Raids in Sri Lanka Reveal Nationwide Jihad Insurgency

So far, Sri Lanka police arrested 70 individuals in connection with jihadist activity

“They preach that Islam is good,” he said. “What is wrong with that?”…

A policeman stands guard outside a mosque during Friday noon prayer in Colombo on April 26, 2019, following a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. - Authorities in Sri Lanka on April 25 lowered the death toll in a spate of …

Police in Sri Lanka conducted a series of raids Friday on suspected jihadists, finding in one mosque in Colombo’s suburb of Slave Island a stockpile of 47 swords alongside counterfeit military uniforms, a suicide bomber jacket, and machetes.
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In a nationwide address, President Maithripala Sirisena revealed that police had arrested around 70 individuals in connection with jihadist activity since the Easter Sunday bombings that killed over 250 people and have identified 140 people who may have been involved in the attacks.
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The Sri Lankan outlet Lankadeepa published images from the Slave Island mosque where police found the weapons, revealing that police found the swords in question under the bed of the head imam.

No doubt that all these swords & machetes were entirely for cermonial purposes, like beheading disbelievers, which pleases allah and establishes the religion.

Along with the swords, police told reporters they found 15 machetes and 25 outfits that appeared to be army uniforms. Police said they arrested one suspect in connection to the raid, but did not specify whether the individual is believed to have been involved in the Easter jihadist attacks. They also did not identify the ideology of the mosque in question.

Really. They did not ‘identify the ideology of the mosque?’  Take a hard guess what that could be!

Sri Lanka: Muslim preacher who masterminded Easter jihad massacre preached that idolaters “need to be slaughtered”

“Idolaters, he added, ‘need to be slaughtered wherever you see them.’”

Where did he get that idea? “Kill them wherever you find them” (Qur’an 2:191, 4:89); “Kill the idolaters wherever you find them” (Qur’an 9:5).

“Fearful Muslims” and “Backlash BS”

Al Jizz is firmly focused on a bunch of ragtag Ahmadiyya Moslems from Pakistan, who help them detract unsuspecting kaffirs from keeping an eye on the radical Sunnis of Sri Lanka who are behind the jihad terror.

Local media reported several instances of potentially related police activity on Friday. In Balangoda, about 90 miles from Colombo, police arrested an unnamed “youth” a tipster warned may have been planning an attack on the nation’s parliament. Police told reporters they found live ammunition as well as passes into parliament and a map of the legislative complex. Police noted they did not find explosives in the young man’s home.

The Daily Mirror reported on yet another controlled explosion Friday, this time behind a courthouse where police found a “bag stuffed with gunpowder” in a garbage dump. Controlled explosions occurred in several locations throughout Colombo following the attack as police encountered suspicious packages and vehicles. As the Islamic State, nor any other terrorist group, claimed the attacks for some time, police suspected that the six suicide bombings were not the last of the planned attacks.

Terrorists targeted three churches and three hotels on Easter Sunday, detonating explosives near children to maximize the number of young Christians dying, according to eyewitnesses. At press time, the death count stands at 253 people. While several foreigners were killed in the attacks, Sri Lanka’s minority Christian community was the primary target and suffered tremendously given how crowded the churches were for Easter Mass and the hotels for holiday brunches.

Police initially identified the jihadist group National Thawheed Jama’ath (NTJ) as the responsible party, a Muslim fundamentalist group previously known for local vandalism of Buddhist statues. The Islamic State claimed the attack some days later, publishing photos that appeared to show the head of NTJ, Zahran Hashim, pledging allegiance to the jihadist outfit. A man claiming to be the head of NTJ told Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror that they group had expelled Hashim for extremist views and notified police, but that Sri Lankan authorities did not act on the warning.

Locals near the mosque where Hashim preached refuted the claim that the NTJ’s mosque did not allow him to preach there; the newspaper noted that 11 mosques in Hashim’s neighborhood are known as fundamentalist or Wahhabist, the latter being a specific Saudi fundamentalist sect of Sunni Islam. Hashim also amassed thousands of followers on Facebook and Youtube by posting belligerent sermons calling for jihad.

Sri Lankan officials have repeatedly stated they believe such a large attack would have been impossible to execute without help from abroad.

Speaking on Friday, Sirisena said Hashim likely died in one of the six suicide attacks. Police have begun the operations necessary to arrest the 140 suspects still believed to be abroad, he added.

Sirisena also defended himself once again from accusations of negligence, stating that a recent trip to India did not get in the way of him receiving information that could have prevented the attack. Sirisena, along with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and several high-ranking officials, immediately denied knowledge of a threat after the attack, accusing intelligence officials of hiding a letter from the Indian government specifically warning of a jihadist plot on Easter Sunday. Wickremesinghe and Sirisena have been embroiled in a political crisis since October, when Sirisena attempted to unconstitutionally remove Wickremesinghe from power. Sirisena has excluded the prime minister and his cabinet from intelligence briefings since December.

Sri Lankan officials urged both Muslims and Christians to pray at home rather than congregate in public as the weekend began; Muslims typically go to mosque on Fridays. Hashim reportedly clashed with Sufi Muslims, considered too moderate by Sunni jihadis, before his pivot to targeting Christians. While Christians have reportedly heeded the warning and most Catholic churches have canceled Sunday Mass, many Muslims took to prayer on Friday, according to CNN.

Most of Sri Lanka’s Christians, seven percent of the population, are Catholic. The country boasts a similar percentage of Muslims, while the majority of citizens are Buddhist.

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But wait, there’s more. There’s always more:

“Sri Lankan Accused of Leading Attacks Preached Slaughter. Many Dismissed Him.,” by Hannah Beech, New York Times, April 25, 2019:

KATTANKUDY, Sri Lanka — Zaharan Hashim, a radical Muslim preacher accused of masterminding the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, never hid his hatred.

He railed against a local performance in which Muslim girls dared to dance. When a Muslim politician held a 50th birthday party, he raged about how Western infidel traditions were poisoning his hometown, Kattankudy.

There were, Mr. Zaharan said in one of his online sermons, three types of people: Muslims, those who had reached an accord with Muslims, and “people who need to be killed.”

Idolaters, he added, “need to be slaughtered wherever you see them.”

Mr. Zaharan has been described by Sri Lankan officials as having founded an obscure group with inchoate aims: a defacement of a Buddha statue, a diatribe against Sufi mystics.

But in his hometown, and later in the online world of radical Islam where his sermons were popular with a segment of Sri Lankan youth, it was clear for years that Mr. Zaharan’s hateful cadences were designed to lure a new generation of militants.

“He was influential, very attractive, very smart in his speeches, even though what he was saying about jihad was crazy,” said Marzook Ahamed Lebbe, a former Kattankudy politician and member of a local Islamic federation. “We all underestimated him. We never thought he would do what he said.”…

Muslims in Kattankudy said they had repeatedly contacted the police to warn that Mr. Zaharan was dangerous, but that the authorities played down the threat. Adding to questions about the government’s competence, the Sri Lankan authorities on Thursday vastly revised their earlier count of fatalities, saying that about 250 people had been killed as a result of the bombings, not 359.

One of the targeted churches — where more than 20 people were killed, many of them children — was in Batticaloa, a religiously mixed city just to the north of Kattankudy.

“I cannot digest this, even if it was done by my own brother,” said Madaniya, Mr. Zaharan’s sister, who lives in Kattankudy and who goes by one name. “I strongly condemn this.”

Growing up in Kattankudy, an oasis of Islam on a majority Buddhist island with significant Hindu and Christian minorities, Mr. Zaharan’s religiosity was unremarkable. Most houses here have a picture of Mecca on their wall, and road intersections are decorated with golden monuments in Arabic.

Mr. Zaharan and his brothers were sent by their father, a small-time seed and spice seller, to a madrasa, where teachings adhered to a strict interpretation of Islam. But even as he impressed with the fluency of his Quranic recitation and easily made friends, Mr. Zaharan confronted his teachers and accused them of failing to adhere to true Islam.

Like other Kattankudy youth lured by new overseas fashions, he had come under the spell of foreign preachers whose sermons were being passed around town by DVD, said M.B.M. Fahim, one of his classmates and now a lecturer at the same madrasa.

“He spread misinformation about us,” Mr. Fahim said. “He said the school should close because it was teaching the wrong way. He was just a student and he was saying like this.”

Mr. Zaharan was kicked out of school. He enrolled at another Islamic college but never graduated, his acquaintances said. Still, by listening to the sermons of charismatic but extremist preachers based in India and Malaysia, Mr. Zaharan was honing his oratory.

“He was a very good talker and a good researcher of how Islam was developing worldwide,” said M.L.M. Nassar, an administrator of a Kattankudy mosque federation.

Mr. Zaharan was unafraid of taking on the powerful, a rarity in a society bound by respect for those richer or older.

“He would criticize big shots, he would criticize anybody,” said Mr. Marzook, the former politician. “People were attracted to his lack of fear.”

After getting ejected from serving as imam of one mosque for his extremist views, Mr. Zaharan started a group in 2014 called National Thowheeth Jama’ath, which drew from the austere Wahhabi tradition that claims to follow the faith as practiced in the age of its founder, the Prophet Muhammad.

Mr. Zaharan preached that the Sri Lankan national flag was a worthless piece of cloth, and that the country should be ruled by Shariah law — an unlikely outcome in a country where only about 10 percent of the population is Muslim….

Still, an Islamic school dropout with an unlicensed mosque was gaining followers in Sri Lanka and beyond. Last year, Indian security officials investigating what they said was an Islamic State cell in southern India reported that one of the suspects they had arrested said he had been inspired to join the group after watching Mr. Zaharan’s videos.

But another of the ISIS suspects in southern India, Ashiq, 25, is out on bail and rejects the notion that Mr. Zaharan’s sermons were anything more than a guide to the Quran and Islamic law. “They preach that Islam is good,” he said. “What is wrong with that?”…

 

One thought on “Raids in Sri Lanka Reveal Nationwide Jihad Insurgency”

  1. I’m interested to know if the Sri Lankan Muslim post graduate student who was arrested at UNSW (and later released)
    last year will get a mention.

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