A message to the Rice University community from President David Leebron following the shootings in Sri Lanka:
Dear faculty, students and staff,
Over the past weekend, we witnessed yet again the effects of religious hatred and violence. On Easter Sunday, I posted the following on Twitter:
"On a day sacred to over 2 billion Christians around the world, we see once more the horrific consequences of religious hatred and intolerance. No faith has been immune from such attacks, and whether in Sri Lanka or New Zealand or Pittsburgh or elsewhere, we must end them."
Since then, the number of those known to have been killed has continued to increase, and now stands at over 350. The stories of families losing their loved ones, including many children, are heart wrenching.
Although Christians encompassing many very diverse denominations are a majority in the United States, they are a minority religion in many countries around the world and subject to discrimination and persecution in a number of places. As we have seen so tragically this year, every attack anywhere on a community because of their religion, race or other attribute is horrific and heinous. These attacks are a reminder to our Rice community of the vital importance of our continued commitment to our values of mutual respect and responsibility, and the strong sense of caring we have for each other.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to the families of those killed in Sri Lanka, to our Christian community here at Rice and our students from Sri Lanka, and to religious communities suffering from persecution and attacks around the globe. I hope you will join me in extending concern and sympathy to those in our community affected by this terrible loss.
David W. Leebron