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Radical Islam silently spreading in Sri Lanka

National Towfeek Jamaath, Sri Lanka, Tablighi Jamaat, Islamic State, Al Qaeda, President Gotabaya Rajapaksha

Counterterrorism

Radical Islam silently spreading in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan local jihadist group National Towfeek Jamaath (NTJ) was behind the deadly 2019 bombings on Easter Sunday that killed nearly 300 people and injured twice as many. Although law enforcement and counter-militancy agencies in the country have been taking numerous steps in combating NTJ and similar jihadist groups in the country, according to information, in Sri Lanka, radical Islam and jihadism are on rise, especially by using Tablighi Jamaat as an effective vessel of spreading radical Islam and recruiting fighters for joining jihad.

Muslims in Sri Lanka are accusing Sinhalese Buddhist of violence. But the scenario is totally different and the allegations brought by the Sri Lankan Muslims are false. According to information, several jihadist groups from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and other provinces in India are extending support to Sri Lankan jihadist, under direct patronization from Pakistani spy agency ISI. India-based jihadist groups are dreaming of caliphate conquest in India, Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries.

International media earlier claimed, Islamic State and Al Qaeda have already established footprint in Sri Lanka.

In 2021, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksha banned 11 militancy groups, including Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Sri Lanka Islamic Students Movement under the Prevention of Terrorism Provisions Act.

Despite banning 11 militancy groups and Sri Lankan authorities’ continuous efforts in combating radical Islam and jihadism, the seeds of radical Islam has been silently expanding in the country, mostly under the disguise of Tablighi Jamaat.

Counterterrorism experts say, Sri Lanka stands at a vulnerable situation when radical Islam and jihadism are on rise in a number of regions in neighboring India. For the past few years, activities of jihadist outfits in India have reached alarming level, which may pose gravest threat to the neighboring nations such as Sri Lanka.

They suggested, Sri Lankan intelligence agencies should increase vigilance on Tablighi Jamaat as well ensure congregations in the mosques are not used for spreading religious hatred, especially during Friday prayers.

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