Mr. Speaker, April 21 became a dark and sombre day for the entire world when over 250 people were killed at the hands of terrorists and over 500 more were injured in Sri Lanka. The vast majority of these people were families who were gathering to celebrate Easter. Islamist terrorists detonated explosives in three churches and set off three more bombs in hotels around the capital.
The Bloc Québécois denounces and condemns this unspeakably barbaric terrorist attack. We wish to offer our sincere condolences to the victims' loved ones and to the entire Sri Lankan population. We wish a speedy recovery for those injured. We hope the entire population will be able to unite to find the courage to get through this terrible ordeal together. We wish all Sri Lankans the strength to heal this deep wound suffered by the entire nation, without getting sucked into darkness and violence, which is what the cowards who perpetrated these terrible crimes want.
Humanity as a whole has a duty to stand by them and fight all extremists. It is our duty to fight religiously motivated violence. It is our duty not to respond to these crimes with cynicism or complacency. More and more of these crimes are happening. Things are getting more and more dangerous. Violence is on the rise in a world where sectarianism finds fertile ground everywhere.
It is our duty to remember that all individuals are free to practice the religion of their choice or no religion at all and should be able to do so safely and securely. That is one of the pillars of our society and a fundamental value in every democratic society that holds freedom dear.
In response to the rise of extremism around the world, we must stand up for the founding principles of free societies, for freedom, for the conviction that all men and women are equal, that all are equal in the eyes of the law. These principles that unite us are the best defence against extremists who seek to divide us.
I will close by expressing our solidarity with the Christian community of Sri Lanka and Christians around the world who feel less safe today than they did yesterday.