It is no secret to anyone with eyes and ears that Islamic extremism is spreading in the island of Sri Lanka like wildfire. Over the past 10 years the number of mosques and other Islamic religious places has more than doubled. When Islamic extremists forced ‘Halal’ on the entire population, the nation succumbed to it helplessly. Only 9.2% of Sri Lanka’s population is Muslims and the Malay population just about 1%. In 2009 a violent mosque attack in Beruwala occurred. It is a stark reminder of the fate that awaits those who don’t comply with Islamic fundamentalism in this island. These are classic cases of extremism taking an upper hand over a civilised democratic society. This pattern is all too common in other countries.
The following are independent accounts of the growing Islamic extremist threat from various sources. Although new to the external espionage agencies concerned, this information hardly surprises any Sri Lankan. It is everybody’s knowledge. For instance the information in the US Embassy cable is all too well known to almost all Sri Lankans, paragraph to paragraph. Proof of this information and the probability of specifics will also be analysed here.
A word of caution is needed in any similar analysis. Since it deals with the most widespread terrorist operation in the world, extreme care must be taken not to arouse, instigate or indirectly support these violent movements. A carefully drawn out mostly peaceful strategy is needed to counter this threat. Military action must be well coordinated at a global and regional scale.
What the US Embassy Unearthed
The US Embassy has unearthed what is commonly known to all Sri Lankans. Please read Annexure-1 below. Alternatively readers can read the original by going to http://wikileaks.org/cable/2003/10/03COLOMBO1810.html.
However, it indicates a shocking development or a number of them. The US Embassy has been and possibly still is conducting espionage operations in Sri Lanka on many matters using its “contacts” and “sources”. On this matter USA and Sri Lankan interests match. There are many other instances where divergent interests are at play. Another shocking indication is that the Islamic threat has reached such a highpoint in Sri Lanka that USA dedicated considerable amount of resources to identify and tackle it.
Who Feels the Threat First?
First receptors of the rise of Islamic extremist violence are the moderate Muslims. They become the first victims of extremists. This can be seen in Sri Lanka very well in political, economic, cultural, religious and security aspects. In 1987, Muslims’ political conduct changed for the worse. In the lines of Tamil mono-ethnic and racist political parties, a group of Muslims funded by wealthy Middle Eastern Wahabis, formed in to SLMC. Their excuse was LTTE violence against Muslims in the north and the east. However, it is not true. By 1987, the LTTE honeymoon with Palestinian terrorists was not over. LTTE fell out with Muslims only in 1990 Black August when all Muslims were chased out of Jaffna and attacks were launched against Muslims in the East. Another development was taking place in the east during this time. Islamic extremist terrorists were pumping millions if not billions of dollars to the East. Cases in point are at least two whole new Muslim only villages by the names Saddam Hussein Town and Muammar Gadhafi Town constructed with the money of these two notorious terrorists. Therefore the excuse for the formation of the SLMC is not valid. Their real intention is to expand Islamic fundamentalism.
Economically, moderate Muslims have become mere vagrants compared to the billions radicals have at their disposal. Two radical Muslim groups build mosques in competition while moderate Muslims have no other option than join them. While moderate Muslims for hundreds of years thrived in Sri Lanka without any Sharia law, ‘halal’ foods and loudspeakers, radicals have stumped them calling them betrayals of the original teaching. Since resistance is highly dangerous (as can be seen from the Beruwala attack) and considered treacherous, moderates have now joined the radicals. This explains the motivation of the Muslim source of information to the US embassy.
After the ceasefire agreement (CFA) with the LTTE, Muslims were thrown into the hands of Tamil brutality. It is true Tamil nationalists killed and displaced Muslims from 2002 to 2009. It is also true Muslims organised into ‘Jihad’ groups during this time. But the two developments had nothing to do with each other. There is not a single instance of any Islamic group attacking the LTTE or resisting any LTTE move. The real reason is connected to the global war on terror launched in 2001. Islamic terrorists actively looked for safe havens when the war started. Sri Lanka was at war till 2001 but following the ceasefire agreement (CFA) with the LTTE relative peace returned. It was a perfect oasis for Islamic radicals in the midst of a global war on them. They were safe in peaceful Sri Lanka where people were disgruntled of war by then.
The Passport Operation for Terror Activities
There is enough reason to believe information on this. It is a well-known criminal act done in the country by both Tamil and Muslim terrorists. However, the “source” revealed another interesting fact. Muslims are given false passports with Sinhalese names. Following 9/11, persons with Muslims names were thoroughly checked at international ports and airports around the world. By changing their names, they could easily pass through. A similar trick was used by 9/11 attackers and many other terrorists around the world. The fact that the false passport operation was carried by a former Muslim minister’s son does not surprise anyone especially in the light of another revelation – (C/NF) “the Source also identified Muslim Minister Rauf Hakeem as a supporter of this [Jihad] camp”.
Radical Muslim Students in Universities
Although the “source” claims he knows close to one hundred radical Muslims students at the Jayawardanapura University, the number cannot be true given the total number of Muslim students in that university. However, this number is well within the possible number of radicals in all the universities, especially in the Eastern and South Eastern Universities. It is very likely they are actually developing chemical agents and other weaponry using the knowledge and resources gained at the universities. However, at that time it was unlikely they were attempting to develop anthrax. Interestingly, it was the SLMC when it was a partner of the PA government (1994-2001) that built the South Eastern University for Muslims. Many Middle Eastern Islamic groups financially assisted its construction. What is more interesting is the repetition of the events and connections of the actors. After 10 years later, same SLMC actors are involved in wrongfully and dramatically increasing the number and percentage of Muslim students at the Sri Lanka Law College in an attempt to impose Sharia Law in the long run. This corroboratory evidence support what Mohamed Ilyars Mohamed HUNU revealed 10 years ago.
In addition, a large number of Islamic education centres, government schools and international schools have come up in the last decade. Islamic fundamentalists have many openings for the propagation of radical Islam and knowledge on ancient Arabic warfare and weaponry through these. Those who perform well are given scholarships to study advanced techniques of indoctrination and violence in Saudi Arabia.
There is a reason why most Muslim schools in outskirts of major towns have their medium of instruction in Tamil. This way the Sinhala majority will not be able to understand them. It is also essential for growing connections they have with former Tamil terrorists in South India. A Tamil speaking Muslim was arrested with plans to attack the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in South India. He was attempting to escape to Colombo where the Indian RAW thinks the ISI South Asian coordination unit is. However, there is nothing to prove these Indian allegations.
A 2002 Bali style terror attack on westerners who bring bulk of the tourist revenue can destroy the burgeoning tourism industry.
Jihad Camp Supported by Sections of Police and SLMC Leader?
The “source” mentioned Jihad operations are supported by some Muslim police officers and the SLMC leader. He has also claimed their main source of weapons at that time was the police. This claim is true. Following Black August attacks by Tamil terrorists in 1990, under the instructions of the then government, the police provided Muslims in the east with assault rifles. More than 250 were provided in 1990 but when they were requested to be handed over by Minister Hisbullah in 2010, only a mere 20 were handed over. Others still remain at large.
Rauf Hakim’s involvement in anti-national activities and Islamic fundamentalism is very well known. He has a history of supporting Islamic extremism and terrorism. He was sacked from his minister post in 2001 after he declared two separate Islamic states within Sri Lanka.
During the same year he publicly blamed the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) unit for plotting to eliminate Tamil terrorist leaders. After a Tamil terror attack that killed a dozen Muslims in the east in 2007, Hakim instigated Muslims to attack Special Task Force camps and convoys in the east. He played a crucial role in creating a rift between the former army commander Fonseka and the government in an attempt to dilute the May 2009 military victory. In 2012 he called Buddhist monks “terrorists”. He was forced to apologise or lose his ministry and he obviously chose the former. He manipulated the government to provide various unfair concessions to Muslims at the expense of others.
Disturbing Population Growth Rate of Muslims
The rate of population growth of Muslims has been astronomical from 1946 to 2012. It has disturbed the peaceful ethnic balance. At the time of independence, Muslim population percentage was just 5.1% which has almost doubled in 2012 to 9.2%. Undoubtedly this is the largest growth in population of any ethnicity. Since 1981 to 2012, Muslim population shows astronomical growth from 7% to 9.2% – the largest percentage increase.
District wise Muslim population percentage increase
Measures must be taken to curtail this astronomical Muslim population growth to maintain peace and the harmonious ethnic balance. With indoctrination in full swing, a larger group of radicals pose a graver national security threat.
(Since identifying the emergence of radical Islam in eastern Sri Lanka and Colombo, USAID has redoubled its projects and microfinance in the east in an attempt to quell it. However, it is unlikely to achieve anything as it is pittance compared to the billions coming from the Middle East accompanied with radical teachings.)
SUBJECT: WALK-IN DESCRIBES MUSLIM EXTREMIST ACTIVITIES IN SRI LANKA
Classified By: RSO Alex Moore – Exempt from Declassification. Reason: 1.6 (X1)
1. (C/NF) Summary – On 10/14/03 and again on 10/15/03, RSO interviewed an unknown walk-in Source of undetermined reliability who claimed to have information on several aspects of Muslim radicalism in Sri Lanka. The information included the name of a passport vendor in Colombo who provides false passports to Muslim terrorists, some of whom are allegedly now in the U.S., information on a group of radical Muslim students at a local university in Colombo, information on Muslim police connections to Muslim terrorist groups in the Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka, and information on a Muslim terrorist training camp in the Eastern Provinces. End Summary.
2. (C/NF) On 10/14/2003, an unknown Source phoned Embassy Colombo and spoke with the RSO regarding radical Muslim activities in Sri Lanka. An appointment was made for the Source to come to the North Gate of the Embassy to be interviewed at 1630 hours. The Source came at the appointed time and identified himself as Mohamed Ilyars Mohamed HUNU (father’s name NOONU), DPOB 12/15/1972 – Sri Lanka, National Identity Number 723501008V, SL PPT# L0130138. Source provided two phone numbers: 034-2277851 and 94-1-222-2787. Source claimed to be a police bodyguard for the Sri Lankan Minister of State for Housing in the Eastern Provinces 1991-94, but was currently unemployed and a father of three children. He also produced documentation as a former worker in private security in the U.A.E.
3. (C/NF) Source indicated that he had information on operations and activities of radical Muslims in Sri Lanka, to include the name of a passport vendor in Colombo who provides false passports to terrorists, the existence of a group of radical Muslim students at a local university, links between Muslim Police and extremist Muslim groups in the Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka, and information on the existence of a Muslim terrorist training camp in the Eastern Provinces.
4. (C/NF) RSO pressed the Source for details on the passport vendor in Colombo, and the Source advised that the name of the vendor was Ilyars Hajy Faleel HAJY. HAJY was the son of a former Muslim Minister in the government and, in addition to the fraudulent passport operation, is a gem dealer. Source claimed that HAJY takes Sri Lankan passports with Muslim names and changes them to Sinhalese names. The Source also alleged that HAJY has forged passports for terrorists from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, some of whom are already in the U.S. Source could not provide additional details on this last claim, but Source offered to provide a sample of HAJY’s forgeries the following day. (On 10/15/03, Source returned to the Embassy and provided a second passport #M1091886 containing his photo in the name of Mohamed Imtiyaz Mohamed FULAIL, with a DOB 03/02/1973. He said the passport cost him 30,000 Rupees or $300. Source also produced a second National Identity Card #730624786V using that name. Both appeared authentic. He also produced a copy of a visa to the U.A.E. in the name Mohamed Fulail Mohamed. In addition, Source provided an address for the document vendor as an apartment building owned by his father named the SATHOSA BUILDING on Galle Road near a 3-Star gas station.)
5. (C/NF) Source then stated that he knew of a group of about 100 radical Muslim students at Jayawardana Pura University in Colombo who were associated with the extremist group “Jihad.” After some thought, he identified one member of the group as Mohamed Ansar MINSAR, whose father may be Mohamed Farook FAHIM or Fahim FAROOK. Source provided cell phone numbers for MINSAR as 0777-405-805 and 0777-405-186. Source claimed this “Jihad” group is connected to terrorist training operations in the Eastern Provinces, and some of the students have been under contract with the “Jihad” leadership to develop anthrax.
6. (C/NF) Finally, Source indicated that Muslims, increasingly frustrated at armed attacks by the LTTE in the East, have formed a militant training camp near Batticaloa for the purpose of defending against the LTTE and to strike against Western interests, including the U.S. Source stated that Iraqis were in the camp, which is supported partially by Sri Lankan Muslims working in Kuwait and sending money to “Jihad.” The camp gets some of its weapons from supportive Muslim police in the region. Source provided the name of one of the Police Chiefs as “Majeed.” The Source also identified Muslim Minister Rauf Hakeem as a supporter of this camp.
7. (C/NF) When asked why he was providing this information, Source indicated he was unemployed and had a family to support. Source offered to “work” for the embassy and suggested he be allowed to travel to the East to get more details on the camp. RSO replied that the details of his information would be checked and the Embassy would contact him if further information was needed.
8. (C/NF) RSO action/comment: RSO will attempt to use local contacts to verify information regarding the passport vendor and the existence of a “Jihad” group of students at the university. Information regarding terrorist training in the East will be forwarded to local contacts for further investigation. Results will be forwarded as received. This is the second walk-in in two weeks with information regarding extremist Muslim activity in Sri Lanka. We will continue to monitor increasing Muslim frustration with LTTE attacks against Muslims in the East as one possible indicator of growing radicalism on the part of Muslims in Sri Lanka.