LETTER to THE AGE
Radicalisation of Muslim youth
Commenting on the latest senseless attacks on Sri Lankan Christian churches and five-star hotels Waleed Aly says, quite correctly, that ”… the element of foreign interference is the single idea that does make sense. This attack does not emerge organically from the Sri Lankan soil. It relies on ideas imported from a completely different context.” (AGE – 26/4.19)
In the same breath he blames the Sinhala-Buddhists for the radicalisation of Muslim based on the recent incidents between the two communities which, incidentally were resolved swiftly by community leaders from both sides intervening to calm down rising tensions.
Radicalisation is not a process that can be rolled out overnight. It takes time to germinate. It also springs from diverse sources.
For instance, one of the suicide bombers has been identified as a product of Swinburne, Melbourne, A sister of this suicide bomber told the media that he was a changed man, quite silent and withdrawn, when he returned home from Australia.
If the suicide bombers were radicalized in the recent fracas between the Sinhala-Buddhists and the Muslims what would have been the impact of the Tamil Tigers massacring 170 Muslim worshippers praying in a mosque in Kattankuddy (a Muslim town in the east)in 1990?
What would have been the impact on the 75,000 Muslims who were ethnically cleansed from Jaffna in 1995. They were given twenty four hourse to quite Jaffna.
Wahabism, an extreme version of Islam, was exported from Saudi Arabia in the 80s. Saudi money funded the growth of radical Islam in Sri Lanka.
Prime Minister Scot Morrison has said that “bombings demonstrated a new front in fighting, that militants who had fought in Syria and Iraq had returned with skills to carry out attacks while being a part of a broader network that could provide money, training and target identification.(ABC).
On-line Islamic ideologies transmitted from Western cells radicalising Muslim youth is well documented. The net was a source of recruitment of Muslim soldiers to fight for their Daesh / Caliphate.
State Minister of Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene told Parliament this week that the targeting of Christians on Easter Sunday, when the churches were packed to capacity, was a retaliatory act for the Christchurch massacre of Muslims by the right-wing Australian, Bonston Tarrant.
Clearly, radicalisation has a longer and complex history than the recent fracas in Sri Lanka.
Yet Waleed Aly blames a single factor (the Sinhala-Buddhists) for the radicalisation of the Muslims.
When there are major multiple causes coming down the decades to radicalise even saints how come he picked only on a minor fracas that occurred the other day?