(CNSNews.com) -- The Catholic fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus announced today that it is sending $100,000 to Sri Lanka to help rebuild the Christian community that was attacked and devastated by terrorist bombings on Easter, heinous crimes that reportedly were carried out by Islamist extremists.
In the Sunday attacks, two Catholic churches, one Protestant church, four hotels, and a housing complex were bombed. At least 290 people were killed, including 22 children. A reported 500 people were injured.
“The Knights of Columbus stands in solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka during this time of trial," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in an April 22 statement. "Terrorist attacks like those on Easter Sunday are the acts of those who reject the sanctity of life, human rights and religious freedom."
"In addition to our prayers, the Knights of Columbus is sending $100,000 to Cardinal Ranjith in Colombo, Sri Lanka, for his use in the rebuilding and repair of his Christian community in the aftermath of this act of terrorism," said Anderson.
“Globally, it is well documented that Christians are the most persecuted religious group today," said Anderson, who is CEO of the Knights of Columbus. "Now is the time for every country to take concrete steps to protect their minority populations, including Christians, and to stop this persecution and slaughter."
"Every country should protect its religious minorities, and freedom-loving countries must demand nothing less of their neighbors," he said. "Talk of human rights and religious freedom rings hollow when people are killed for nothing more than worshipping the one who taught us to love one another.”
The three churches that were bombed are St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo, St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, and Zion Church in Batticaloa.
The Telegraph reported on Monday that Sri Lankan officials "believed a local Islamist extremist group named National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) was behind the deadly Easter Sunday attacks, with officials adding it was likely the group had international support. A Sri Lankan government official said the attacks were carried out by seven suicide bombers from NTJ."
Cardinal Robert Sarah, head of the Vatican office for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, tweeted on April 21, "As we celebrate the resurrection of the son of God, the terrible attacks in Sri Lanka once again show how the followers of Christ are all over the world the victims of wild and foolish deeds. I condemn this barbaric Islamist violence. Pray."