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

 

 

 

Whale Oil inciting anti-Christian/anti-Muslim anger

Whale Oil posts continue to try to drive up anger and intolerance towards Muslims in New Zealand, while trying to claim that Christians are the victims of an unfair lack of sympathy.

After the Christchurch mosque attacks here was an effort made by some, including here on Your NZ, to attack politicians (mainly Jacinda Ardern) and media for what was claimed to be a disparity between reacting to and reporting of one of the only and by far the worst terrorist attacks in new Zealand, compared to one f many attacks in Nigeria in a long running internal war.

From a New Zealand there was little comparison between the two, but that didn’t stop attempts to equate them and to dump on anyone who hadn’t reported them in a similar manner.

Soon after the bombings in Sri Lanka this meme was launched as if it was prepared for. One of the first to attack was nasty UK alt-right activist Katie Hopkins, who slammed Jacinda Ardern for responding differently to an attack in a foreign country to one in the country she is Prime Minister of.

This was supported repeated in social media here. It’s as if they are trying to be some sort of speech police, condemning anyone who doesn’t word their condemnations to their satisfaction. But it also looks like an attempt to paint ‘Christians’ as the victims, and to drive up anger against Islam and by association Muslims.

David Farrar ridiculed the Hopkins effect at Kiwiblog: Defending Jacinda from Katie Hopkins

Jacinda Ardern is not the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. She is the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Why on earth would she do anything in response to an attack in another country, except the normal expressions of sympathy?

I still don’t get how people get so worked up over a display of empathy to the Muslim community in New Zealand. It was genuine and a great idea.

The sensible comparison is would she have done the same if another religious minority was slaughtered in New Zealand, and I am sure the answer would be yes. If 50 Jews had been killed while praying at a synagogue in New Zealand, then Ardern would probably have worn a kippah or yarmulke as a sign of respect and empathy.

There’s so much legitimate stuff to criticise Ardern on, that it drives me crazy that people get worked up on this.

Of course being attacked by Katie Hopkins is akin to being savaged by Chloe of Wainuiomata.

That’s an unfair comparison, more Kiwis will have heard of Chloe.

But as has become the norm at Kiwiblog, comments ran in the other direction, likke this well upticked comment from Simonp:

I think the point is that no Muslim leader would show empathy for any Christian attack in the same way and that Jacinda did. Equally, Jacinda wishes the Muslim community happy Ramadan but fails to wish the New Zealand happy Easter. It comes across as fear and pandering and could embolden extremists. Hopkins was challenging Jacinda to make an equally bold statement in support of Christianity.

Not really. Hopkins was attacking Ardern for showing sympathy and empathy for Muslims in New Zealand, but not naming Christians as victims in Sri Lanka in her first brief official response.  Ardern referred to “bombings there on Easter Sunday”, a fairly obvious Christian reference. She also referred to “an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels”, which seems sensible given the hotel attacks were not obviously targeting one religion over any others.

Nukuleka:

Virtue signalling is virtue signalling and is no sign of genuine grief. It is merely a form of superfluous and superficial egotism. There may indeed be genuine sympathy felt beneath the outward ‘look- at -me’ show, and sincere grief felt – that is for no-one to judge- but there is never a need to wave a flag, or don a hijab in this instance, to let the world know just how sincere and deep your feelings are. Such people deserve mockery.

‘Virue signalling’ is one of those pejoratives that I have difficulty knowing what people actually mean – or if they know what it means. Is Hopkins virtue signalling? She certainly promotes the virtues of Christians and slams the virtues of Muslims, as do a number of commenters at Kiwiblog (some argued against).

While Kiwiblog simmers and seethes beneath the surface in comments threads, Whale Oil also drives a religious divide in posts.

Whale Oil has championed Hopkins for years. They (they now being under the management, guidance  and apparent control of Juana Atkins)  jumped on the Hopkins bashwagon following the Sri Lanka attacks.

‘Whaleoil staff’ posted the first Hopkins tweet as Tweet of the Day on Monday, which haad some predictable responses, including this from ‘Sunshine’:

Christians all over the world are hunted at the moment not because they are Christians, but because they represent western civilisation. Ardern and her ilk want to ‘fundamentally transform’ the west, as Barry Soetoro once said.

That is laden with conspiracy theorising (actually they are not theories, they are dirty memes) – in particular, that it is a clash of civilisations with Christians as the victims.

The following day Atkins posted Things that make me go hmm under ‘SB’ (one of her pseudonyms), where she nitpicked Theresa May tweets on the Christchurch and Sri Lanka attacks, followed by another ridiculous Hopkins quote:

Why does Islam always matter more to Christian leaders?

That doesn’t even make sense to me. It prompted typical (for a tightly controlled forum like Whale Oil) responses, like this from Boondecker:

“Violence against churches and hotels… ” – what an odd thing to say/tweet in the circumstances. There appears to be a very strange but obvious disconnect when you become a political leader. No wonder they’re rated even below car and insurance salesmen in terms of trustworthiness (the mainstream media are the only crowd that’s worse).

“Violence against churches and hotels” is fairly accurate for a brief generalised tweet. ‘Churches’ is synonymous with ‘Christian’:

church
noun
1. a building used for public Christian worship

And several hotels were also bombed.

Yesterday the anger meme was promoted in Growing anger over anti-Christian terror denialism

Anger is growing around the world at the blatant disparity and hypocrisy of the media and political elite in their reactions to terrorism, depending on who the victims are.

Of course no proof is provided that anger is growing anywhere. What this looks like is an attempt to grow anger in New Zealand.

Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism. It shouldn’t matter who the innocent victims are: Muslims in a market in Quetta or in a mosque in Christchurch, or Christians on the streets of Rome or in churches in Sri Lanka. But, as we are seeing after the Easter carnage in Sri Lanka, it matters very much to the media-political elite who the victims are.

Christians are way down on the Victim Totem Pole.

Not at Whale Oil, where they are playing the ‘Christians are victims in a clash of civilisations’ card hard.

As per the standard narrative, no matter who is shredded by terrorists’ bombs, the real victims, as far as the media-political elite are concerned, are always Muslims.

That’s just pathetic nonsense.

But it’s dangerous nonsense. Whale Oil, with Atkins leading the charge now, is trying to drive up anger and division between Muslims and Christians.

Whale Oil has also actively promoted gun rights including the ‘right’ to own military style weapons. The blog attracts people who like firearms, and it attracts people who see Christians as victims, who see ‘Western civilisation’ under threat, and see Islam and Muslims as the threat.

As the 50 Christchurch murders showed, it only takes one person to believe this sort of persistent inflammatory claptrap to escalate things into extreme violence.

Probably all of the posts and most of the comments at Whale Oil would fall short of any hate speech laws – certainly the laws we currently have. But the sum of all the parts, the ongoing inciting posts (often multiple in a day) and the comments in support, looks like a campaign of hate and intolerance and division. It is difficult to legislate against that.

But this sort of campaign of fear mongering and hate should be called out for what it is, and should those who are responsible for it.

Sri Lanka bombings: Christchurch retaliation suggested, ISIS claim responsibility

A politician has told the Sri Lankan Parliament that the bombings there in the weekend were a retaliation for the Christchurch mosque attacks on 15 April, but has given no details.

The Prime Ministers of both Sri Lanka and New Zealand say that this claim is ‘premature’.

ISIS have claimed responsibility for the bombings, but it is not clear to what extent, if any.

RNZ: Easter Sunday bombings were retaliation against New Zealand mosque attack – Minister

A Sri Lanka official says initial investigation shows Easter Sunday bombings were a retaliation against New Zealand mosque attack.

A series of coordinated blasts in churches and hotels hit Sri Lanka on Sunday leaving 321 people dead and 500 injured.

“The initial investigation has revealed that this was in retaliation for the New Zealand mosque attack,” junior minister for defence Ruwan Wijewardene told parliament.

“It was done by National Thawheed Jama’ut along with JMI,” he said, referring to another local group, Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim.

However, the Associated Press said Mr Wijewardene made the statement about retaliation “without providing evidence or explaining where the information came from”.

So it isn’t clear if this is based on information or facts, or if it is just speculation.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “We have seen reports of the statement from the Sri Lankan Minister of state for defence, alleging a link between the the Easter Sunday terrorist attack and the March 15 attack in Christchurch.

“We understand the Sri Lankan investigation into the attack is in its early stages. New Zealand has not yet seen any intelligence upon which such an assessment might be based.

While it was always possible the Sri Lankan bombings could be in some way linked to the Christchurch shootings I doubt that is the whole explanation.

Finding seven people wiling to be suicide bombers, training and equipping them and planning and carrying out a co-ordinated attack would take time, weeks perhaps, but likely months. Christchurch could just be being used as a convenient excuse, with the connection being used to stir up division and fear.

ABC News:  ISIS claims responsibility for Sri Lanka Easter bombings that killed over 300

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a wave of coordinated bombings at churches and high-end hotels across Sri Lanka.

The terrorist organization offered no evidence to support that assertion, which was initially announced in a statement in Arabic published by its Amaq news agency on Tuesday, saying the attackers were “among the fighters of the Islamic State,” according to a translation by SITE Intelligence Group, a company that tracks extremist groups.

ISIS later issued a longer, formal statement identifying the seven suicide bombers who detonated explosive-laden vests at the churches and hotels and a housing complex on Sunday.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe acknowledged the claim during a press conference in the capital, Colombo.

“All that we knew earlier is that there were foreign links and that this could not have been done just locally,” Wickremesinghe said. “There has been training done and a coordination which we [have] not seen earlier.”

According to multiple U.S. sources briefed on the investigation, ISIS is believed to have been involved in the Sri Lanka attacks in a supportive capacity, but it’s not clear to what degree.

There is always a risk of escalation of terrorism. Violent extremists aim to generate as much publicity and provoke as much fear as possible. Terrorism was established as a global threat with the 9-11 attacks in New York in 2001, and the subsequent retaliation by the US in Iraq that began in 2003 but spread to other countries in the Middle East.

Violence begets violence. There will always be a risk of mass shootings, of bombings, and of other atrocities, but the best way to minimise the risks is to fight violence and provocation with peace and dignified defiance, along with vigilant security systems.

We know that ISIS and other violent extremists are intent on provoking bigger, wider conflict. That risks of that must be minimised, which means minimising irrational and over the top reactions.

 

Katie Hopkins (and others) ridiculous attacks on Ardern

There were ridiculous criticisms of and attacks on Jacinda Ardern after the Christchurch mosque attacks, for what she said and what she wore in sympathy, support and solidarity with New Zealand Muslims. She (and the media) were attacked for not giving equal condemnation to an earlier attack inn a long running civil war situation in Nigeria.

This has risen to new levels of absurdity after the suicide bomb attack on hotels and Christian churches in Sri Lanka in the weekend.

One of those leading the over-reaction alt right brigade attacks is Katie Hopkins, from the UK.

There are a number of ridiculous things about that stupidity, particularly considering an unprecedented attack in your own country is quite different for a Prime Minister than an attack somewhere else in the world where there is a history of terrorism.

Ardern did quickly send condolences to Sri Lanka – Prime Minister sends condolences to Sri Lanka:

“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating.

“New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence.’’

She expressed similar sympathy and condemnation in person, this was widely reported by New Zealand media.

NZ Herald reported on Hopkins’ attack: Outspoken British columnist Katie Hopkins tries to roast Jacinda Ardern over Sri Lanka attacks

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is ignoring a swipe by a British columnist over yesterday’s attacks in Sri Lanka which have left hundreds dead.

Katie Hopkins, a columnist and former contestant in the 2007 The Apprentice TV show, has hit out at Ardern, saying she now expects her to be “dressed as the pope, ringing church bells across #NZ and praying in Latin in Parliament by noon”.

But many Kiwis have come to her defence with one replying, “whatever the Prime Minister does will be immeasurably more welcome and useful than anything you have ever said,” while another tweeted “if this dreadful event had happened in NZ … then our PM would be leading the nation through its grieving and empathising with the victims’ families.”

Hopkins sprayed her bile around the UK too.

Is Hopkins trying to dictate what Prime Ministers should say in reaction to international atrocities? I doubt that’s her intention, it looks more like she is trying to drive up intolerance and hate of Muslims, by playing a ‘poor me’ Christian card.

Hopkins hasn’t been alone in this sort of stupidity. from comments on a Kiwiblog post Christians slaughtered in Sri Lanka yesterday:

sooty:

Cindy will be covering her ears and singing,
LA, LA, LA LAA!

Engelbert Humperdink:

So, Cindy’s gonna wear a big cross to show solidarity, and post armed guards on the churches in NZ? Yeah, right.

All the world’s majority Muslim country leaders gonna speak out against this attack on Christians? Yeah, right.

Will there be indifference shown to the deceased and injured – even though they are people of color – by leftists because, after all, it’s ‘just something some people did’ and ‘it’s part and parcel of living in a big city’? Yes, there will be, as per Ilhan Omar and Sadiq Khan.

Ultima:

Obviously Christianity is the cause of of this terrorist act, Cindy should urge the Sri Lankan govt to ban Christianity and semi-Christianity.

Commenters at Kiwiblog and Whale Oil childishly call Ardern Cindy because (I think) she said she didn’t like being called that.

Luke Piewalker:

Of course we will see a tearful handwringing Ardern holding a cross … nah didn’t think so

vand:

Will this be said?
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister told Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern the best help she could provide in the wake of the Sri lanka attacks would be sympathy and love for Christian communities.

burt:

Christian prayers on national radio it will be then with the platitudes of ‘They are us’.

I posted Ardern’s statement to show that she had condemned the attacks, and that was downticked by 22 people (as of now).

Rachael Memberry responded:

i don’t agree, we have had CHCH shoved in our face for the last month, since Jacinda has so much political capital, especially now that she hasn’t expended any for the CGT she, as the leader that we are told that she is, should be contacting members of the Muslim community to decry terrorist attacks, not just when they are the victims of them but when they are the perpetrators also.

The Muslim community in New Zealand are not the perpetrators.

Engelbert Humperdink:

As a globalist shouldn’t she be expecting the practice of what she preaches locally to take place everywhere? Shouldn’t she now be calling for the suppression of a group of brown supremacists, and the banning of their manifesto, their Koran? if you think that’s absurd, I agree with you it’s a reach, but is not absurd. Absurd is what she did; absurd is where she set the bar. Of course all of her apologists don’t expected to be judged by the standards she set. That’s why she has to keep getting tongue-bathed by the New Zealand media (one example: recent social media resurrections, which I suppose is fitting for Easter time) to kKeep her popularity high enough / stay in office.

burt:

Are there different degrees of concern with regard to mass murder?

Obviously there are differences depending on what occurred and where it occurred. I’m fairly sure that burt and and others at Kiwiblog don’t show equal concern for all attacks around the world – they tend to ignore other attacks on Muslims.

It was worse at Whale Oil, with Hopkins tweet put up as a post (by the gutlessly anonymous ‘Whaleoil staff’) – Tweet of the day. This fed some predictable responses.

ibdkiwi:

But wait…hold the presses, this is breaking news: someone just told me the Prime Minister is donating $300M to Sri-Lanka to buy-back all the bombs, well; not all of them, just the assault-bombs, ‘so this sort of thing can never happen again’. Can anyone confirm if this story is true?

Smoke & Mirrors:

Has she mentioned ‘Christians’ yet?

BlokeinAuckland:

Nope. Or that it was muslims as perpetrators.

If Only:

Excellent comment but Katie forgets its still an Easter Holiday in NZ and our PM never works during the holidays – she is a member of a union after all. Perhaps we shall see her play dress up and ring bells tomorrow.

Nutta:

To be fair, JA put out comment condemning the terrorist act yesterday, not long after the event. No, I’m not even remotely a cheerleader.

Dave:

Not really, more likely her office put out a Press Release yesterday

I saw Ardern personally condemning the attacks on TV news. A lot of this is petty uninformed dissing. And it went on.

At least ‘SB’ put her pseudonym initials to another post feeding a string of more nonsense – Facebook comment of the day. The most recent comment:

Surprisingly, Jacinda hasn’t offered to pay for all the funeral expenses!

Sadly this is the stupid level of much of the discussion on terrorist atrocities, deliberately stoked by Katie Hopkins.

Terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka – more than 200 killed

The death toll in the multiple bomb attacks against Christian targets in Sri Lanka is now over 200.

Already prominent on Twitter are complaints that because Christians were the target the media has been ‘silent’.

Obviously CNN haven’t been silent. It was the lead on 1 News last night (not long after the attacks occurred) –

– and leading ‘Today’s Top Stories’:

Lead news on other New Zealand media sites:

RNZ:

Stuff:

NZ Herald:

Only Newshub has a more prominent story – promoting their own programme about ‘stars’ that hardly anyone has heard of dancing, but they also cover the Sri Lankan attacks:

Some useful information here:

I’m so shook about what is happening in Sri Lanka, I’m not sure what to do. I’ve just been sitting here staring at Twitter like a helpless goof. I thought I would provide just a snapshot of the country for people unfamiliar:

Sri Lanka is massively ethno-religiously complex and a lot of reporting is likely to get it wrong.

Of the 20-22 million people in Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese comprise the majority ethnic group, with 74%. They are predominately Buddhist and speak Sinhala.

The Tamil community in Sri Lanka is made up of Sri Lankan Tamils (12.6 percent) and Indian Tamils (5.6 percent), most of whom are Hindu, but with a significant number of Christians (mostly Catholic). They speak Tamil.

The Muslims of Sri Lanka make up about 7 percent of the population. They speak Tamil, but don’t see themselves as ETHNICALLY Tamil. This has put the community in the crosshairs of many militant groups on all sides.

There have been rumours of Muslims in the country being radicalized and groups being funded by KSA/gulf states since at least the early 90s (including the group that is being linked to this attack). And it has been used as an excuse to preemptively attack Muslim communities

With this attack, the target selection doesn’t seem to point to Buddhist extremists (not sure what they would get out of killing tourists).

I would also be very careful using certain media sources out of India, random Facebook pages, and even some Sri Lankan media outlets and government officials as the sole source of info.

 

Trent Boult’s amazing 15 balls

Test cricket is often quite slow moving (that’s part of it’s appeal for some of us).

The second test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, starting on boxing day, had a bit more action than usual, with New Zealand losing wickets steadily and getting to a paltry total of 178.

Sri Lanka batting was similar on the second day – with four wickets falling for just 51 runs. There was a bit of a recovery, until Trent Boult’s amazing spell. Until then Boult had bowled well enough but without success. But he suddenly got things working for him and got a wicket, and another. Both caught by Southee.

Then Boult cleaned up the remaining four Sri Lankan batsmen LBW, all going for ducks.

Cricinfo: Six wickets, four runs, 15 balls: when Boult wrecked Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s middle order was going about it patiently at 94 for 4 in reply to New Zealand’s first-innings score of 178 in Christchurch, when Trent Boult decided to take matters into his hands. In a phenomenal burst of world-class swing bowling, he snaffled up the rest of the Sri Lankan wickets for just four runs, sending them to 104 all out, a total unthinkable just minutes ago. Here’s how it unfolded.

36.4 Boult to Silva, OUT, the suckerball has arrived and Roshen bites the bait. Throws his hands at a full delivery away from the body, gets a thick edge and third slip takes an absolute dolly. Short-short-full and boom! Southee went with the reverse cup but this one dipped on him, it was too late to take it the conventional style, and in trying to do that he was thrown a little off balance, but did well to hold on as he dropped his knees.

ARS Silva c Southee b Boult 21 (63b 3×4 0x6) SR: 33.33

36.5 Boult to Dickwella, FOUR runs, chipped over the infield, keeps gathering pace as it races to the midwicket fence. Gift of a delivery first up

36.6 Boult to Dickwella, no run, shoulders arms to a length ball outside off

38.1 Boult to Dickwella, OUT, catch of the tour, and it’s Southee again! Sensational stuff. Dickwella sucked into the drive by a full delivery that tails away late, he’s squared up, feet rooted to the crease as he goes for a loose drive, gets a thick edge that flies fast, so fast that Southee has just about enough time to throw his right hands out on a full stretch dive in front of second slip and this sticks. Wow, magnificent. How quickly the Test has turned. Suddenly, this score by New Zealand seems much bigger than it looked last night.

N Dickwella c Southee b Boult 4 (3b 1×4 0x6) SR: 133.33

38.2 Boult to Perera, no run, full on off, defended

38.3 Boult to Perera, no run, tails away from off stump, squeezed into the covers.

38.4 Boult to Perera, no run, shortens his length, slants this across, left alone

38.5 Boult to Perera, OUT, they’re committing hara-kiri here, complete misjudgment in length and angle. Dilruwan shoulders arms to a full delivery on middle, this one didn’t angle away, but just held its line to thud into the pad. Given out on the field and Dilruwan reviews. Can only be saved if this was going over, but ball tracking shows three reds

MDK Perera lbw b Boult 0 (4b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

38.6 Boult to Lakmal, OUT, no, he can’t. This is full, fast, furious and swinging in late to beat Lakmal’s forward push by hitting him right on the toe. As an umpire, you can’t ask for an easier decision to make.

RAS Lakmal lbw b Boult 0 (1b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

Boult, on a hat-trick. Three slips and a gully. Chameera to face his first ball

40.1 Boult to Chameera, no run, and he defends it, was a touch fuller outside off, blocked on the front foot

40.2 Boult to Chameera, OUT, and he gets him now, that’s a five-wicket haul for Boult, length ball, gets it shape back this time to rap the batsman on the front pad, up goes the finger and Sri Lanka are suddenly nine down

PVD Chameera lbw b Boult 0 (2b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

40.3 Boult to Kumara, no run, fuller in the corridor, pushes away from the body and gets beaten

40.4 Boult to Kumara, no run, fuller length around off, defended from the crease

40.5 Boult to Kumara, no run, fuller in the channel but too away to get an edge, the batsman though fished outside

40.6 Boult to Kumara, OUT, make that six! Full and straight on the stumps, and Kumara didn’t offer a shot, dead out. However, he has gone for the review but the New Zealand fielders are actually walking off. Pitched around middle and leg and straightened a bit as the batsman moved across, was hitting middle and leg. That’s six wickets for four runs in 15 balls for Boult

CBRLS Kumara lbw b Boult 0 (4b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

The scoreboard:

Boult set a world test record taking 5 wickets in 11 balls.

The test is a long way from over but this devastating spell of bowling put New Zealand into a good position with a handy first innings lead, and then the Black Caps batsmen turned that into a strong position with a 305 run lead, only two wickets down in their second innings (finishing the day on 231 for 2).

So  good day for New Zealand, but an incredible day for Boult.

Sri Lankan visa scam revealed

Something to add to the immigration debate.

RNZ: Sri Lankan visa scam revealed, but no review of past applications

Immigration officials are investigating a major scam involving student visa applications from Sri Lanka.

The New Zealand immigration office in Mumbai that handles Sri Lankan applications received a tip off at the start of the year.

Inquiries led officials to conclude a Sri Lankan based company was fraudulently creating documentation to help students meet the criteria of having money in the bank.

Official briefings to Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway show investigations are under way into the potential involvement of education agents in Sri Lanka, the finance company, whose name is redacted in the papers, and students as a result of these revelations.

There were 88 pending applications when the fraud was discovered and after further checks were done 83 were declined. The tip-off was in January.

The National Party wants to know why hundreds of past visas that have been granted to Sri Lankan students won’t be reviewed.

Former Immigration Minister and National Party spokesperson Michael Woodhouse asked Mr Lees-Galloway whether he would look at past years to make sure the visas approved were legitimate.

Mr Lees-Galloway said that after scrutinising, then rejecting, most of the 88 applications the focus would now be on any future signs of fraud.

“To identify applications with similar characteristics already decided by INZ [Immigration New Zealand] would require substantial collation which I do not believe is in the public interest.”

According to Mr Woodhouse up to half of Sri Lankan applicants could have used the company “fraudulently”, and said that should be enough for officials to find how widespread any fraud was.

Black Caps firing on all cylinders

The Black Caps had a comprehensive victory against Sri Lanka in th eopening game of the Crickety World Cup.

One good aspect of the win was how all players contributed.

The Black Caps batted first and both started and finished well with opener Brendon McCullum and middle order slammer Corey Anderson top scoring with 65 and 75 respectively.

All others who batted got into double figures. The lowest score from Taylor was 14, with the other batsmen getting 49, 57, 29 and 29 not out.

The honours were also shared by the bowlers, with the top five all getting two wickets.

So it was a strong and well balanced team performance from the Black Caps.

Scorecard at CricInfo.

In the meantime Australia hammered England in Melbourne. There’s a long way to go uintil the business end of the tournament.

Serious questions for Russel Norman

Green MP Jan Logie has got the attention she may have been seeking on a “fact-finding” Sri Lanka trip – Green MP has passport seized in Sri Lanka

Ms Logie and Ms Rhiannon have been in Sri Lanka trying to find out about alleged human rights abuses.

Green MP Jan Logie is on her way home to New Zealand after being detained during a trip to Sri Lanka.

Ms Logie and Australian Green Senator Lee Rhiannon were in Sri Lanka on a fact-finding trip ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) when their passports were seized.

The trip was scheduled to end on Sunday but at a meeting ahead of a scheduled press conference, four immigration officials took their passports and accused them of violating the Immigration Act.

Logie’s party co-leader contribues to the campaign –@RusselNorman 

Indian PM now boycotting Sri Lankan CHOGM along with Canadian PM due to massive human rights abuses. We should boycott too.

Norman has been prominent protesting against other countries in the past – see Russel Norman: Personal Explanation on Tibet Protest of 18 June 2010:

Last Friday, in the lead up to the arrival of the Chinese Vice President, I held up a Tibetan flag at the bottom of the steps in front of parliament.

My purpose was to draw attention to the shocking human rights abuses suffered by the Tibetan people under Chinese Communist Party Government occupation of their country, in line with this parliament’s long and honourable tradition of speaking out to protect human rights.

This raises important hypothetical questions.

If Greens get a good election result and form a coalition with Labour with Norman as Deputy Prime Minister which counties would Norman boycott and protest against?

Could Norman carry out his responsibilities as Acting Prime Minister?

I asked Norman the first of those questions on Twitter. As yet he has not responded.

It’s difficult to see how Norman could act as a Deputy Prime Minister, or support a normally functioning Government without having serious differences with it on foreign affairs and trade.