The South Asian Times

17 August 2019 07:04 AM

Vigils and solidarity in DC for victims of Sri Lanka attacks

By Surekha Vijh

Washington DC: Sri Lankan American community in the greater Washington area is  continuing to raise funds and have candlelight vigils for the victims of the Easter Sunday terror attacks in the island nation which killed over 250 people including from America and India. Other communities too are holding meetings in solidarity.

U.S. government and civil society friends of Sri Lanka gathered at the Capitol on May 11 to express sorrow and solidarity with the people of the subcontinental country.  Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and David Schweikert (R-AZ) were joined by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tom Vajda and interfaith leaders in addressing the vigil, organized by the American Jewish Committee’s Asia Pacific Institute (API) in partnership with the Hindu American Foundation, the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the U.S.-India Friendship Council.

“We, all of us, stand with Sri Lanka in this dark time,” said Jason Isaacson, AJC’s Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer. “We assure Sri Lanka of our ongoing friendship, our solidarity, and our support.”

Also addressing the vigil were the Chargé d’affaires of the Sri Lankan Embassy, Sarath Dissanayake; Jay Kansara, of the Hindu-American Foundation;; Rev. Dr. Christopher L. Zacharias, of the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington; Ven. Maharagama Dhammasiri, Chief Prelate of the Washington Buddhist Temple; Imam Hammad Ahmad, of the American Fazl Mosque; and Ray Vickery, of the U.S.-India Friendship Council.  

The Buddhist Vihar Society in Washington DC cancelled their biggest festival, Vaisak, on May 5 to hold a memorial vigil in the National Cathedral instead.

Students of many DC, Virginia  and Maryland universities, including Georgetown and George Washington, and  the Sri Lankan Student Association hosted candlelight vigils last month to remember the lives lost in Sri Lanka.

Suicide bombers struck churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday in a highly coordinated attack targeting Christians and foreigners that left this island nation reeling. Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist nation, but it’s also home to significant Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities

Update: 16 May, 2019