Catholic Church leaders in Sri Lanka called for an investigation into a claim by a Buddhist monk that a new terrorist attack is imminent in the country.
“We request the [inspector general of police] to take note of Ven Gnanasara Thero’s revelation about an impending terrorist attack and to take immediate action to prevent it,” read a statement from the Archdiocese of Colombo.
Buddhist monk Galgoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero claimed in a television interview that he had informed Catholic Church officials and government leaders about an imminent attack on coastal parishes in the country.
The monk, who serves as general secretary of the nationalist organization Bodu Bala Sena, claimed that he knew who and where the groups that would like to carry out a new attack are.
He said he already wrote to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa about the information.
In its statement, the Archdiocese of Colombo denied that the monk had warned Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of the impending attack on the Catholic community as far back as 2017.
The statement said the monk had only spoken to the cardinal about “Islamic expansionism.”
Gnanasara Thero has been accused in the past of using Islamophobic rhetoric, which critics claim resulted in incidents of mob violence in the past.
The monk was convicted of contempt of court for berating a judge in a courthouse and for threatening Sandhya Eknaligoda, wife of missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda.
He was sentenced to six years in prison, but was pardoned by President Maithripala Sirisena in May 2019.
On April 21, 2019, Easter Sunday, three churches in Sri Lanka and three luxury hotels in the commercial capital, Colombo, were targeted in a series of coordinated Islamist terrorist suicide bombings.