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Wahabi Terrorism in Sri Lanka!

Interesting Article: "Sri Lanka bombings carried out byIslamist group National Thowheed Jama’ath, minister says" by Lizzie Dearden. Independent. April 22 2019.

Bombings that killed hundreds of victims at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka were carried out by a local Islamist group with the help from international terrorists. Seven suicide bombers who struck on Easter Sunday were Muslims linked to National Thowheed Jama'ath.

Would you like to know more?

A Sri Lankan Muslim extremist group is responsible for the worst attacks since the end of the war and one of the world’s worst since 9/11. So, who are they?

Not much is known about the National Thowheed Jama'ath (NTJ), a radical Muslim group that has been linked to the vandalizing of Buddhist statues, but it is feared the militants may have had help from international terrorists such as ISIS. There have been no attacks in Sri Lanka linked to foreign Islamist groups, but in January, police seized a haul of explosives and detonators following the arrest of four men from a newly formed radical group. The Islamic State is suspected because of the nature of the attack, especially the way the blasts have been synchronized and orchestrated. NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama'ath) was also planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo earlier this month. The High Commission is located a prime location in Colombo and close to sea front.

NTJ came to notice last year when it was linked to the vandalization of Buddhist statues. The suspect, Mohammed Ashfa was arrested at the time. All of the bombers were Sri Lankan citizens, but authorities suspect foreign links. Key intelligence on a possible terrorist attack was not passed onto the Sri Lankan government weeks before the attack.

NTJ is actually an offshoot of Wahhabi-aligned Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamaat (SLTJ), which has found traction in the country’s eastern province and has been pushing Sharia law with burqas for women and building mosques to disseminate radical messages. The closest reference to the NTJ is a December 2015 paper by Iromi Dharmawardhane, research associate at the Institute of South Asian Studies in the National University of Singapore, who mentions a group called the Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamaat (SLTJ). The group, Dharmawardhane mentions, was ‘gaining prominence’ and ‘was influenced by the Tamil Nadu Thawheed Jamaath (TNTJ) an extremist organization based in India.’ The SLTJ has received little attention over the past four years, possibly because worries of growing radicalism among Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority population have not manifested into a bump in militant recruits. Only a handful of the island nation's recruits are believed to have traveled to ISIS-controlled territories in Syria and Iraq, which the group controlled between 2014 and 2018. A Lankan ISIS recruit, Sharfaz Shuraih Muhsin, was killed in an airstrike in Syria in July 2015. The Maldives, in stark contrast — just 600 km south-west of Sri Lanka’s shores — has seen a thriving Islamist network, with over 200 recruits joining ISIS. For an atoll nation of less than 5,00,000 people, that translates into the highest number of ISIS recruits per capita anywhere in the world.

NTJ is led by an individual called Mohomad Saharan. Abdur Raziq, the secretary general of Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamaat is also a spokesman for the group and current efforts need to be made to Kill or capture these two individuals. Maulvi P. Jainul Abideen, the founder of the fundamentalist Tamil Nadu Thawheed Jamaath (TNTJ) started coming to Sri Lanka in 2015. A powerful section of Lankan Muslims who feared that Maulvi Abdideen’s presence in the island will disturb inter-religious harmony put pressure on the government to cancel his visa, unfortunately the current administration in power is ineffective in managing Islamic terrorism due to their ineffectiveness in running the country. Earlier in 2005 (under Mahinda Rajapakshe), Jainul Abideen was deported on the same grounds. There is also verifiable evidence also that allege that the TNTJ and SLTJ have accepted millions of rupees from Saudi Arabia for spreading Wahabi Islam.

Abdur Raziq, the secretary general of Sri Lanka’s Thawheed Jamaat has been quite vocal and his goal is for the organization to promote a return to a Salafist strain of Sunni Islam. Thawheed Jamaat is the most prominent of several so-called Islamic extremist  organizations that have taken root and is currently preaching a violent form of Islam and promoting sectarianism. The movement is 9,000 members strong with chapters in most major Sri Lankan cities.

NJT have strong Saudi Arabian Wahabi influences. In contrast to South Asian fundamentalist groups, these relatively new Wahabi groups have routinely provoked violence among Muslims in Sri Lanka.The Thawheed Jamaat has over time splintered into multiple sub-groups. These sub-groups include Colombo-based sub-groups such as Dharus Salaf, All Ceylon Thawheed Jamaat (ACTJ) and the Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamaat (SLTJ), the Batticaloa-based Dharul Adhar, and the Kattankudy-based National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ). The NTJ is possibly the most militant of the Thawheed Jamaat groups. Violent evictions of the Abdur Rauf group from Kattankudy in 2000 and 2006 are attributed to those who eventually formed the NTJ. Meanwhile, orthodox Sufi groups are represented to some extent within national politics and within the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) – an institution that identifies itself as the apex body on Islamic theology.

National Thowheeth Jama’ath has emerged from a wider movement. Tawhid, essentially meaning oneness with God, developed as an Islamic movement in Sri Lanka in the 1950s, but proliferated into several groups by the 1990s, largely backed by Wahhabi ideology imported by migrant workers returning from the Middle East, and some western-educated individuals. At the time, Sri Lanka was experiencing a resurgence in Islam promoted by a number of Islamic reform movements, which resulted in Muslims identifying more closely with Islam and expressing this through dress and behavior. The Tawhid groups were part of this process but took a more hardline position that mainstream Islam in Sri Lanka had been corrupted by other religious and cultural influences and needed to be purified. The Sufi – Wahabi conflict escalated dramatically in 2009.

In February 2009, members of Thawheed Jamaat reportedly destroyed a 150-year old shrine in Ukuwela. In July 2009, violence broke out in Beruwala between Thawheed Jamaat and the Qadiri Sufi order. The incident led to two deaths, injuries to more than 40 people, and 132 arrests. the clash took place due to claims by Qadiri devotees that adherents at a Wahhabi mosque in the area – the Masjidur Rahman – were characterizing them as ‘disbelievers. The Beruwela incident prompted introspection within some quarters of the Muslim community – including the ACJU – on the need for Muslim unification while maintaining space for diversity. Muslim factionalism tends to incentivize such assertions and serves to increase the visibility of conservative Muslim practices, as Muslim groups have competed to outbid each other to demonstrate strict observance of Shari’a. Economic factors further compound these incentives. For example, observers in Batticaloa claimed that rival Wahabi groups in the area often attempted to outbid each other to attract Saudi Arabian funding. Such funding is usually attached to the strictest observance of Shari’a and the adoption of conservative Wahabi practices.

Sri Lanka needs to build a list of Joint Prioritized Effects with Mohomad Saharan and Abdur Raziq as the number one priority on Kill/capture. There is no negotiating with terrorists, and there is no value in treading lightly. The national security of Sri Lanka is at stake and the international community is watching the current government to see what they will do in the face of true ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALIST terror.



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