21/4 attacks relate to foreign invasions of Muslim countries, persistent anti-minority violence here

Saturday, 13 June 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • None of the 13 reasons claimed by attackers relate to any fault in doctrinal Islam!

For the first time since the widely condemned suicide bombings of 21 April 2019, evidence has surfaced disclosing 13 reasons claimed by the bombers as the alleged motivations for their 21/4 murderous acts. A study of the motivations that may have, guided or misguided the attackers is a welcome and vital move, without in any manner seeking to legitimise the terror attacks. A dispassionate and honest analysis of these latest revelations therefore becomes an essential part of the search for truth. 

This was stated by former Member of Parliament M.M. Zuhair, President’s Counsel in a media statement issued this week. He states further as follows:

This evidence has been given by a senior officer of the Sri Lanka Police, Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) on 29 May before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the Easter Sunday bombings of 21/4 as reported by the media. The senior TID official, who is not named in the media report, has identified four reasons for the attacks and nine further reasons for carrying out the attacks in Sri Lanka as claimed by the assailants and as disclosed in the TID investigations. 

The following are the reported reasons. The first is for the love of Allah, the second is in revenge for attacking the ‘Caliphate’ and killing Muslims, the third is in revenge for killing Muslims in the Christchurch mass shooting and the fourth was to target foreigners from countries supporting the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Syria and staying in tourist hotels in Sri Lanka. 

These reasons as presented by the TID and reported in the media, relate essentially to external or international motivational factors. Two of the four reasons relate to foreign invasions of Muslim countries resulting in the killing of Muslims in those countries. None of these reasons justify violence against innocent civilians.

Nine further reasons for carrying out the attacks in Sri Lanka have been given by the TID as similarly revealed from the bombers’ claims and from the investigations. The first of these reasons is given as ‘insulting and abusing Allah’. The second is naming the image of a pig in Kuliyapitiya with the words ‘Allah’. The third is the comment allegedly made by Ven. Gnanasara Thero that ‘Allah will be incarnated (born as a human)’. The fourth is making comments abusive of Prophet Mohammed. The fifth is wilful destruction of the Quran. The sixth is the demolition of mosques. The seventh is the burning of Muslim homes and the destruction of their livelihoods. The eighth is Sri Lanka’s participation in the international Christian crusade against the Muslims. The ninth is the Prophet’s alleged call for the destruction of non-believers. 

It is evident that eight of the nine reasons refer to recent controversial matters alleged to have taken place in the country. The ‘claims’ apparently relate to certain persistent anti-minority hate campaigns and extremist violence in the country over a period of several years preceding 21/4. The argument appears to be that the State machinery failed to end the threats on the minorities or to act duly and firmly to uphold the rule of law. 

The bombers’ reasoning appears to be an attempt to justify their resorting to extremist violence upon majoritarian extremism and violence. Recourse to violence however, has no basis whatsoever in any religion or civilisation. Therefore acts of violence of this kind, whether minoritarian or majoritarian, cannot be attributed to any religion or its teachings. 

Regrettably the reasoning overlooks a thousand years of Sinhala-Muslim amity, over-arching Buddhist geniality and the under-publicised patriotic role of the Muslims spanning over the past several centuries. It is reasonably clear that the inexcusable attacks are attributable to youths radicalised by well-known international and local controversial and confrontational issues. The reasons however do not relate per se to any fault in doctrinal Islam. 

The bombers’ claim of doing what they did ‘for the love of Allah’ is preposterous because Allah has prohibited committing suicide and hates ‘suicide bombers’. Islam means surrender to Allah and peace with all. It does not permit or condone destruction. It prohibits commencing any conflict but permits self-defence, including killing in self-defence in certain circumstances. All modern laws the world over recognise these rights.

The TID’s presentation appears to be based largely on the narratives of Zahran Hashim, the leader of the outfit. The original versions, not only of Zahran but also of all the other bombers, all of whom were equipped with mobile phones are not in the public domain. A full and true disclosure of the conversations of all the bombers shortly before the attacks, the role of foreign intelligence out-fits and those promoting arms sales in the region may unravel the true face of this deadly mission, Zuhair has stated.