Sunday, 19th September 2021

‘Saudi, Qatar groups should stop funding SL extremists’

Colombo, May 7 (IANS): Former Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara has urged Saudi Arabia and Qatar not to let extremist groups in their countries finance Muslim fundamentalists in Sri Lanka like the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) which carried out the Easter Sunday bombings.

Jayasekara, who is the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), told reporters that there was firm evidence to prove that religious extremists in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the Islamic State terrorists have been funding the Muslim fundamentalists in Sri Lanka for several years.

“I believe that the armed forces, the Special Task Force (STF) and the police hit the nerve centre of Muslim extremists,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror on Monday.

“But we must not let complacency take the upper hand. We must be vigilant on possible acts of terrorism round the clock and round the year – until religious fundamentalism is fully annihilated.”

The April 21 killings at three luxury hotels, three churches and two other locations claimed over 250 lives. Authorities have increased security in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the bombings.

Jayasekara also said the SLFP was fully supportive of the banning of the face veil worn by Muslim women that hinders the identification of the person who wears it.

He requested President Maithripala Sirisena to bring madrasas and other religious schools in the country under the supervision of the Education Ministry.

“There must be strict monitoring of Muslim preachers who arrive in Sri Lanka on tourist visas and give speeches on religious fundamentalism at madrasas to radicalize Muslim youths.

“This has to be stopped forthwith and a comprehensive monitoring system is vital to control the mushrooming of madrasas, grouping of extremists as Muslim religious organisations and opening of mosques in a haphazard manner,” Jayasekara said.

The law enforcement authorities uncovered tonnes of explosives, arms and ammunition which were kept to carry out acts of terrorism following the attacks.

“The country is returning to normalcy surely and fast. Therefore, parents must not get scared to send their children to schools and public servants as well as employees of the private sector to their workplaces,” Jayasekara added.


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