Interfaith vigil held in Cary in memory of Sri Lanka bombings victims

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A large crowd packed the Sertoma Amphitheatre at Bond Park in Cary Sunday night to take part in a candlelit vigil for the victims of last week's bombings in Sri Lanka.

"You got a lot of youngsters here today. I'm hoping they'll learn from this, and put aside their ethnic or religious difference and really come together," said Shaluka Perera, a Cary resident who is originally from Sri Lanka.

Many people in attendance had ties to that region, with leaders of other faith groups and several politicians delivering speeches during the event.

"Extremism in my opinion does not have a place. Unfortunately, they're the one's wreaking havoc. So it's sad... it's very sad," said Perera.

Outside messages of unity, lawmakers in attendance hoped to take action.

State Senator Wiley Nickel, who represents Wake County, is a sponsor of Senate Bill 209, which would increase the scope and punishment of hate crimes and require the SBI to create and maintain a hate crime statistics database.

"We just can't go numb to this senseless violence. We have to stand up every time with the same force," explained Nickel.

Morrisville Council Member Steve Rao said he's been in contact with the US India Friendship Council, and is hopeful for further cooperation on cyber security in the region.

"Using data and intelligence to make sure that they're tracking whatever kinds of terrorism can occur in the south Asian region," Rao said.

Rao also mentioned the possibility of increasing the local budget to designate more officers to be stationed at houses of worship.

More than 350 people were killed in the series of suicide bombs that took place at churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. Four Americans were among the victims.
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