Wounds of past violence are still fresh in Sri LankaSri Lanka’s civil war ended almost 10 years ago, but memories of urban carnage are still fresh, particularly for residents of the capital. During the conflict, brutal bombings of airports, bus stations, banks, cafes, and hotels were not uncommon.The Cinnamon Grand, one of the hotels targeted on Sunday, had been blown up before, in 1984, when it was called the Hotel Lanka Oberoi.The Roman Catholic Church in Sri Lanka traces its roots to the arrival of the Portuguese in the early 1500s and the subsequent influence of Portuguese, Dutch and Irish missionaries. Sri Lankan Catholics make up a significant minority of the country’s population, accounting for roughly 6 percent of the country and centered largely in the Colombo-Negombo area.In 1995, Pope John Paul II traveled to Sri Lanka to canonize Joseph Vaz, an Indian-born priest and missionary. Thousands of people greeted the pope’s motorcade as it traveled from the airport in Negombo to Colombo.Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said that given Sri Lanka’s long history of ethnic and religious violence, including a nearly three-decade civil war that only ended in 2009, it was premature to jump to conclusions about whether radicalized Muslims might have played a role in the attacks.But the scale of the attacks and the death toll on Sunday were unprecedented even by Sri Lanka’s bloody standards, Ms. Ganguly said.“In three decades of war, this scale of attack has never happened,” she said. “In terms of serious, religion-based violence, we haven’t really seen that.”World leaders condemned the attackPope Francis, after celebrating Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, said the bombings in Sri Lanka had “brought mourning and sorrow.”He expressed “affectionate closeness to the Christian community, struck while it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence.”In a Twitter post, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka denounced the assaults and urged the public not to spread misinformation, which has fueled the country’s sectarian divide in the past.

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