Sri Lankan bombings – on the alleged ringleader

The alleged ringleader of the Sri Lankan bombing of churches and hotels, Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Zahran, has a history of differences with his school and various mosques, including a mosque he set up himself.

Reuters – ‘Black sheep’: The mastermind of Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday bombs

Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Zahran was 12 years old when he began his studies at the Jamiathul Falah Arabic College. He was a nobody, with no claim to scholarship other than ambition.

The boy surprised the school with his sharp mind. For three years, Zahran practiced memorizing the Koran. Next came his studies in Islamic law. But the more he learned, the more Zahran argued that his teachers were too liberal in their reading of the holy book.

“He was against our teaching and the way we interpreted the Koran – he wanted his radical Islam,” said Aliyar. “So we kicked him out.”

Zahran’s path from provincial troublemaker to alleged jihadist mastermind was marked by years of missed or ignored signals that the man with a thick beard and paunch was dangerous.

His increasingly militant brand of Islam was allowed to grow inside a marginalized minority community – barely 10 percent of the country’s roughly 20 million people are Muslim – against a backdrop of a dysfunctional developing nation.

The precise relationship between Zahran and Islamic State is not yet known. An official with India’s security services, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that during a raid on a suspected Islamic State cell by the National Investigation Agency earlier this year officers found copies of Zahran’s videos.

Zahran joined a mosque in 2006, the Dharul Athar, and gained a place on its management committee. But within three years they’d had a falling out.

“He wanted to speak more independently, without taking advice from elders,” said the mosque’s imam, or spiritual leader, M.T.M. Fawaz. Also, the young man was more conservative, Fawaz said, objecting, for instance, to women wearing bangles or earrings.

Mohamed Yusuf Mohamed Thaufeek, a friend who met Zahran at school and later became an adherent of his, said the problems revolved around Zahran’s habit of misquoting Islamic scriptures.

The mosque’s committee banned him from preaching for three months in 2009. Zahran stormed off.

Despite being “a bit rough-edged”, Zahran was a skilled speaker and others his age were drawn to his speeches and Koranic lessons, said Thaufeek. He traveled the countryside at times, giving his version of religious instruction as he went.

Also, Zahran had found a popular target: the town’s Sufi population, who practice a form of Islam often described a mystical, but which to conservatives is heresy.

Tensions in the area went back some years. In 2004, there was a grenade attack on a Sufi mosque and in 2006 several homes of Sufis were set afire. Announcements boomed from surrounding mosques at the time calling for a Sufi spiritual leader to be killed, said Sahlan Khalil Rahman, secretary of a trust that oversees a group of Sufi mosques.

He blamed followers of the fundamentalist Wahhabi strain of Islam that some locals say became more popular after funding from Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Wahhabism, flowed to mosques in Kattankudy.

It was, Rahman said, an effort “to convert Sufis into Wahhabis through this terrorism”. Rahman handed over a photograph album showing charred homes, bullet holes sprayed across an office wall and a shrine’s casket upended.

It was an ideal backdrop for Zahran’s bellicose delivery and apparent sense of religious destiny.

In 2012, Zahran started a mosque of his own. The Sufis were alarmed and, Rahman said, passed on complaints to both local law enforcement and eventually national government offices. No action was taken.

The then-officer in charge of Kattankudy police, Ariyabandhu Wedagedara, said in a telephone interview that he couldn’t arrest people simply because of theological differences.

This is a problem we are trying to address in New Zealand now – where does ‘free specch’ cross the line into dangerous or inciteful speech.

Zahran found another megaphone: the internet. His Facebook page was taken down after the bombings, but Muslims in the area said his video clips had previously achieved notoriety.

His speeches went from denouncing Sufis to “kafirs”, or non-believers, in general.

In 2017, Zahran’s confrontations boiled over. At a rally near a Sufi community, his followers came wielding swords. At least one man was hacked and hospitalized. The police arrested several people connected to Zahran, including his father and one of his brothers. Zahran slipped away from public view.

That December, the mosque Zahran founded released a public notice disowning him. Thaufeek, his friend from school, is now the head. He counted the places that Zahran had been driven away from – his school, the Dharul Athar mosque and then, “we ourselves kicked him out, which would have been hard for him to take”.

Until now his reported conflict was within the Muslim community in Sri Lanka.

The next year, a group of Buddha statues was vandalized in the town of Mawanella, about five hours drive from Kattankudy. There, in the lush mountains of Sri Lanka’s interior, Zahran had taken up temporary residence.

“He was preaching to kill people,” said A.G.M. Anees, who has served as an imam at a small mosque in the area for a decade. “This is not Islam, this is violence.”

Zahran went into hiding once more.

What he did from there is still under investigation.

Reuters – Sri Lanka bans groups suspected to be behind attacks; ringleader’s relatives wounded

Sri Lanka’s president on Saturday outlawed two Islamist groups suspected to be behind the suicide bombings on churches and hotels while the wife and child of the suspected ringleader were wounded during a military raid in safe house, his family and police said.

The National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim were banned under his emergency powers, President Maithripala Sirisena said in a statement, nearly a week after the Easter Sunday attacks that killed more than 250 people.

Police believe the suspected mastermind of the bombings, Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Zahran, led either the NTJ or a splinter group. Less is known about Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim, whose members are also believed to have played a role in the bombings.

A gunbattle erupted on Friday evening during a raid on a safe house in Sainthamaruthu in Ampara district on the island’s east coast, killing at least 15 people including three people with suicide vests and six children, a military spokesman said.

The wounded included the wife and a daughter of Zahran, his family said.

The bombings that Zahran is alleged to have been involved with targeted both churches (attended by Christians on Easter Sunday) and hotels. The victims and intended victims in the hotel bombings could have been associated with a variety of religions, and some may not have been religious.

The motives for the attacks have not been made known publicly. Obviously Christians were a target, but more general targets may have been aimed at a wider agenda – 70% of Sri Lankans are Buddhist.

Muslim attacks on other religions would also cause problems within the Islamic population, some at least of which had conflicted with Zahran over his radical ideas and ‘misinterpretation’ of religions scriptures.

No group benefits from terrorist attacks. Apart from the death and destruction they inflict they cause problems for just about any group associated with the attacks in any way, or perceived to be associated.


More updates from Gezza: https://yournz.org/2019/04/28/world-view-sunday-48/#comment-364874

 

 

 

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68 Comments

  1. Trevors_Elbow

     /  28th April 2019

    oh look… Saudi Arabia funding…. “He blamed followers of the fundamentalist Wahhabi strain of Islam that some locals say became more popular after funding from Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Wahhabism, flowed to mosques in Kattankudy.”

    There is no surprise there – Wahabbhi theology is fundamentalist, hard line and very well funded as the state religion of the Saudi ruling family, who are the Saudi Arabian State.

    And who funds the building of mosques in NZ and who funds the salaries of Imams preaching in those mosques? These are questions NZers need to ask themselves and then ask themselves should we allow that to continue, given extreme Salafist theology (and its related strain of Islam, Wahhabism) is so intolerant of any other religious or even political viewpoints…

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  28th April 2019

      Bloody “Holy Books” – medieval drivel about the same bronze age age non-existent God as the Israelites !

      How can billions of people still allow these primitive notion of ancient people’s hidden gods still have such a lock on the minds of people who are rational & naturally skeptical of something fishy in nearly every other aspect of their dsily lives but makes them blind to the obvious in this case?

      There are whole industries and organisations of clerics who’ve been selling this crap to needy people for centuries.

      The questions NZers need to ask themselves are how on earth this can even be happening in the 21st Century, just because billions of otherwise intelligent but somehow psycologically needy or vulnerable people still believe in these superstitious myths? And why they aren’t waking up to the reality of where it’s led to, & doing more to speak out & challenge them all?

      You’re gonna get shit thrown at you from all of them, but that’s easier to bat away than bullets or bombs.

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  28th April 2019

        “You’re gonna get shit thrown at you from all of them, but that’s easier to bat away than bullets or bombs.”

        Go on then, off to an Islamic country and peach your atheism. Let us know how it goes.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  28th April 2019

          Wtf’s wrong with you, Pinky? I’d never go near a bloody Islamic country ! Why don’t you effing pop on over to Colombo and tell everyone there’s no harm in religion?

          The pushback from normal. skeptical, intelligent people against these 3 primitive religions needs to start in countries where there is freedom of speech and the hope of being able to make young people think for themselves and resist the psychological conditioning that has made others suspend their rational thought processes.

          Reply
          • Pink David

             /  28th April 2019

            “Wtf’s wrong with you, Pinky? I’d never go near a bloody Islamic country ! Why don’t you effing pop on over to Colombo and tell everyone there’s no harm in religion?”

            I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Islamic countries. Both living, and in the military. I quite aware of the harm thanks.

            “The pushback from normal. skeptical, intelligent people against these 3 primitive religions needs to start in countries where there is freedom of speech and the hope of being able to make young people think for themselves and resist the psychological conditioning that has made others suspend their rational thought processes.”

            This isn’t going to work out the way you would like.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              How’s your doing nothing about talking about the lack of believability of these 3 religions working out?

              And what exactly do you mean this isn’t going to work out the way I’d like? Just leaving them all to continue prosletysing gullible followers already isn’t working out the way anybody likes either !

              Is it working out the way you like?

            • Pink David

               /  28th April 2019

              “Just leaving them all to continue prosletysing gullible followers already isn’t working out the way anybody likes either !”

              I struggle to see you actions as anything other than simply another form of proselyting.

              “Is it working out the way you like?”

              Well, I have a view on how this should be handled. You would and the majority would find that morally unacceptable.

              In general, I subscribe the concept that the future is fucked, and it;s going to be awesome. It really is a much healthier way to live.

            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              I struggle to see you actions as anything other than simply another form of proselyting.

              Absolutely, I am. I think more & more atheists who are humanists (see below) ought to be proselytising against the centuries of pervasive, insidious, mind manipulation that makes millions of people still believe in these 3 primitive gods & the ancient unbelievable patchworks of centuries of reworked scriptures that are used to fool them into believing other people should think for them & that they are incapable of living in peace and harmony with others without needing them.

              Like I said, you can expect to get shit thrown at you for pointing out the obvious. From death threats from Islamic fanatics to Judaists yelling “anti-semitism!” to Destiny bikie gangs turning up to “peacefully” harass & intimidate you. And being slagged off for “hate speech” from pulpits & msm around the country.

              That’s probably why more rational atheists & humans don’t do it. They’re too damn scared to.

              From what you just said, you seem to embrace a nihilistic view of an apocalytic future with an obvious joy that many might consider an indication of a posdible mental illness?

            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              *possible

            • Pink David

               /  28th April 2019

              “From what you just said, you seem to embrace a nihilistic view of an apocalytic future with an obvious joy that many might consider an indication of a posdible mental illness?”

              I most certainly am not a nihilist, nor do I believe there is an apocalyptical future. The mental illness bit, well, that’s certain. I’m far too optimistic to be classified as sane.

            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              Fair enuf. I’d just kike you to think about how optimistic you’d be if one of your loved ones was inside one of those hotels in Colombo, or in the Mosques at Christchurch, because our not being touched & having our hearts ripped out by what believing in these fictional gods is doing all around the world.

              I don’t want to attack them. I’m a believer in humanism, like most modern day agnostics and atheists. I want to be one of those to help try & persuade them or at least their children to look hard at what they believe and why, & the history of their religion’s holy books, & maybe one day join the rest of decent humanity who haven’t turned over their minds to their scriptures and religious texts & leaders for their inspiration & instruction on how to treat others. Like I did.

              If it means being persecuted by them, then I’ll have to do it from behind a user name. Others who who similarly don’t believe in these gods can’t be bothered. They either don’t care becoz it’s not affecting them directly, or they know they’ll cop it for “hate speech”, which isn’t hate speech.

            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              *because our not being touched & having our hearts ripped out by what believing in these fictional gods is doing all around the world makes it all so remote & easy to dismiss as just a few hateful fanatics.

    • Gezza

       /  28th April 2019

      Al Jazeera – this morning:

      Muslim fears
      ISIL provided no evidence to back its claim that it was behind the attacks. If true, it would be one of the worst acts of violence carried out by the armed group outside Iraq and Syria.

      The group released a video on Tuesday showing eight men, all but one with their faces covered, standing under a black ISIL flag and declaring their loyalty to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

      Fears of retaliatory sectarian violence have caused Muslim communities to flee their homes amid bomb scares, lockdowns and security sweeps.

      Despite warnings against it, several mosques held services anyway on Friday. At a mosque in Colombo, police armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles stood guard outside for hundreds of worshippers.

      The Easter attackers are “not Muslims. This is not Islam. This is an animal”, said Akurana Muhandramlage Jamaldeen Mohamed Jayfer, the chairman of the mosque.

      “We don’t have a word [strong enough] to curse them,” he said.

      There were also reports by some Muslims of harassment because of their religion.

      A local television channel showed people on a bus asking a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf to either remove it or leave the bus. She later left the bus. Abdul Azeez Abdul Sattar, 63, an auto-rickshaw driver, said a man in his neighbourhood refused to hire him, telling him, “You are a terrorist; you have a bomb. I won’t take your auto.”

      Foreign warnings
      The United States embassy in Sri Lanka urged its citizens to avoid places of worship over the weekend after authorities reported there could be more attacks targeting religious centres.

      Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith told reporters he had seen a leaked internal security document warning of further attacks on churches, and there would be no Catholic masses on Sunday anywhere on the island.

      Nearly 10,000 soldiers were deployed across the Indian Ocean island state to carry out searches and provide security for religious centres, the military said.

      Authorities have so far focused their investigations on international links to two domestic groups they believe carried out the attacks, NTJ and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim. Both organisations were banned by the government on Saturday.

      Yashwant Kumar Singh, 23, a worker from India, said he wants to go back to his homeland because he fears another attack. “If it only happened on one day, then that wouldn’t have been so difficult, but bombs are going off here every day. That is why there is an atmosphere of fear. We are feeling very scared,” he said.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  28th April 2019

        Al Jazeera:

        Here are the latest updates:

        Sunday, April 28:
        Sri Lankan police raid National Thowheed Jamath HQ
        Armed police launched a search of the headquarters of the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), suspected of being behind the suicide bombings on churches and hotels that killed more than 250 people, a Reuters witness said.

        The raid took place at the NTJ’s base in the eastern town of Kattankudy a day after the group was banned under new emergency laws.

        Police believe that Zahran Hashim, the alleged mastermind of the Easter Sunday attacks, led the group or a splinter faction to mount the attacks in Colombo as well as a church in Batticaloa in the east.

        Father, brothers of bombings mastermind killed: Relative, police
        The father and two brothers of the suspected mastermind of Easter Sunday bombings were killed when security forces stormed their safe house two days ago, police sources and a relative of the suicide bombers have told Reuters news agency.

        Zainee Hashim, Rilwan Hashim and their father Mohamed Hashim, who were seen in a video circulating on social media calling for “all-out war against non believers”, were among 15 killed in a fierce gun battle with the military on the east coast on Friday, four police sources said.

        Niyaz Sharif, brother-in-law of Zahran Hashim, the suspected ringleader of Sunday bombings, told Reuters the video showed Hashim’s two brothers and father.

        Cardinal calls suicide attacks ‘insult to humanity’
        Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic leader has condemned the Easter attacks as “an insult to humanity” as the tense and grief-stricken country marks a week from the suicide attack.

        The Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, held a private mass after cancelling all public services amid fears of a repeat of the bombings that killed 253 people.

        A heavily-guarded vigil was held outside St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo at 8.45am, the moment a bomber struck the church last week, killing dozens of worshippers.
        … … …
        Al Jazeera tv has just said that Sri Lsnkan Catholics have for the first time ever all had to observe Sunday Mass by watching it on television
        2322 hrs

        Reply
  2. Jacqueline

     /  28th April 2019

    “Mr Tamaki’s church is fighting peacefully. Those who ridicule that reveal themselves as against Jesus Christ. Is this your personal choice? I would really like an answer Pete. Then I would be free to make my own clear eyed decisions re my participation here.”
    (yesterday)

    I feel that the above post today, and comments made, warrant a repeat of my question.

    Christianity and Islam are the world’s two main religions. Your comments are non statements. The alleged SL ringleader insisted that all kafirs should be forced to believe in Allah. Political Islam has only one goal – domination. Islam’s scripture teaches this, whatever twists moderates put on it. The twists occur because Allah’s prophet was a liar.

    Why do you downplay the fact that, worldwide, individual Christians form the most persecuted group? Why do you mock Christians as they go about their private and legal business? Are you against Jesus Christ?

    Yesterday’s Christian issue was Mr Tamaki’s group practising a peaceful spiritual protest. Why did you portray that as a potential evil provocation? Did your statement at the end portray that you wish harm to Christians? If you had political clout, would you silence Christians? That group was tiny. Would you wish to silence even one Christian speaking as an individual? How far would your ridicule take you personally? How far could your ridicule take you if you were a member of a ridiculous crowd?

    Mr Tamaki is known for extravagant doctrine. Other Christians are known as fundamentalist. Some are dogmatic, sometimes to the point of cults. At the other end of the spectrum are the apathetics. Somewhere in between are the moderates. True followers of Jesus Christ never practise violence as a means to share the Gospel, whether they are extremist types, apathetic types or moderates. The same cannot be said re Allah worshipers. Likewise, Christian scriptures are open to interpretation but never do believers practise terrorism as their means to achieving a status quo in understanding. The same cannot be said of Allah adherents. Furthermore, those who are most likely to preach moderation and love, the meek women with children, are discouraged from studying Islamic scripture.

    Why are you displaying Islamic sympathy (aka Islamophobia) while also mocking Christians? And this in your own country!

    Islam’s scripture is political. Christian scripture is non political. Do you care what NZ looks like in 500 years time?

    Reply
    • “Mr Tamaki’s church is fighting peacefully. Those who ridicule that reveal themselves as against Jesus Christ. Is this your personal choice? I would really like an answer Pete. Then I would be free to make my own clear eyed decisions re my participation here.”

      I’m commenting here peacefully, yet you side with an act that could easily be provocative and is divisive.

      I think that claims made by Tait and Tamaki deserve ridicule, just as I would deserve ridicule if I claimed that my beliefs were not just superior, but the only beliefs that were valid.

      “Why are you displaying Islamic sympathy (aka Islamophobia) while also mocking Christians?”

      The old ‘if you criticise us you are on our enemy’s side’ trick.

      Isn’t ‘Islamic sympathy’ the opposite of Islamophobia?

      I personally don’t support Islamic beliefs at all, so trying to portray me as an Islamic sympathiser is at best misguided.

      Do you have no sympathy for Muslims who are persecuted simply on account of their faith and beliefs? (That wouldn’t make you an Islamic sympathiser, just someone with an empathy towards persecution no matter what the religion).

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  28th April 2019

      ‘Then I would be free to make my own clear eyed decisions re my participation here.”

      you seem to do that on a daily/weekly basis…spare me!

      Reply
      • Jacqueline Walter, Makarewa, Southland

         /  28th April 2019

        Pete, please read my above message again. There are questions there for you to answer.

        There were two things I came away with from our phone conversation in Nov.
        – you said it was fine with you if I commented about Christianity.
        – you seemed trustworthy re my testimony about church abuse.

        I’m not clear eyed Pete. I’m one Christian, isolated from strongly meaningful Christian fellowship by dipsticks and further abused for it, and perturbed, thru my voluntary participation on YourNZ.

        I never imagined that I would have so much to say. I stopped in Feb, but came back because of March 15.

        Participation on YourNZ is like a continuing of the church abuse. Either you are playing strange games because you cared about my testimony, or you are now struggling spiritually.

        I am now opting out. You have lost my trust. I give you till the end of today to admit that you are Blazer, and whoever else, and to state the reasons why. And to answer my questions above.

        If you cannot do as I humbly request, or assure me I am mistaken, I will take it that, yes, you are against Jesus Christ and that yes, you are actively undermining peaceful Christians in NZ.

        Reply
        • You are mistaken.

          One think I won’t allow here is trying to out the indentities of people. It is important to me that people can comment here using pseudonyms without fear of being pushed or coerced into identifying themselves, or who they may be associated with.

          I will say one thing categorically – I only ever post and comment here under my own name. Any suggestion otherwise is wrong.

          I think that your references to my ‘spirituality’ and claims I’m trying to undermine Christians in New Zealand are plain ridiculous. If you can’t stand any criticism of Christianity or things you believe in then an online forum is not a suitable place for you to take part in.

          You have kept breaking the rules here \despite warnings and explanations. I’m not going to keep allowing that.

          Reply
          • Jacqueline

             /  28th April 2019

            Then kick me off publicly. Show the crowd that you cannot entertain fair engagement re my argument that Mr Tamaki’s group of Christians were peacefully and legally minding their own business and that your ridicule of them crosses the line into hatred. You said that Mr Tait was lucky he could do his thing with nothing more than ridicule. What is the ‘more’?

            You haven’t answered my questions. It is you who is breaking ‘the rules’ of free speech.

            [Deleted repeat accusation. PG]
            It is you who is struggling with criticism, not me.

            Reply
            • Jacqueline

               /  28th April 2019

              [Deleted, I’m not going to keep arguing this when you don’t listen and keep repeating the same things. PG]
              If YourNZ is truly for those who don’t threaten free speech, you could prove it.

              [I have explained how things work here. I think you have had more than a fair go here, but you keep abusing the privilege of speaking here.]

              What did you mean by saying that Mr Tait is lucky he is not subjected to more than ridicule? That is a very political statement, worthy of clarification, especially in today’s social climate.

              I personally have copped a lot of ridicule on your site, re my hope in Jesus. That’s fine, but Kitty said last night that Corky was once banned for hurting her. Yet she repeatedly and bitterly accuses him of falsehood, which he generally ignores. Where is the fairness? Would you please ban Blazer and Maureen.

              [You mean you only want ‘free speech’ to apply to you?]

              Blazer consistently rudely interjects and ridicules, and Maureen has falsely accused me numerous times. It was incredibly hurtful on the back of the sharing of my testimony. There were other abusers too but those are forgotten because they settled down.
              I now have a rewritten testimony, less emo which others may be interested in. It is hope re the Body of Christ. Would you please consider posting it.
              [I won’t rule out considering it but won’t guarantee anything. I need to consider the whole community here, and also legal implications and risks.]

        • Blazer

           /  28th April 2019

          ‘I give you till the end of today to admit that you are Blazer,’…otherwise the canary…get’s it!!😁😆😂😂👏😂

          Reply
    • Gezza

       /  28th April 2019

      Islam’s scripture is political. Christian scripture is non political. Do you care what NZ looks like in 500 years time?

      Christian scripture, like Jewish scripture, is highly political! It has been for 2 millenia. There’s no difference in how they developed from exactly the same source & methods with the same level of believable evidence for the existence of their Gods, Jaqueline. None.

      Reply
      • Not true. Christianity began as a minority sect and the bible/canon was completed/closed while christian were being persecuted and powerless. The bible never describes or envisions a Christian state. Instead the bible sees christians a minority group called to live out the faith in an unsympathetic political setting.

        The quran to the contrary was finalised when Islam was in the political ascendancy and was an established state religion. For that reason it sees itself as foundation of the state and sets the rules for the state. For that reason there have always been questions about political Islam and whether Islam can live in harmony under a secular political system.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  28th April 2019

          The Bible & Christians envisage & proselyse for a world full of Christians. Early Christians were persecuted as subversives and enemies of the existing order, including divine right-like emperors of Rome who demanded obedience to no other than them, until Constantine was converted & made it the official religion of his empire.

          Wherever they went, repressing & colonising, Christian nations were followed up by Christian missionaries who were rapidly embedded into the settler & colonial government & local communities & set out converting the heathens, who were susceptible because of the apparent power reflected in their defeats & colonisations.

          All that has happened since the Enlightenment is that Christianity has become more mystical & fairy-tale-jesus-like because science & knowledge has rendered great chunks of the Bible obviously nonsense, & the apologetics have become much more metaphysical, metaphorical, & philosophical to divert away from that – because it doesn’t stack up otherwise with rational educated people – who are drifting away from it.

          Your first paragraph was an embarrassment to read for its naivety. While I have no argument whatsoever with your 2nd, the problem with Islam is that is still fundamentally too much like bad old days when Christianity’s powerful clerics had a stranglehold on many governments, and if you want to counter it you need to point out what a load of tosh it is, & to do that you also have to dig into Christianity & the Bible & how they actually arose (not your children’s book variation) & point out that they are too.

          It’s sad. Most believers are good people, just open to years of manipulation of their minds, hopes & fears & centuries of refinement in how to do that, by people who want to believe it, & genuinely do. Ok, Maybe there are a few who really don’t, but they see how easy it is to manipulate people by claiming to. I suspect Trump comes into that category. His behaviour’s completely & urtterly inconsistent with Christianity.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  28th April 2019

            *proselytise – line 1, soz

            Reply
          • “Your first paragraph was an embarrassment to read for its naivety.”

            Well Pastor Gezza you will know doubt quote me the passage from the New Testament that demands the head of the state to submit faithfully to its rule.

            But don’t look too hard because it ain’t there. That doesn’t mean Christians haven’t demanded the head of state submit to the bible, they have. What it does mean is that you can have a perfectly consistent christian theology that doesn’t demand it.

            For Islam this is a bigger problem as Islam always sees itself as the rightful state religion with a role to play in national politics. That’s why Iran is ruled by a council of religious teachers, where’s in merry England (a christian nation once upon a time) good old King Henry viii told the pope to bugger off and that he would appoint the Arch-bishop of Canterbury.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              I am not a pastor, nor a rabbi, nor an Imam, Your Reverence.

              But I do like history & I have a rational, skeptical approach to these religions, one of which I was a former sufferer of until I saw the light.

              You can have any theology you like but these three ideologies are causing people to kill & be killed in the 21st Century & they are fictional.

              This is is completely unnecessary. Which one do you believe exists, & why?

            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              Which one of their gods do you believe exists, & why?

            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              And here’s a few proclaiming supreme authority over the world

              1 Timothy 6:14-15
              14Keep this commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which God will bring about in His own time— He who is blessed and the only Sovereign

              Revelation 1:5
              4John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from Him who is and was and is to come, and from the seven Spirits before His throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithfulwitness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him wholoves us and has released us from our sinsby His blood, 6who has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and power forever and ever! Amen.…

              Revelation 17:14
              “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”

              Revelation 19:16
              And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

              Revelation 19:11-16
              And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

              Maybe have a good nunt around in ya Bible, arty, ypu might find a few more, – & you’re skipping all the Old Testament, forgetting that Jesus is still Jaweh. Have a hunt around in that.

            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              Sorry about the typos in my text. I’m not responsible for the weird stuff in that other book. All I’m trying to do is point it out.

            • Sorry for the delay in replying. I read the texts you supplied but couldn’t agree to your interpretation. Yes christian claim that Christ is sovereign but didn’t claim the church was.

              In Islam the mosque and the religious councils are expected to be consulted on political affairs. That’s diff between the two.

            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              @ arty

              There’s no practical diff between the two in their claim that Jaweh^3 & Allah are sovereign over man spoke to man & are Master of the present & future Universe.

              We still have a prayer to Almighty God in Parlliament that I never bothered about before but that I now find deeply offensive.

              You haven’t answered my question which of these Gods do you believe exists, & why?

            • “There’s no practical diff between the two in their claim that Jaweh^3 & Allah are sovereign over man spoke to man & are Master of the present & future Universe.”

              But there is a practical difference as to how each group believes (or often believes) that sovereignty can be manifest on earth.

              As to which I believe in, I’ll let you know when I work it out 🙂

            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              Well, if it helps you work up the courage to choose –
              1. Allah is the least complex
              2. He’s got endlessly more beneficence & mercy & wisfom & greatness & other fantastic qualities set out constantly in the Quran
              3. His messenger didn’t have to use magic, so he’s easier to believe than Jesus
              4. His paradise is better than the other two (especially for a jihadi & a devout adherent)
              5. You can get up to four Missuses if you can afford them. You needn’t worry about housework.
              6. They can’t backtalk you or if they do, you can discipline them.
              7. You’re the boss at home.

              Get back to me as soon as you can, because I’ll be asking you again.

            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              Just as an afterthought, arty, if you haven’t read the Bible or the Quran, ever, or from cover to cover for a while, to get a handle on

              Jaweh (Old Testament: Warning contains magic, strange rituals, sex, depravity, & extreme violence, including elimination of humanity by drowning except for a drunk & his family who had to start humanity all over again, & includes murder of innocents & firstborn Egyptian children),

              Jesus, his Son (New Testament, more magic, if you like that sort of thing, says being poor is a virtue, hell, demons, some extreme, graphic violence to John the Baptist & Jesus, but eventually paradise for everyone with his old man if you play your cards right, tho with his track record you might want to think about that – he has killed people in the past for just not understanding him properly) & The Holy Ghost – bit of a strange job with that one but he’ll take you over & guide you if you ask him to

              Allah (basically Jaweh but with a more sucessful prophet, tertitory-wise, around the orginal place he first spoke to Adam & Eve) …

              Wikipedia can probably give you a quick summary of the main characters if you’re not up to trawling through the whole books & making copious notes for later cross checking with theologians & Imams for apparent inconsistencies & scientific errors.

              Hope this helps. I’m told it should be easy if you pray to them but if not, they say hard work always pays off in the end.

              All the best. Good luck with choosing.

        • Gezza

           /  28th April 2019

          Not true. Christianity began as a minority sect and the bible/canon was completed/closed while christian were being persecuted and powerless.

          Islam began as a minority sect and the Quran/canon was commenced while Muhammad & his followers were being persecuted & powerless. It was completed, like Judaisms & Christianity’s, when they had gained power & territory & this could attributed to their God.

          Muhammad was no dummy. He travelled around the Middle East & observed Judaism’s & Xtianity’s power over minds & saw how he could unite the warlike feuding vengeful polytheistic Arab tribes who had threatened him in Mecca by simply Arabising Jaweh.

          Reply
        • harryk

           /  28th April 2019

          Neither the Quran nor Sunnah provide a model for an Islamic State. No State, of course, even existed in 7th cent Arabia. Nor is there anything in the Quran on how to form an Islamic Govt after the prophet’s death, nor a successor. The first Muslims fought a war over this, the Sunni and Shia continue to do so. ‘You know your life’s affairs and I know your religion’ says the Quran, a prescription for the separation of Religion and State for those who so wish interpret it. After Muhammad’s death the elite chose Abu Bakr whereas Shia believe God chose Ali. Ali however attributed his rule to selection by the people and their consent, not God.

          The eminent historian and economist of the early Caliphates Ibn Khaldun wrote, ‘Religion is steward of otherworldy affairs, whereas political laws govern the expediencies of this world,’ and ‘Governance is a public expediency left to the views of the people.’ Sounds a bit like proto Democracy. Khaldun was writing in the 14th century.

          Reply
          • No no no. Muhammad was a religious figure and the unchallengeable leader of the umma. He established a caliphate in which the leader is a religious figure. This still holds today and if a new calif is ever identified all muslims will owe fealty to him. See ISIS for further details.

            Reply
  3. Pink David

     /  28th April 2019

    “The motives for the attacks have not been made known publicly. ”

    Yes, motives are just so hard to see in this case.

    “Obviously Christians were a target, but more general targets may have been aimed at a wider agenda – 70% of Sri Lankans are Buddhist.”

    Christians were the target. Why is it so hard to people such as yourself to say this out loud?

    It took ten seconds for world leaders to condemn the Christchurch attacks as being targeted at Muslims, carried out by a racist white supremacist. Why can’t they bring themselves to say the same for Sri Lanka. They can’t even utter the word ‘Christian’s’.

    Instead they use the completely new phrase, ‘Easter worshippers’.

    Reply
    • Christians were an obvious target, and I’ve said that. Have you missed those bits of the post and jumped to an assumption?

      But it’s not obvious they were the only target. It wasn’t just churches that were targeted. Were the hotels that were bombed Christian only?

      For anyone who knows what Easter is about there’s a fairly obvious connection between ‘Easter worshippers’ and Christian.

      Should media have to comply with some new unwritten ‘Christian phrasing’ requirement?

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  28th April 2019

        “Christians were an obvious target, and I’ve said that. Have you missed those bits of the post and jumped to an assumption?”

        No. It was a telling comment. The prevarication of it was very loud indeed.

        “But it’s not obvious they were the only target. It wasn’t just churches that were targeted. Were the hotels that were bombed Christian only?”

        Well, I guess I have a different understanding of obvious. Do you think the bombers threw the hotels into the plan because the targets were not diverse enough, and they needed to include some other religions so as not to discriminate? Or perhaps they simply targeted the hotels because they were full of westerners and westerners are Christians, and it adds a bit more of international attention?

        “For anyone who knows what Easter is about there’s a fairly obvious connection between ‘Easter worshippers’ and Christian.”

        Right so that is obvious is it? Why the need for the new term? Have you ever heard it before?

        “Should media have to comply with some new unwritten ‘Christian phrasing’ requirement?”

        I am pointing out the stark contrast in phrasing and use of language between the two events. There is a very important message in the differences.

        Reply
        • I’ve already said I don’t know what hotels were also targeted.

          It is terrible that media used a term that some people claim to have not heard of before. perhaps hate speech laws should stop media using phrases that some people hate.

          I think that the ‘Easter worshipper’ thing is a beat up, more claiming to be victims of some sinister plot against Christians.

          “Easter worshipper” may simply have been an allusion to the fact that the bombings didn’t merely target Christians, they targeted them on the holiest day of the year, while celebrating the resurrection. If Obama and Hillary had wanted to minimize the Christian angle to the attack, specifically mentioning Easter is a funny way to do it. They could have omitted Easter entirely and just said “people” or “victims.”

          This is the right-wing counterpart to that bogus attack last week on Ben Shapiro for acknowledging Notre Dame’s significance of “Judeo-Christian heritage,” notes Reason’s Christian Britschgi

          In both cases the objection to anodyne terminology is a proxy for a grand disagreement about how much Christianity should influence western culture going forward. Shapiro’s critics see its influence as largely pernicious, Obama’s and Hillary’s critics see it as largely virtuous. Which is why it’s hard to form a hot take in this case: What do you do if you’re in camp two but wary of picking fights where there’s no evidence of ill intent by camp one? Do you pick that fight to win a point in the grand disagreement or take Erickson’s advice and “Maybe exercise some grace here”? There’s always a new dilemma for culture warriors.

          https://hotair.com/archives/2019/04/22/great-easter-worshipper-controversy/

          Reply
          • Pink David

             /  28th April 2019

            “I think that the ‘Easter worshipper’ thing is a beat up, more claiming to be victims of some sinister plot against Christians.”

            I do not think it is sinister. It is simply reflective of a cultural mindset that cannot cast Christians as victims.

            “It is terrible that media used a term that some people claim to have not heard of before. perhaps hate speech laws should stop media using phrases that some people hate.”

            You are missing a point. It is the contrast in the reactions between the two events. And, yes, hate speech laws will mean terms disliked by interest groups will be banned, that is already in progress around the world.

            Reply
      • Jacqueline

         /  28th April 2019

        Media cannot know what Christian phrasing to use because they do not know.

        The reason it is always ambiguous re Christian persecution is because that occurs against individuals – many individuals, many more than groups of Muslims.

        The bombed churches were Catholic. Catholicism is not Christianity, yet many individual Christians were harmed.

        Christianity is never an institution. Hence, most media cannot know what words to use, nor is it inclined. Individuals do not matter to communists, neither to Humanists.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  28th April 2019

          Individuals do not matter to communists, neither to Humanists.

          Jesus bloody wept, Jacqueline. You haven’t the foggiest blimmin clue what you’re talking about.

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  28th April 2019

          Humanism
          Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism and empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition. The meaning of the term humanism has fluctuated according to the successive intellectual movements which have identified with it.

          The term was coined by theologian Friedrich Niethammer at the beginning of the 19th century to refer to a system of education based on the study of classical literature (“classical humanism”). Generally, however, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of human freedom and progress. It views humans as solely responsible for the promotion and development of individuals and emphasizes a concern for man in relation to the world.

          In modern times, humanist movements are typically non-religious movements aligned with secularism, and today humanism typically refers to a nontheistic life stance centred on human agency and looking to science rather than revelation from a supernatural source to understand the world.

          Secular humanists
          Secular humanism is a comprehensive life stance or world view which embraces human reason, metaphysical naturalism, altruistic morality and distributive justice, and consciously rejects supernatural claims, theistic faith and religiosity, pseudoscience, and superstition. It is sometimes referred to as Humanism (with a capital H and no qualifying adjective).

          Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.

          Religious humanists
          “Religious humanists” are non-superstitious people who nevertheless see ethical humanism as their religion, and who seek to integrate (secular) humanist ethical philosophy with congregational rituals centred on human needs, interests, and abilities. Though practitioners of religious humanism did not officially organise under the name of “humanism” until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, non-theistic religions paired with human-centred ethical philosophy have a long history.

          I’m probably a humanist. It’s a considerable advance on when I was a theist. You can check more out on Wikipedia when you come back down to earth.

          Reply
  4. Patzcuaro

     /  28th April 2019

    Just back from the NRA annual conference but his thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the latest shooting.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  28th April 2019

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  28th April 2019

        You gotta see that to believe it. World’s most competitive arms dealer ever. Period.

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  28th April 2019

          He’s morphing into a demigod.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  28th April 2019

            He’s put on a lot of weight. It might be the cheeseburgers that save the world from his evil empire in the end.

            Reply
    • Pink David

       /  28th April 2019

      “Just back from the NRA annual conference but his thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the latest shooting.”

      That makes perfect sense give what happened at Poway.

      “I also understand from folks on the scene that this shooter was engaged by people in the congregation and those brave people certainly prevented this from being a much worse tragedy,”

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  28th April 2019

        Might as well just post the text:

        On April 27, 2019, a 19-year-old man fired shots inside of the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California, on the last day of the Jewish Passover holiday. One adult woman died and three other people were injured with non-life threatening injuries. The shooter had an AR-style rifle in his possession at the time of his arrest.

        The San Diego Sheriff’s Department identified John T. Earnest (born June 8, 1999), a 19-year-old nursing student from San Diego, California, as the suspect. A user identifying himself as Earnest published an anti-Semitic and racist open letter to 8chan (the place of radicalization for the shooter) that cited the Christchurch mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand and Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania perpetrators Brenton Harrison Tarrant, Robert Bowers and Nazi Party/Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler as inspirations for the Poway shooting.

        The author also attempted to livestream the shooting on Facebook but failed. The author of the open letter specifically blames Jews for the supposed “meticuosly planned genocide of the European race” and other ills. The author of the letter also claimed responsibility for a March 2019 arson attack on a mosque in Escondido, California.

        Reply
  5. NOEL

     /  28th April 2019

    Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Zahran. Wow.. he is different. Hiding in plain sight.
    Self radicalized, has his own mosque and wore the vest himself.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  28th April 2019

      Seems inconceivable the Indians gave Sri Lanka detailed info about the planned Easter atrocities and they did nothing about it. Someone should go to prison for that.

      Reply
      • harryk

         /  28th April 2019

        Alan. Indeed the narrative is not credible. If India had information, so did the US, and it would have been shared as a matter of urgency with Five Eyes partners Aust and NZ. The information should have been released directly to the public, both SL and international, not just to the SL Gov. Not just someone, but a lot of people should go to prison. But they won’t. It’s not just individuals in the SL Govt who should be liable for compensation to victims. And, unless the public demand that intelligence agencies release such information directly to the public in future, nothing will change.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  28th April 2019

          Why are you sure it would have been shared with the US?

          Reply
  6. harryk

     /  28th April 2019

    From the single source of the original intelligence doc I traced Zahran and his photo and informed readers here long before the media. I strongly suggest that the SL narrative of incompetence is not credible. There is a missing factor. Once again I link to this 2006 piece in which Zahran is pictured and in which the origins of the militants is examined. 13 years ago. The militants were Govt allies during the war with the Tigers. It is inconceivable they didn’t have some Govt protection thereafter, and for what it’s worth my guess is they were used as frontline defenders post war to ensure the LTTE couldn’t revive.

    ‘Sections of these fleeing Home Guards styled themselves as Jihad to fight an unusual religious war. The word Jihad in the Islamic lexicon means a holy war waged by Muslims against infidels. However, in this instance, the men linked to the Thawheed group, treated members of their own community, the traditional followers as “infidels” or as they call it “Kafir” (a non-believer of the truth). Thus, a campaign of terror against the traditional followers of different sects, their customs and practices became the order’

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/090816/News/nws_23.html

    Reply
  7. harryk

     /  28th April 2019

    Indian security analyst Brahma Chellaney writes –

    ‘With Western and other states advising against travel to Sri Lanka, reduced tourism receipts will add to that country’s burden of high external interest payments, compounding a problem that has already forced it to cede control of Hambantota port to China.’

    Ardern should show some strategic sense, solidarity, and send NZ police to help SL investigate. The economic and strategic cases for doing so are overwhelming. The UK and Aust already have. Why does she continue to refuse? Is it ideological? Her interpretation of the NZ national interest, as opposed to her personal political interests, seems to be very shallow. Puzzling and disturbing.

    Reply
  8. Gezza

     /  28th April 2019

    They are all needed here. They are now being required to protect mosques, synagogues, & churches, during the month of Ramadan, according to 1news last night. And that’s on top of other normal policing. What can NZ cops do over in SL except get in the way & possibly end up injured if any more bombs go off near them. Jacinda has done her best to express her genuine shock, horror & empathy for the victims of a White Supremacist mass murderer, & conicidentally try & mitigate the possibility of a revenge attack here & get support from Islamic international leaders for NZ’s condemnation of the attacker. That’s enuf.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  28th April 2019

      Also, there were Australian & UK victims of these killers. So of course the Australians & UK want to send police. No Nzers.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  28th April 2019

        Can’t imagine NZ police wanting to get mixed up in the Sri Lankan political shitfight.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  28th April 2019

          Was in the kitchen @ ma’s & heard on 1news at 6 on the tv in her lounge that the police have recovered the arms stolen from the Palmy cop shop. 1 was an illegal semi-auto.

          Reply
        • harryk

           /  29th April 2019

          NZ Police who specialise in forensics will be scratching their eyes out to get there. You send Civpol to UN missions across the world, and war crimes investigators. Great job, career advancement and perks. Your guys will be renewing their passports. If the UN had called for international police to help SL in it’s time of need Ardern would be the first to show her magnificent choppers for the cameras, sh’ed be doing hakas in the airport departure lounge with NZ police and hugging kids.

          As I and others have commented, she’s ticking off leftie boxes to secure a UN job. No UN no Ardern.

          Reply

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