Former US President Barack Obama and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have reacted to the deadly Sri Lanka blasts in big-name hotels and churches, seemingly avoiding calling the victims targeted during Easter services “Christians”, having instead opted for a more obscure term – “Easter worshippers”.
The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) 21 апреля 2019 г.
On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I'm praying for everyone affected by today's horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) 21 апреля 2019 г.
The bizarre choice of term has ignited social media users, who have replied to the tweets, insisting that saying the word “Christians” in public is not a taboo:
What the heck is an Easter worshipper?— Brittany Pettibone (@BrittPettibone) 21 апреля 2019 г.
The term that these people are going to such painfully ludicrous lengths to avoid using is “Christian”. pic.twitter.com/9pXXB9kXye
It’s ok to say Christians— Jeremy Payne (@jpayne_61) 21 апреля 2019 г.
If only there was a single word for “Easter worshippers” 🤔🤔🤔— Harry Khachatrian (@Harry1T6) 21 апреля 2019 г.
Easter worshippers… you mean Christians. Repeat after me, Hillary.— The FOO (@PolitiBunny) 21 апреля 2019 г.
Just like you were never able to say "ISLAM" after the Pulse shooting, you can't say "CHRISTIANS" after 200 of them lay dead. Easter worshippers? Girl bye.— Blaire White (@MsBlaireWhite) 21 апреля 2019 г.
Others pointed out that both Obama and Clinton didn’t hesitate to call victims of last month’s New Zealand mosque attacks “Muslims” when sending their condolences:
“Easter worshipers” makes no sense. The Pittsburgh shooting wasn’t “Shabbat celebrators” and the New Zealand shooting wasn’t “Friday prayer adherents.”— Karol Markowicz (@karol) 22 апреля 2019 г.
Hey @HillaryClinton @BarackObama those "Easter Worshipers" you keep referring to are called #Christians. It is a few more syllables than Muslims but I bet you can say it if you try. Jesus says to love everyone regardless of differences; try it. Praying for #SriLanka #HeIsRisen— Sarah Stanley (@its_me_sarah_s) 22 апреля 2019 г.
Hillary And Obama Both Refuse To Call The #SriLanka Victims Christians And They Both Won’t Call The Muslims Terrorists But Will Call Out “White Supremacy” For The Christchurch Attack Which 400% Less People Died In. They Will Do Anything To Not Recognize The Radical Islam Religion pic.twitter.com/mjzkuxQM7v— Nathan Ball/ナタンボール (@TheTellerYT) 22 апреля 2019 г.
Incidentally, Obama and Clinton are not the only people who used the term in relation to the Sri Lanka victims; apparently it has become a widely accepted phrase among US politicians:
Horrified by the Easter Sunday bombing in Sri Lanka today, which killed over 200 people and injured hundreds more. These attacks on civilians and worshipers are cowardly and despicable. We will stand with Sri Lanka against terror.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) 22 апреля 2019 г.
On this Easter day, my prayers are with the victims of the Sri Lanka terror attacks and their families. The victims included tourists and Easter worshipers, including Americans. May God comfort them with #grace and #peace in this troubled time.— US Attorney Shores (@USAttyShores) 21 апреля 2019 г.
Not "Easter Worshipers" — Christians killed by Muslims. It is what it is. pic.twitter.com/44gUv3TYkK— Chili Guy (@Chili_GuyBoston) 22 апреля 2019 г.
Eight blasts devastated St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, and Zion Church in Batticaloa, as well as three large hotels – the Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury, and Shangri-La, with the death toll reaching a blood-chilling 290 on 21 April. It is also estimated that 500 others were injured in the explosions.
While no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet, the country’s Health Minister Rajutha Senaratne accused the National Thowheed Jamath, an India-based Islamic group, of being behind the blasts.
In a separate development, Telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando tweeted an 11 April internal police memo, warning that the group National Thowheed Jamath was planning to bomb Catholic churches and the Indian High Commission.
Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. What my father heard was also from an intelligence officer. Serious action need to be taken as to why this warning was ignored. I was in Badulla last night pic.twitter.com/ssJyItJF1x— Harin Fernando (@fernandoharin) 21 апреля 2019 г.
The government has imposed a nationwide curfew since there is still a threat of more attacks, even though the police announced that 24 suspects had been detained in connection with the blasts.