By Saman Indrajith
President of the All Ceylon Jamiathul Ullama Moulavi Mohammed Rizwi, yesterday, told the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday carnage that his organisation had been warning relevant authorities since 2014 of the dangers posed by Muslim extremists.
Giving evidence before the PSC, the Moulavi said that he and Azath Salley had met the then Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando on January 3, 2019 and informed him of Zahran Hashim’s subversive activities.
Rizwi said that they had submitted to Fernando a compact disc containing evidence to prove their allegations. He showed the PSC a picture of him and Salley giving Fernando a CD, a copy of which was submitted to committee.
The Moulavi said that he had, in one of his speeches aired by one of the channels of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, condemned the Zahran group and exposed their links with IS. “Thereafter the Zahran group labelled me kaffir––a derogatory term in our discourses. We did not have protection from the security establishment against the threats from extremists in our community. We voluntarily came forward to informed the authorities of their illegal activities, but our warnings went unheeded.
“We actually waged an ideological jihad against the extremists because they were against our motherland. We voluntarily published books and other publications against extremists, Rizwi said, showing the copies of publications to the PSC.
The disaster was a result of intolerance espoused by a very small group comprising misguided youth, he said adding that it was the duty of all to lead them on the correct path.
“Muslims have fully cooperated with the authorities to neutralise the extremist threat. We even prevented them being buried in Muslim burial grounds,” he said.
The Moulavi said that his organisation had endorsed the recent stand taken by Saudi Arabia against Wahabism.
Yesterday’s PSC sitting was attended by Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne, Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Dr Nalinda Jayatissa, Prof Ashu Marasinghe, Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka. Dr Jayampathy Wickremeratne and MA Sumanthiran.