Fourteen days after the Christchurch attack, when Jacinda Arden in her national speech spoke of peace, spoke of courage, spoke of patience and spoke of forgiveness, little did she realize that her message of peace would be thrown away into oblivion and that too merely within a month. The world had barely come to terms with the dastardly act at Christchurch where white ideologies had paved the way for a nightmare which were bound to linger in the minds of the victim for days to come. Little did we anticipate the bloodshed, the homicide that was unleashed, this time by radical Islamist groups and of a magnitude unparalleled to the one at Christchurch. We speak about glass being brittle, yes it is. But so is human emotion, which is way too fragile than glass itself. Jacinda Arden in her speech had said, “Let us be the nation we believe ourselves to be. The tides of remembrance flow over Christchurch today. So let us gather with love, in peace, for this family, so that they may truly live again, so that we all may truly live again.” Alas! this was not to happen as the dreaded Islamist group ISIS who found an apt ally in local extremist group National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ) made sure the call for peace was thoroughly neglected and inflicted a bloodbath on 21st April 2019, Sri Lanka’s worst terror attack in more than a decade which targeted Churches and luxury hotels that killed more than 350 people on the holy Easter Sunday. The brittle nature of human emotions were shattered to pieces.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe described the Easter attacks as “global terrorism reaching Sri Lanka”. Ruwan Wijewardene, the state minister for defense, told Parliament that the attack was retribution—not for Syria and blows against the caliphate, but for the mass murder of Muslims by a white-supremacist gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15. He did not provide evidence for this claim, but there is no reason to doubt it. If we are to go by the excerpts from well-known journal ‘The Atlantic’, ISIS has a unique way of swearing allegiance to the one they serve, a huddle which they term it as a ceremony of bay’ah – a term dating to the earliest days of Islam, and likely before that historically has involved the physical laying on of hands, to swear allegiance to a commander. The most recent video of it out of Sri Lanka, however, is classic ISIS: A group of previously unknown jihadists stand in front of the black banner and pledge their soon-to-be-truncated lives to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the still-missing caliph of the Islamic State. The attacks fit none of the patterns of political violence in Sri Lanka—Why hit Christians? Why hotels?— but they looked like vintage ISIS handiwork, and so they now are confirmed to be. ISIS loves hitting churches. It aims at international sites, the better to inflict pain on citizens of the coalition that has succeeded in obliterating its caliphate in Syria. All signs pointed to the only organization with the motive and opportunity to mount an attack of this magnitude. Sinhalese and Tamils have always been at the center of a conflict in the island nation due to the liberation war. Also there are reasons for the Muslims to be included due to Sharia law and rise of Jihadists ideologies globally, but for no reason can the Christians be included into this as there has been no real conflict between them and the Muslims internally. Thus it makes for a curious case to be investigating the role of a foreign entity in the mass murder on Easter Sunday.
In a statement issued through its propaganda ‘Amaq’ news agency, the ISIS claimed that “the executors of the attack that targeted citizens of coalition states and Christians in Sri Lanka were the group,” according to the Site Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activities. Sri Lanka has said National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ) was behind the attacks and it was investigating whether they had any international support. According to an intelligence memo sent to some government officials before the attack, a member of the NTJ had posted “extremist content” on social media after the Christchurch shootings were carried out by right–wing extremists, Wijewardene said. In the words of Graeme Wood, author of ‘The Way of the Strangers: Encounters With the Islamic State’ and staff writer for ‘The Atlantic’, “The Islamic State is not gone. We knew that already; even President Donald Trump, after the Islamic State’s territorial defeat, noted that on occasion these cowards will resurface. What we know now is that the Islamic State’s prestige and power, which Trump said had also been destroyed, live on too, and can still motivate massacres from followers in heretofore unlikely places”. The U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alaina Teplitz, said more attacks may be in the planning stages. “We certainly have reason to believe that the active attack group has not been fully rendered inactive,” Teplitz said in an interview with the Reuters news agency. “We do believe that there is active planning underway.”
Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic leader reiterated on the fact that God is the reflection of love and kindness and wondered how someone could kill in the name of God as he referred to the Islamist militants who claimed the massive Easter Sunday bombings were on behalf of the Almighty. Only if he had realized that this is the era of bully terrorism. You hit hard, I hit harder seems to be the new age mantra for these nonsensical people, in the process, the carnage inflicting wounds which shakes the very basis of humanity. The pain so deep, that years down memory lane the heart still withers in ache. Be it the innocent Muslims who had been gunned down at Christchurch, or the lifeless bodies of the Christians in Colombo which were blown away to pieces, it was not the loss for any particular community but for mankind as a whole. The Archbishop, who started his mass with an appeal for peace and unity, said: “It is our faith which has been challenged”. All those hoping for peace were oblivious of the fact that these human-form-devil are always behind a façade, privy to the details of the conspiracy they are hatching.
Human beings in its devilish best is the worst creation of our creator and needs to be eradicated without the slightest of mercy. Even the recent concept of Geo-Terrorism where religion became the driving force of politics looks jaded and what we are looking at now is its refined version Bully-Terrorism, a journey from supremacy to dominance. It is high time, we get united for a common cause or be prepared to omit the words ‘victory of good over evil’.