Sri Lanka bomb blasts: Knowing suicide bomber Zahran Hashim

Sri Lanka bomb blasts: Knowing suicide bomber Zahran Hashim

By: Muheed Jeeran

COLOMBO: Zahran Hashim is from Kathankudy in Batticaloa district, Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. He has a history of trouble making and Criminal Investigation Department was well aware of his history. His brother is also a moulavi, Zainee Hashim. Zahran comes from a poor family background.

He was studying to become an Islamic scholar at Jamiathul Falah Madrasa in Kathankudy. It was in Thabliq Jamath Madrasa in his last stage of learning the teachings, he started to find fault with the teachings of that Madrasa against his masters or Usthadh.

He used to debate with them and tried to divert the mindset of other students. However due to his strange attitude and opposing the teachings, they expelled him from Jamiathul Falah Madrasa.

After he left that madrasa, he started his own teachings and preached to the youngsters in his village. His preaching are against the Tabliq and Hubhu also known as tariqa teachings. His talents and fluency in Arabic attracted the youngsters.

He was promoting tawhid (oneness in God) but due to his extreme view beyond tawhid groups such as Sri Lanka Tawhid Jamath ( SLTJ) and Indian Tawhid Jamath. He and other colleagues started a new group known as National Tawhid Jamath and set up another office in Ethala.

His new group attracted the villagers and his followers or members of the group decided to build a mosque for them. They collected money and bought a land. It was started as a wooden hut but later it was built properly ( at that time Zahran stationed outside Sri Lanka) and now it is known as Tharul Athar Athaviya at New Kattankudy.

Three years ago he had an open debate with a local named Dr Ashraff who was attached with Al-Azhar University in Egypt. This meeting took place happened at the Abdur Rauf Mosque at Aliyaar junction. It started at 3 pm but ended at 1 am. Zahran Hashim won the debate in front of a considerable amount of crowd inside that village. Zahran was very popular for his speaking style that drew the crowds.

There is a Taqiya ( denial of religious belief and practice in the face of persecution) mosque known as Baduriya Mosque in Kattankudy for Tariqa (A spiritual path according to Sufism) led by Abdur Rauf Misbahi. Their methods was heavily attacked by Zahran Hashim.

About 3 years ago he purposely had a stage meeting right in front of that Baduriya Mosque. He expected that the followers of that mosque will attack them and he brought swords and clubs which was hidden on stage prior to the meeting. As expected a clash started and he fought with people and injured a few people. CCTV evidence proved that he was prepared to cause the damage.

Affected villagers lodged a police report complaint against him at the Kathankudy Police station and police started to search for him but he was on the run. His parents were taken a few times by the police to get the information about Zahran’s whereabouts. This happened three years ago and he was 39 years old.

Villagers believed that he fled to Maldives at that time and never returned. He was operating from there through social media and wrote news about ISIS operation in Syria and other parts of the world in Tamil language. He also disseminated his video recorded talks through the social media.

The photos which are currently circulating in news media are old photos of him, according to the villagers. They have no proper confirmation that he fled to Maldives but that was the talk in the village. There is no smoke without fire!

According to the information I gathered, his story is well known in the region of Kathankudy and his interest on extremism is also well known fact. Since he has openly promoted his video speech and news article related to extremism through social media it is obvious that our intelligence is well aware of his moves and activities.

Now it is the responsibility of the law enforcement to answer why he was able to do such atrocities by blindfolding the intelligence units. Were they helpless to track him down?

The writer was a close friend of Zahran

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