Muslims should support Archbishop’s Call
Sri Lanka’s historically peaceful Muslim community, the second biggest victimised sector after the Christians from the tragic Easter Sunday carnage, should firmly support the call made by the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith to bring to light the alleged masterminds behind the 21/4 suicide attacks on innocent Christians and others.
We share with the rest of the country the deep disappointment expressed by the Archbishop of the Easter Sunday Commission’s failure to provide answers to the critical issues raised on behalf of the victims. We also find the evaluation of the causes that led to several youths destroying hundreds of innocent lives by committing suicide, woefully inadequate.
The failure to evaluate the circumstances of the purported wife of one of the suicide bombers, Pulasthini Rajendran alias Sarah’s alleged escape to India by boat or to recommend measures to extradite and investigate her is widely perceived in Sri Lanka as a costly gap in the report. In an online workshop on ‘Intelligence and National Security’ held on 16 February the Indian High Commissioner here was reported in the Media that Indian security agencies had recently arrested persons wanted by the Sri Lankan counter parts. Why not Pulasthini?
The Archbishop’s globally publicised speech made on 21 August 2019, on the day of the re-consecration of the Katuwapitiya St. Sebastian’s Church destroyed by a suicide bomber had not been dealt with anywhere in the six member Commission report.
The Archbishop said the “Easter Sunday mayhem was an international conspiracy and not merely the work of Islamic extremists. The youth who carried out the bomb attacks were used by the international conspirators. Global Muslims have become victims of international forces. However, global Muslims should stand up against the conspirators who use Islamic ideologies to create mayhem all over the globe. They should join the people of other religions to confront those forces who insult Islam to fulfill their vested interests. I have seen a report that ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was in a military camp which is run by the most powerful nation in the world. I won’t mention the name of that country but clearly the ISIS leader was in a military camp which is run by this powerful nation. We are worried that ISIS leaders are being used by this powerful nation to fulfil their vested interests. We question whether this nation knew about the bomb attack. We also question whether some are trying to create a Sinhala Muslim backlash and create unrest in our country. I do not think a group of youths created the Easter Sunday carnage merely because of their ideologies with regard to Islam”.
The Archbishop in his Katuwapitiya speech also quoted Pope Francis as having said that so many conflicts in the world are because of the high productions of weapons! Legitimate questions are being raised in knowledgeable circles as to why the Commission failed to examine these serious revelations.
More than a thousand-year- old peaceful presence of Muslims in the island was demonised and destroyed within a day by destructive forces overcommunal political issues and not for religious reasons.
A well-organised sinister campaign demonising Islam and unleashing violence on Muslims began in the aftermath of the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009.This campaign reached its zenith when the entire Muslim community was blamed for the crime of Zaharan Hashim and a handful of his lunatics.
Within two years today leading Sinhalese professionals, respectable monks and even politicians openly claimed the Muslim community had nothing to do with the tragedy while pointing the finger at those who benefitted from the carnage. Several top police and intelligence officers openly claimed that Zaharan is not the leader and there were people above him.
However, as Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith demands, Muslims and others would like to know the real architects of this dastardly crime which brought immense sufferings to Christians, Muslims and all others. Muslims too were subjected to reprisal attacks and killings, their residential, commercial and industrial properties burnt under the watchful eyes of the police.
We stand firmly against any attempt to divide and confront the people of our country on ethno-religious lines.We fully support the Archbishop’s demand while appreciating the concerns of respected Sinhala personalities who have condemned the hate campaign against Islam and the Muslims.
M. M. Zuhair PC, former MP
Latheef Farook, Journalist & Author
Mass L Usuf, Attorney at Law & Advocacy Columnist
Mansoor Dahlan, Theology Scholar