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Mourn all you like over the Sri Lankan church bombings–but please don’t use the C-word or the M-word when you’re talking about them

April 22, 2019
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Photo: Chamila Karunarathne/AP
Three churches bombed, 290 people killed, and 500 wounded: that was Easter Sunday 2019 in Sri Lanka.
But here are some words you can’t use when talking about this ghastly and sacrilegious massacre:
Christian and Muslim.
Verboten C-word first (hat tip to Steve Crowder):
Tweet from former Democratic President Barack Obama:
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.
Tweet from 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:
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.
Tweet from 2020 presidential contender Elizabeth Warren:
I’m heartsick for the victims of today’s terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka. Hundreds have been killed and wounded. To slaughter worshippers at church during Easter service is an act of great evil. My thoughts and my prayers are with the victims and their loved ones.
Ah, the “Easter worshippers.” To which religion did they belong, pray tell?
Compare the above to the religious specificity of Clinton’s March 15 tweet about the mosque massacre in  New Zealand:
My heart breaks for New Zealand & the global Muslim community. We must continue to fight the perpetuation and normalization of Islamophobia and racism in all its forms.
But when six times as many people are slaughtered inside churches on one day as were slaughtered in that mosque…I don’t think we’re going to see many non-Christian women hanging crosses around their necks or blasting the Lord’s Prayer on loudspeakers at a public observance.
Now for the verboten M-word (from CNN):
Police have arrested 24 people in connection with the suicide bombs, which injured at least 500 people, in the worst violence the South Asian island has seen since its bloody civil war ended 10 years ago….
…Sri Lankan Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the “terrorist incident” was carried out by followers of “religious extremism.”
Ah, “religious extremism.”
But a fly sinks into the ointment:
On Sunday evening, a leaked memo revealed that police were warned of a potential attack by an Islamist group known as the Nations Thawahid Jaman (NTJ), ten days before the Easter Sunday bombings
Uh-oh.
Sri Lankan officials scurry to offer us reassurance:
There were doubts that the NTJ, a little-known group which has previously defaced Buddhist statues, would have had the capacity to carry out such a sophisticated and coordinated attack alone. Transnational Islamists are known to operate in places like Pakistan, Malaysia and the Philippines.
But Dhruva Jaishankar, a fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings India, said that little is known about Islamic radicalism in Sri Lanka and that it was “premature” to speculate on which organizations might have been involved.
A social media blackout was enforced in the aftermath of the attacks as authorities attempted to contain the violence and establish who carried out the attacks.
Ah, blacked-out social media to our rescue–what a relief. We won’t have to utter those nasty words Christian and Muslim after all. We have Easter worshippers and religious extremism to get the job done.
Posted by Charlotte Allen
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One Comment
  1. Hugh Mann permalink

    Not so ! The NYT has suddenly discovered that there are Christians in Sri Lanka!

    “Mobs of Christian men in Sri Lanka have been threatening and beating Muslims, dozens of residents said.”

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