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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2620

Militant Wahabism beats other Islamic fundamentalists in Sri Lanka

Colombo, 28 August, (Asiantribune.com): Wahhabism is a new politico-religious movement that is sweeping the Eastern province of Sri Lanka with more than 50 Muslim fundamentalist organizations supporting it and helping in propagating the movement throughout the Island.

Latest report reveals that Wahhabism, headquartered in Kattankudy, has raced ahead and taken control of the Jihadist and Al Fatah groups in Sri Lanka under their wings. This new brand of radical Islamic fundamentalism imported and planted in the midst of peace-loving Muslims of Sri Lanka, mostly through the lavish inflow of Saudi Riyal pumped into this war-torn country has overtaken other Islamic competitors by threats, intimidation and coercion.

The latest victim of Wahabism is “Colonel” Lateef in Oddamavadi. In the early part of August, Colonel Lateef was gun down by the prominent Wahabists militant ‘Police’ Faiz in Oddamavadi. Earlier in July Wahabists gun down Siddique who left Wahabism and joined Sufism.

According to reports Wahabism was introduced to Sri Lanka after a section of the Sri Lanka’s Muslims began to agitate against America and Israel. Reports reveal that Wahabism has taken root in Sri Lanka after a section of Muslims were influenced by Sufism -- a mystic tradition within Islam and encompasses a diverse range of beliefs and practices dedicated to divine love and the cultivation of the heart.

In Arabic: Al-Wahhabiyya, (Wahabism) is a branch of Sunni Islam practiced by those who follow the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, after whom the movement is named. Ibn Abdul Wahhab, who reintroduced Shariah (Islamic law) to the Arabian Peninsula, was influenced by the writings of scholars such as Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Ibn Taymiyya. This theology is the dominant form found in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, as well as some pockets of Somalia, Algeria, Palestine , Sudan and Mauritania.

Several Muslim scholars told the Asian Tribune that America’s CIA had a hand in introducing Wahabism in Sri Lanka through Saudi Arabia as a means of countering the growing support for Iran and Sufism among the Sri Lanka Muslims.

America’s foreign intelligence service, it is believed, had calculated that Wahabism would be an effective rival theology to prevent the spread of Iranian influence in Sri Lanka. Saudi agents have successfully penetrated the Eastern province Muslims social fabric and have managed to defeat the Sufis in their game.

Early clashes between the Sufis and the Wahbist was fought openly in Kattankudy and in Oddamavadi, in the early part of October 2006.

Clashes in Kattankudy between the Sufis and the Wahabist occured on a regular basis due to the conflict of beliefs between both schools of religious thought.

In October 2004 similar clashes occurred in Kattankudy after a book was published by a Sufi leader which was considered controversial and un-Islamic by the Jammiyathul Ulema which represent the Wahhabi school of thought. Over 200 houses of Sufi followers were burnt down in the melee that followed.

The author of the book M.S.M. Abdullah alias ‘Payilvaan’ founded the Sufi group Tharikathul Mufliheen - 35 years ago. The book, written in Tamil and published in 1989 was criticized by the Jammiyathul Ulema – for containing derogatory remarks about Islam.

The Jammiyathul Ulema later declared a ‘Fatwa’ (a religious decree) against Payilvaan and after a court dispute that dragged on for years the Jammiyathul Ulema reached a settlement.

Many wealthy Muslim businessmen and farmers in the East coast are followers of Abdur Rauf Moulavi and 'Payilvaan' who are the two main Sufi clerics in the area.

Wahabists said that Abdur Rauf Moulavi’s teachings have been borrowed from Hinduism and are the work of Muslims of Tamil Nadu origin, settled in Kattankudy. The Wahhabi scholars claim that Rauf Moulavi’s teachings are new innovations and contradict the teaching of the Quran and Hadees, who are considered to be fundamentalists.

Subsequently , sectarian violence between orthodox Muslims and an Islamic Sufi sect that preaches pantheism resurfaced in the Muslim town of Kattankudy, Batticaloa, following the death a leader of the Sufi sect

M. S. Abdul Payilvan, 69, one of the leaders of the Sufi sect and the President of All Island Tharikathul Mufliheen, passed away in Colombo Apollo hospital on the night of December 6 and was buried at Tharikathul Mufliheen Mosque burial grounds in Kattankudy the following afternoon.

Wahabist Muslims observed a hartal (general shutdown) demanding the removal of the body from the burial grounds. They claim Kattankudy soil is sacred and bodies belonging to those who preach views contradictory to the holy Quran should not be buried there.

Wahabists Muslims demanded that the body of Abdul Payilvan, who is from Maruthamunai, another Muslim village in the Amparai district, should be exhumed and buried elsewhere.

The death of Abdul Pavilvan had only exacerbated a tense situation. Extremists had dug up the buried body of a Sufi follower from the Tharikathul Mufliheen Mosque burial grounds and dumped the body on a local road as an act of protest.

Kattankudy Police recovered the body, re-buried it in the original burial space. The area was guarded for few days after the incident.

In Kattankudy, the hatred between the two factions has widened in the last few years. Violent clashes between the two factions have grown in intensity and have left many injured, and millions of rupees worth of property, including houses and vehicles, damaged.

Today the Wahabists have prevailed over the Sufis and this was due to the training afforded by the Saudis.

Saudi intelligence agents are very careful not to build one individual as the leader of the Wahabists movement in Sri Lanka. They are in touch with fifty odd Wahabists organizations that are established through out the Island.

It is learnt that the Wahabists leaders in towns and villages in the Eastern province have managed to send their active members for military training by volunteering to join the Home Guards.

All those selected Home Guards are given three months military training and at the end of the training they are provided with T- 56 assault weapons and other more sophisticated lethal weapons which are kept in their homes for urgent use against the Tamil Tiger terrorists.

This has given an opportunity for the Wahabists to legitimize the possession of weapons from being confiscated at any given time by armed force. Consequently, Muslim militants are in possession of dangerous weapons.

It is learnt that presently two qualified Muslim engineers from the East are involved in the promotion of Wahabists militant movement in the east. They are: Mustapah Abdul Rehaman, a qualified Production Engineer and Falul Haque, a qualified Chemical Engineer, and both are from the Paradeniya University Falul Haque is now away in Qatar and according to an intelligence report he is said to be in Qatar to run a hotel over there.

According to reports he has gone there with more than a dozen Muslim youngsters and these youngsters are being given training in Qatar which is also one of the countries that follow Wahabism.

Asian Tribune also learnt that Abdul Rehaman runs the ‘British College of Applied Studies,’ head quartered in Dehiwela and with a branch in Kandy. So far through this institution he has managed to send about 200 young Muslim youths to United Kingdom to work with the fundamentalists group in the UK. According to reports received by Asian Tribune, these Muslims sent to UK went on forged names. They have managed to obtain Sri Lankan Passports, National Identity Cards, Bank statements and all other documents needed to obtain visas in the British High Commission in Colombo in different names.

Furthermore, more than 40 percent of those sent from Colombo to London are actually Bangladeshis.

Asian Tribune received reports that Wahabists have so far managed to train nearly 3000 Muslims armed cadres. According to reports all these 3000 armed cadres are in readiness to be assembled in one spot by giving a short notice.

These armed men earlier went as Jihadists and Al Fatah’s, but today they all are Wahabists and instructions to them are conveyed through Mowlavis – the prayer leaders in the mosques on the instructions of the Saudi Agents.

The effectiveness of the Wahabi influence is felt in the case of Rizana Naffek the 19-year-old house maid from Mutur who was sentenced to behead by a Saudi Sharia Court on last 16 July. The Muslims have been asked not to make a big noise about it. While the other communities have been agitating against the Saudi Government the Sri Lankan Muslims have been rather subdued.

- Asian Tribune -

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