May 11, 2019 — Washington, D.C.
U.S. government and civil society friends of Sri Lanka gathered at the U.S. Capitol to express sorrow and solidarity with the people of the island nation after the Easter Sunday terrorist bombings of churches and hotels that claimed more than 250 lives and wounded hundreds more.
U.S. Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and David Schweikert (R-AZ) were joined by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tom Vajda and a range of 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; AJC API Assistant Director Nissim Reuben; Rev. Dr. Christopher L. Zacharias, of the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington; Virginia L. Farris, of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Venerable Maharagama Dhammasiri Chief Prelate, of the Washington Buddhist Temple; Marielena Faria, of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church; Imam Hammad Ahmad, of the American Fazl Mosque; Ray Vickery, of the U.S.-India Friendship Council; and Minister (Political) Priyanga Wickramasinghe, of the Sri Lankan Embassy.
All speakers spoke of the close bonds their respective communities have forged with Sri Lanka over the decades. The faith-based leaders prayed for peace, harmony and healing in Sri Lanka and around the world.
Isaacson expressed “sympathy for those made victims by terror, and their suffering loved ones,” while affirming the resolve of all in the solidarity gathering “to fight hatred and bigotry together, and encourage efforts in our Congress and the administration, as well as in other governments, to take decisive action against terror networks and those who harbor and support them.”