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Members of interfaith groups listen during a news conference at the state capitol on May 9, 2019. (Photo: Rachel McDevitt/WITF)

(Harrisburg) — Members of Islamic and Christian faiths gathered at the state capitol Thursday to condemn recent attacks on worshippers both at home and abroad.

Bombings at hotels and Christian churches in Sri Lanka’s capital on Easter Sunday killed more than 250 people. The government there has blamed Islamic militants. ISIS has also claimed responsibility.

In an event that was part news conference and part prayer service, organizers with Muslims of Central Pennsylvania said the attacks go against the teachings of Islam, against God, and against mankind.

“It was a massacre of so many people on the holiest day of the Christian calendar,” said Samia Malik, and elder of Muslims of Central Pennsylvania. “And for somebody who claims to be of my faith to go and do that–it was important for me to stand up and say ‘No. Not in my name, you’re not doing it.'” 

Fazal Davood, a native Sri Lankan who has lived in the midstate for the past 30 years, said when he was growing up people of different religions would share in each other’s celebrations.

“I can still picture how families, when they get up in the morning, they love to go to church with their families, it’s like a get-together for them,” he said. “So, for their lives to be destroyed, I don’t think–there’s no words for that.”

He said he’ll carry the shock of the attack with him for a long time, but he hopes something good will come out of it.

“Because I feel that there’s some reason for this to happen,” Davood said. “I don’t wish to happen, but something must be there, which we don’t know. The future will tell us.”

He added he hopes more people will reach out to those of other faiths and learn about them as a way to erase fear and hate.

Interfaith leaders offered prayers for victims and their families in Sri Lanka, as well as from recent synagogue attacks in Pittsburgh and California.

They also called on leaders in government, business, and education to speak out against hate.