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 Cardinal Malcom 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 on the failure of the Easter Sunday Commission to investigate and provide answers to the critical issues raised on behalf of the worst affected 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 16/02/21 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 21/07/2019, on the day of the re-consecration of the Katuwapitiya St. Sebastian’s Church, one of the Churches destroyed by a suicide bomber with a Muslim name had not been dealt with anywhere in the six member Commission report.
The Archbishop said that “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 is 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 is 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 fulfill 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 even examine these serious revelations.
More than a thousand year old peaceful presence of Muslims in the island was demonized and destroyed within a day by destructive forces for political and not religious reasons.
A well-organized sinister campaign demonizing Islam and unleashing violence on Muslims began in the aftermath of the defeat of LTTE in May 2009.This campaign reached its zenith when the entire Muslim community was blamed for the crime of Zahran Hashim and a handful of his lunatics.
Within two years leading Sinhalese professionals, respectable monks and even politicians openly claimed that the Muslim community has nothing to do with his tragedy while pointing the finger at those who benefitted from the carnage.
Several top police and intelligence officers openly claimed that Zahran is not the leader and there were people above him. Now that Zahran and his team perished in the carnage they disappeared with the truth.
However, as Cardinal Malcolm 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.
It is worthy to note that the masterminds behind the attacks may have thought they could put Christians and Sinhalese against the Muslims. However timely appeal of Cardinal Malcom Ranjith averted such a tragedy to the benefit of all communities.
Under the circumstance Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’s call to disclose the real masterminds of this crime is not only justifiable but also the need of the hour. We stand firmly against any attempt to divide and confront the people of our country on ethnoreligious lines.
We fully support the Archbishop’s demand while appreciating the leading Sinhalese who are openly condemning the crime and the hate campaign against Islam and Muslims.
M.M. Zuhair PC, former MP
Latheef Farook, Journalist and Author
Mass L. Usuf, Attorney at Law and Advocacy Columnist
Mansoor Dahlan, Theology Scholar
Disclaimer: Muslims should support Archbishop's call to identify the masterminds behind the Easter Sunday attacks! - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view