialism. Sri Lankan Muslims have enough problems without stirring up more trouble.

            If I were a conspiracy theorist, I might want to eliminate the possibility that the Sri Lankan security forces (which are overwhelmingly from the Sinhalese Buddhist majority) are trying to shift the blame from their lack of vigilance to an unpopular minority community.

            1. Clearly the attacks were Christian motivated at Easter time, hello? But we all know here you are incapable of facts and truth, when you are defending the blue team and disparaging the red team. Just another day and more of the same from you…

          3. Just circled back around TowerTone and good to read you are presenting facts and sticking to your guns in the face of tag team pointy headed pressure from the usual lsuspects USED and KingMe.

            Certainly, as the sun rises in the morning, you will NEVER get anywhere with people who place Party dogma over REALITY…

    2. Grammatically, the use is correct. Easter becomes the adverb of time, not the direct object. See also, “ Sunday drivers” or “Monday Morning Quarterbacks” or “Lent sufferers”.

      Way to drive more clicks, TT. Care to tell us what prompted your incorrect knee jerk reaction?

  1. The comments from the folks who consider the condolences messages somehow disrespectful of Christians should be Exhibit A as to why younger people in the West are fleeing Christianity in droves. Dogmatic. A bizarre sense of persecution. So fragile they are. And unable to imagine a version of Christianity that allows for “truth”:in other religions, emphasizing love and tolerance over orthodoxy.

    1. You are conflating different issues. It is not about disrespect or persecution, it is about using a political slant, and it is aimed mainly at gun owners, President Trump and Conservatives as well as Christians.

      When the Left (DNC, MSM) see a story that can be used to undermine their political foes, that is all you hear about and the only angle they show.

      When it doesn’t fit their narrative they simply send out a tweet to convey sympathy for victims of when “somebody did something”…

      So if you want to make an argument, try to understand the issue first. It’s not about their Ceylon sympathies, it’s their New Zealand zeal.

      1. Really? Mrs. Doubtfire is missing the point?

        Did you see the post above where an entire political group is called “DEMONcrats” because a few people used the phrase “Easter worshippers”?

        Honestly, people like you and “Registered Voter” can twist anything into a negative.

        There is no “mainstream media.” There is the group of NEWS organizations attempting to deliver factual news to the best of human ability, and then there is the for-profit opinion and gossip factory called “Fair and Balanced” Fox News. You can live in your twisted little fantasy world of imagined persecution all that you want, but reality is far different than your warped vision can ever comprehend.

        President Trump is a liar, plain and simple. He lies just about every time he opens his mouth. Why should I respect him? He profanes the office.

        I don’t hate gun owners and I don’t want to take firearms away from people (except those with a propensity for violence against society). What I do hate is the unwillingness of the far right to discuss any remedy to gun violence that does not involve even more guns and gun-packing teachers.

        You have moved so far to the far rigid right that you have lost touch with the mostly moderate nature of this country. There is no longer any significant overlap of reason or sentiment in this country between the majority of voters and the ~35% far right.

        1. Bravo Doubtfire and Mel. Well said.

          Watch out, such sane words and the extreme Faux News fans will accuse you of being liberal or socialist, which is their go-to attack on anyone that doesn’t bend off the charts to the right.

  2. Tim also should grieve for the people that are murdered every day by the US government. The USA kills more people every single Day in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc..

    1. Hey, Alexander the Hate, I think you meant Trump and his Jew (controlled) family actually travel to these countries and kill all those innocent Muslims personally, right? And this information is contained in the redacted portions of the Mueller Report.

      Is that what you dog-whistled to all your bitches….?

  3. I am originally from Sri Lanka. In 1956 a political party played the race card by convincing the majority Sinhalese that they were an oppressed race due to British rule that favored the minorities. That was the beginning of the periodic anarchy that is continuing to this day. Before this party came into power English was the official language which served as an unifying glue for the different ethnic groups in the country. Before 1956, the country was peaceful and had the highest standard of living in South and South East Asia. What worries me here in the USA is that the Democratic Party is resorting to similar race card politics with the help of the MSM

  4. Muslims in Sri Lanka have become very radicalized in parallel with Muslims in the rest of the world. When I used to live in Sri Lanka I rarely saw Muslim women wearing hijabs. Muslims in general socialized freely and religion was not a factor. I remember going to a movie with a pretty Muslim girl and having a good time while NOT watching the movie. From what I hear it would be very unlikely in today’s Sri Lanka. Chances are the girl would be killed.

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