Public Security Minister rear admiral (Retd) Sarath Weerasekera told Parliament on Wednesday (22) that Sri Lanka would be under threat as long because the IS ideology promising 72 virgins in paradise for those that sacrificed their lives within the name of Jihad existed.
“Anyone who believes therein ideology could perform an attack any time. it’s tough to identify them,” the minister said, responding to an issue by SJB Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahman.
Minister Weerasekera said that Ven Gnansara during a recent TV talk show highlighted the same threat and Muslim MPs rather than trying to seek out faults with the messenger should support the govt to urge rid of terror ideologies from society.
MP Rahman said: “Ven. Gnanasara has recently made a statement during a live telecast on Hiru TV that there would be another terror attack. He said he had informed the President of the threat. He also said that he had all information including the details of the explosives and where the attack would happen. What action has the government?”
Minister Weerasekera said that inquiries had been made up of Ven Gnanasara Thera regarding his statements. “When Ven Gnanasara was questioned by investigators, he said that he made those statements based on the Al Quran. Ven Gnanasara Thera said that there’s a Sinhala translation of Al Quran by Abdul Razeek of Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamaath. That translation contains some sections which can motivate the Muslims to interact in clandestine activities within the name of their religion. He also said so within the TV talk show.
“Ven Gnanasara Thera said that no responsible Muslim leader or Islamic religionist has rejected those sections that advocate terror attacks,” the minister said.
Weerasekera said that Wahabism’s aim was the creation of a theocratic state ruled by an Islamic leader with the title of Caliph. “This ideology is espoused by ISIS. it’s tough to detect persons who believe Wahabism. this is often why it’s hard to form arrests. for instance, the Lankan-born Islamic terrorist who launched a recent attack in New Zealand had been under surveillance since 2016. Later, he was released by the court. He erased pro-ISIS documents and videos from his computer but he didn’t erase the ideology from his mind.”
The terrorist had knifed innocents believing that he would attend paradise and accept beautiful virgins, the minister said, adding that there have been many such people in Sri Lanka.
“There can’t be different laws for different religions. These laws nurture extremist ideologies. Ven Gnanasara’s is true when he says extremists can carry out terror attacks any time. we’ve strengthened our intelligence network on account of this threat. we’d like the support of the Muslim people and their organizations to arrest persons who can become a threat. it’s wrong to form allegations of racism whenever security forces arrest such extremists. within the aftermath of the easter Sunday attacks we’ve detained some people that held and propagated the IS ideology, funded such teachings, and associated closely with those that carried out the terror attacks,” he said.
The Minister added that there are Muslim MPs who speak on behalf of these detainees. The terrorists who administered the suicide terror attacks at the Shangri-La were two sons of a business tycoon.
“They were educated and wealthy. If such educated persons fall prey to the promise of 72 virgins in heaven, what about the youth who haven’t any such education and money? it’s not a task difficult to recruit a mean Muslim youth with this ideology. they’re exposed to teachings that justify terror and killing innocents within the name of faith. They lobbied and exerted pressure on the authorities to release the feared suspect who thereafter carried out a knife attack in New Zealand. Now you see the results.”
Weerasekara said that a leader of the student organization of the Jamaat e Islami had been involved in damaging Buddha statues in Mawanella. For 25 years the leader of Jamaat-e- Islami had been Rasheed Hajjul Akbar. the person wrote a book which states that Jihad should be launched to protect Islam which lives had to be sacrificed to achieve that goal.
” Akbar was arrested by the Yahapalana government and MP Mujibur Rahman pressed for his release. this is often an MP that spoke highly of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Later, Akbar was released without conditions. The Presidential Commission of Inquiry on page 270 of its report has identified Akbar as one who propagated the creation of an Islamic State in Sri Lanka.
The Attorney General should take action to prosecute him for promoting this ideology. the 2 sons of Akbar’s brother were involved in destroying Buddha statues in Mawanella. They and the suicide bomb attacker at Dehiwala were members of the student wing of this organization. Jamaat-e-Islami literature justifies suicide attacks and it had been Akbar who channeled funds for sending Lankan Muslims abroad for training within the 1990s.
Muslim MPs got him released. it had been our government that took him into custody again. There are such terrorists at large. they’re those Ven. Gnanasara Thera has warned of. this is often far more complicated than the LTTE. we’ll arrest those that should be arrested and rehabilitate those that should be rehabilitated. we’d like your support to stay the country safe.”