The Anglican Bishop of Colombo in Sri Lanka has made a powerful statement in response to the Easter bombings in the city, excoriating the nation’s “short-sighted, corrupt, vain and self-serving” politicians and pleading for the Muslim community not to be demonised.

More than 250 people were killed and hundreds more injured in six bombings at Colombo churches and hotels, for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.

Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey said Anglicans had been in Sri Lanka since the end of the 18th century and had played a strong and fruitful role in national life.

He said the country’s overriding tragedy since independence more than 70 years ago was its inability to mould a single country from the diverse elements and the incapacity of its political leadership to rise above narrow party and personal interests.

“The Easter tragedy is one more sad and terrible event in the long descent of our country into darkness,” Bishop Canagasabey said.

He urged Sri Lanka’s people not to demonise the Muslim community for “the sins of a few warped minds”.

See the bishop delivering the whole 14-minute statement below