Category Archives: atrocities

Addressing the 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists: Where Fervour Trumps ‘Deep Throats’

Michael Roberts

When one of my articles on the jihadist network that perpetrated the 21/4 attacks in Sri Lanka referred to the inspirations behind the 9/11 attacks in USA, I was surprised to receive vehement rejections of the latter contention from two good friends and one distant  ‘aide’ in Canada – challenges sent independently of each other.

These challenges have been rejected by other friends – at times quite bluntly. But Jeremy Liyanage,[1] Jean-Pierre Page[2] and Chris Black[3] are individuals with whom I have interacted fruitfully and whose commitment to the pursuit of truth and reform in this world are not in doubt. So, this revisiting of 9/11 and its perpetrators on my part is a personal journey that addresses my three friends, while yet seeking to raise significant issues in today’s world – especially embracing the ramifications of the ideological currents known as “Wahhabism” and “Salafism” (terms that seem to be deployed interchangeably).[4] Continue reading

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Anti-Muslim Violence Present and Past

Shamara Wettimuny, in Sunday Observer, 14 July 2019, where the title is “A brief history of anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka”

The recent Easter attacks targeting a number of churches and hotels devastated Sri Lanka. Over 250 people were killed, and many more injured. Within days of the attack, it emerged that the perpetrators of the attack were affiliated to radical Islamist groups in Sri Lanka. However, the identification of the perpetrators as ostensibly adherents of the Islamic faith opened the floodgates of discrimination and violence against the broader Muslim community in Sri Lanka.

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Afghanistan Cricket Team does a War-Ravaged Country Proud. Hurrah!

F. S. Aijasuddin, in Dawn, July 2019

If there is any country in the world that is entitled to adopt the phoenix as its national symbol, it is Afghanistan.

Consider. It has suffered a history of gratuitous devastation, ever since the ill-fated foray by the British Army of the Indus in 1839. Despite the ravages caused by the British during the 19th century, by 1900 its Amir retained enough authority to treat the British Agent at Kabul with humiliating condescension. My ancestor Fakir Iftikharuddin served as British Agent at Kabul from 1907-1910. He complained to his Government that his life was ‘very unpleasant and uncomfortable…no-one is allowed to meet him or to talk to him’. ‘In fact,’ he concluded, ‘the life of a British Agent is no better than a political prisoner.’ Continue reading

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Sri Lanka in 1988: Experiencing ‘Ordinary Living’ in A Conflict Zone

John Richardson, whose title in this article conveying diary notes runs thus:  “Ordinary Living” in the Midst of Civil War Notes to Family and Friends“[1]  … with highlighting and pics inserted by The Editor, Thuppahi

February 1988: After getting settled in our home at number 5 Bagatelle Terrace, within walking distance of Colombo University, we have begun to fit into our neighborhood and the city.   Already we have made a number of Sri Lankan acquaintances.  Emily knows the city better because she is an inveterate walker.  She covers three to five miles each day on foot; more than any expatriates and most Sri Lankans, except the very poor.  She feels quite safe walking about during the day. We walk about at night, too, but are more careful as the streets are poorly lighted.  “Homeless” people do live on the streets here.  They are about as visible as they are in Washington, D.C., but I think the culture here is more accepting; the gap between rich and poor is much less than in America.  In fact, what strikes me about the majority of Sri Lankans, both rich and poor, is their unfailing honesty, courtesy and decency.  (The principal exception appears to be some of those who deal regularly with foreigners).  They are a considerate, friendly people – and for many, life is arduous.

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Our Well of Tears for Kieran de Zoysa: Killed on Easter Sunday, 21st April

Kieran Alexander Shafritz de Zoysa, August 7, 2007-April 21, 2019

Kieran was born in New York City, raised in Washington, D.C., and spent summers in Southern California. He schooled at Sidwell Friends, a Quaker school from age five to 10 and looked forward to returning to Sidwell Friends School in September 2019, following 18 months of living in Colombo and attending Elizabeth Moir School.Kieran was a gifted student with a photographic memory, the diligence to natural grasp of maths and science. Teachers in Washington and Colombo loved his enthusiasm for learning and his drive to do his best always.

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The Jihadist Networks in Sri Lanka: Thoughts

Michael Roberts

Amarnath Amarasingam has unearthed a considerable body of new detail on the fervent Islamic jihadists who launched the Easter Sunday attacks; while a BBC team has recovered fascinating detail on one of the cells in Mawanella in the course of a story about a Muslim activist of moderate disposition who took them on … and is now paralysed because of a murderous retaliation.[1] Both articles highlight the interventions of moderate Muslims and the information they served up to the Sri Lankan government agencies in the last 3-4 years – information that was not acted upon (a) because there was no centralized chain of command in the intelligence set-up and (b) because of multiple instances of horrendous ineptitude at the top.

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Diving into Amarasingam’s “Terrorism on the Teardrop Island”

Hassina Leelarathna

In a tweet about his article “Terrorism on the Teardrop Island: Understanding the Easter 2019 Attacks in Sri Lanka,” Amarnath Amarasingam says he’s taking “a deep dive into everything we know so far about the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka” and that he’s providing “new details” along the way. After plumbing the depths of that “deep dive,” I have these comments.

The Wellampitiya bomb factory discovered in early 2019

Jihad in South Asia

Says Amarasingam

  • “The Sri Lanka attacks may be early evidence that the Islamic State is taking an important and renewed interest in South Asia, following losses in Syria and Iraq.”
  • “With respect to what the Sri Lanka attacks may reveal about the Islamic State’s strategy going forward, two factors are important. First, the author has been asked many times since the attack why the Islamic State would go out of its way to target a small island like Sri Lanka. This is largely the wrong question. As has been seen in Dhaka, Quetta, and other places that have experienced recent attacks, it is not so much that the Islamic State is targeting these countries as it is accepting allegiances by local groups who want to bridge localized grievances with a more transnational brand. As such, it is not that the Islamic State targeted Sri Lanka, but that groups like the NTJ are aligning their cause with international terrorist groups.”

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