Calling for a united Stand against religious violence Ambassador A.M.J. Sadiq shared his views based on as a mere follower of Islam stating that he is not a theologian nor a religious scholar.
“The bigger challenge for Sri Lanka and globally, lies in combatting and eradicating the evil ideology which motivates so called Muslims to kill innocent people.” Expressed Ambassador A.M.J. Sadiq, in a guest lecture where he provided a personal perspective of the Easter Sunday Attack on 30th of January 2019 at the BIDTI.
Sri Lanka is no stranger to terrorism, having experienced a civil war that lasted for nearly three decades, claiming thousands of civilian lives and left millions internally displayed.
However, the decade long peace the country experienced after 2009, came to a screeching halt on 21st of April 2019. The “Easter Sunday Attack” resulted in multiple suicide bombings in luxury hotels in Colombo and Churches in Negombo, Batticoloa and Kochchikade. The atrocity claimed hundreds of lives and left hundreds more with life altering injuries. Moreover, it traumatized the people of the country and left the rest of the world shaken.
“Although the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks, it was later confirmed that a hitherto relatively unknown local group called the National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ), led by a radical preacher, Zahran Hashim, had masterminded the terrorist attacks.” In the aftermath of the attack, the authorities managed to successfully round up all members involved. This was largely due to the active support of the local Muslim community provided much needed intelligence to the relevant authorities”, stated Ambassador Sadiq.
The hate filled ideology that enticed these groups to commit violence under the name of Islam is largely condemned by the Muslim community. As Islam signifies peace and harmony, accepting religious and cultural diversity. As a result, the decision to monitor religious schools and reevaluate their curriculum in conjunction with relative government bodies by the Government of Sri Lanka is a “timely move” which Ambassador Sadiq advocates.
LIn addition, Ambassador Sadiq urges the government to closely monitor all foreign funds going into religions institutions in order to ensure that they are not used to fulfil immoral activities. Furthermore, it is crucial that communities of religious minority are not marginalized and that all diverse religious and cultural communities take a cohesive stance against intercommunal violence.
(Views expressed in the lecture were of the speaker’s personal and do not in any way reflect the views of the BIDTI or institutions the speaker is affiliated to.)