A senior Muslim leader in Colombo dismissed the Sri Lankan government’s claim that the attacks on Easter Sunday may have been a retaliation for last month's massacre of Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Pointing to the relatively short period of time between the attacks, the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka's vice president, Hilmy Ahamed, said it was impossible for the bombings in Sri Lanka to have been planned in the period, saying it was likely in the works for longer, with foreign influence.
ISIS has claimed the attacks in Sri Lanka, but did not mention New Zealand as a justification.
"It is nonsense to link (the attacks) to New Zealand," Ahamed said.
"The New Zealand attack opened the eyes of the world to the crisis the Muslims are facing," he said, adding it was something of "blessing" for drawing attention to growing Islamophobia worldwide.
He praised New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her response to the shootings, particularly for building connections between communities.
"We sent letters to the Nobel prize committee to award the peace prize to the New Zealand prime minister," he said.
"She definitely deserves the Nobel peace prize."