THE image of 11-year-old Sneha Savindi Fernando and her young friends standing in line for Holy Communion at Easter Mass was innocence personified.
Yet, just seconds later, a suicide bomber stepped in to the church in Sri Lanka and wreaked his unholy evil on all those congregated there.
New York Times Relatives mourn during the wake of Sneha Savindi, 11, in Sri Lanka, one day after the devastating suicide bombings
As relatives later wailed with grief next to Sneha’s coffin, her grandmother asked: “There are so many bad people in the world. Why kill the innocents?”
An obvious question from all right-minded people. But when you’re a murdering psycho, you want to wreak terror not just on those present, but in the minds of millions around the world.
And the way they do that is to target innocent people in the normal, everyday scenarios we can all identify with.
Attending a church or mosque with family and friends, taking our kids to a concert or a busy shopping mall at the weekend, cheering on marathon runners, queuing for breakfast at a holiday hotel . . .
Who among us has not read about Sneha and her friends . . . or the heartbreaking stories of the British father who lost his wife and two children . . . or the Danish man who lost three of his four children . . . and thought of how we would cope if faced with the same situation?
That’s terrorism. It projects fear on to the masses and seeks to make us alter our behaviour accordingly.
With every fibre of my being, I want to resist the power of this pernicious tactic, but of late I’ll admit I have struggled.
On Friday night, our 15-year-old attended a Shawn Mendes concert at London’s O2 arena with a friend and her mother. We wrestled with whether to let her go or not, then felt anxious from the moment she set off until she returned home.
Equally, when she expressed a wish to meet her friends at a vast mall last week, we urged her to give it a miss and browse the shops locally. Irrational, yes, but that’s what terrorism can do to your mindset if you let it.
You don’t want to be that grieving family, so you try to minimise the chances of it happening.
AP:Associated Press Sneha was standing in line for Holy Communion on Sunday when she was killed in one of the blasts
The truth, of course, is that if a suicide bomber decides to board your train carriage, or walk in to your community centre, or drive a car that blows up just as you’re walking past — there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.
But what we can do is stand together in our firm belief that these attacks — be it on churches or mosques — have nothing to do with religion.
Just hours after the coordinated bombings in his country, the Sri Lankan minister of state for defence said preliminary investigations have shown, “this attack was carried out in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch [New Zealand]”.
Meanwhile, reports have emerged of young Christian men walking the streets near Sneha’s home of Negombo carrying long sticks and “looking for Muslims”.
Again, this us-against-them mindset is what terrorism seeks to inflame.
But this isn’t about Christianity versus Islam.
The attacks in Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Manchester and London — to name but a few — are the actions of a warped few who have distorted the teachings of wholly peaceful religions to suit their own, murderous ends.
We mustn’t allow one drop of poison to contaminate an ocean of humanity.
AP:Associated Press Bombings at hotels and churches on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka left nearly 300 people dead and more than 500 injured
Rebels leaving us cold
DR GAIL BRADBROOK is the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, the eco action group that brought central London to a virtual standstill last week.
She says: “I think our protests have been awesome.
PA:Press Association Co-founder of Extinction Rebellion Dr Gail Bradbrook who has said protests will escalate if its demands are not met
“We’re making history at the minute, people are having a fantastic time on the streets and we really welcome people to come join us.”
Yes, I’m sure workers on zero hours contracts would relish the opportunity to lose a day’s pay (and possibly their job) to join her, so too the nurses whose arrival at nearby St Thomas’ hospital each day is critical to the wellbeing of thousands of patients.
Dr Bradbrook may have a PhD in molecular biophysics but one fears she and her merry band of protestors may have skipped lessons in common sense.
Why else would they glue themselves to public transport that encourages people to leave their cars at home while simultaneously causing air polluting traffic jams?
And why else would they stage a sit-in aimed to make the politicians take notice when the House of Commons rose on April 11 for recess and didn’t return until yesterday? Duh.
The majority of the population supports action on climate change, but this virtue-signalling nonsense only detracts from the cause by irritating ordinary people just trying
to earn a living.
Porn Website Age RestrictionPORN websites will check the age of users from July.
Begging the question: Why only now?
Anne’s diet sounds a bit fishy
HOLLYWOOD star Anne Hathaway says she’s giving up alcohol until her son is 18.
She’s a stronger woman than me.
Rex Features Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway has stopped drinking alcohol and being vegan
Meanwhile, she has also abandoned veganism after admitting that she “just didn’t feel good or healthy”. She says she immediately felt better (“my brain felt like a computer rebooting”) after eating a fish dish from Iceland.
I know what you’re thinking . . . was it the £2 prawn ring as advertised by Kerry Katona?
No, Anne’s life-changing fish experience was a sustainably sourced salmon at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Reykjavik.
Easy mistake to make though.
Tourist mums a drain
“HEALTH tourism” is still an ongoing issue, with reports that ten people a day are jetting to the UK to have their babies delivered on the NHS.
The bill for caring for 3,891 foreign maternity cases was around £13.3million in 2017/18, with only £4.9million of it clawed back.
SWNS:South West News Service The three-year-old born with both legs bent backwards has walked for the first time after miracle surgery in the US
Meanwhile, three-year-old Victoria Komada, from Norwich, was born with twisted legs and faced a double amputation.
And thanks only to the generosity of the local community in Norwich and those in Poland’s Szczecin, where her parents grew up, £180,000 was raised for her to fly to
Florida for an operation to help her walk.
Each week we see the plight of desperate people trying to raise money for treatments the NHS won’t fund.
Just think of how many of them that unrecouped £8.4million might have helped.
New Ukraine President THE new President of Ukraine is a comedian with no political experience.
Some days, it feels like we in the UK have 650 of them.
1% still hope for IVF couples
CERTAIN IVF clinics are exploiting older women whose chances of having a baby are very poor, the fertility regulator has warned.
Since 2004, the number of 40-plus women having IVF has doubled, with some clinics “trading on hope” despite a success rate of just one per cent for a woman of 44 using her own eggs.
Alamy The number of women over 40 having IVF has doubled as more and more clinics promise help
A spokeswoman for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said she would like these clinics to be honest about the low statistics.
She’s right, but one suspects the number of older women opting for IVF will remain high.
Because when you’re desperate for a child, even in a fertility lottery of just one per cent, there still lies the hope that it could be you.
CommentROSS CLARK As extinction protesters move on they must now pay the price for their mess CommentTHE SUN SAYS If John Bercow still insists on snubbing Trump then he must finally be ousted CommentAlly Ross There’s no body hang-ups a hug won’t fix on ‘Love Handles Island’ CommentTREVOR KAVANAGH Nigel Farage’s one-man band triumphantly marches on through Tory heartlands CommentJAMES FORSYTH Farage’s Brexit Party spells end of Ukip nutters but will hit the Tories
Take That THE first time I interviewed Take That, it was circa 1992 and they were the Duracell bunnies of pop – bursting with energy and resilience.
Fast forward (eek) 27 years and they’re still performing though, despite a healthy diet and regular exercise, the batteries are running noticeably lower. Particularly as there’s now only three of them on stage.
Howard, 51 this weekend, is a former breakdancer and perhaps the fittest of them all.
But while his body is making all the right moves, his face is positively screaming: “Is there much more of this? Line Of Duty’s on in a minute.”
Moment smiling Sri Lankan bomber enters Shangri-La hotel before detonating device