Ceylon Thowheed head tells PSC : ‘Wrong for Muslim women to wear veil covering face’ | Sunday Observer

Ceylon Thowheed head tells PSC : ‘Wrong for Muslim women to wear veil covering face’

General Secretary of the Ceylon Thowheed Jama’ath (CTJ) Abdul Razik testifying on Thursday before the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday attacks, said that he had condemned the ISIS and always stated in public that the ISIS was a terrorist group.

Razik told the PSC that he has copies of newspaper statements and audio clips of his statements condemning the ISIS and anyone resorting to arms to propagate religion.

MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne said that former Western Province Governor Azath Salley, giving evidence before the PSC, had insisted that Abdul Razik should be behind bars to ensure communal harmony.

MP Rauff Hakeem: Salley stated that you made public statements promoting ISIS and its leader Baghdadi.

Razik: We have rejected Baghdadi and ISIS since 2015. Our standpoint is that Jihad is not waging war and we do not preach armed campaigns.

Responding to a question raised by Minister Ravi Karunanayake whether he (Razik) had promoted Wahhabism, he said some teachings of Wahhabism tallied with the ideology of Thowheed. Therefore, some had labelled Thowheed too as Wahhabism. Razik said Wahhabism was not terrorism and added that if anyone engaged in terror activities in the name of Wahhabism, they condemn it.

However, Minister Karunanayake said that many who had testified before the PSC and several others in public have identified the Abdul Razik group as an agent of Wahhabism. Razik rejected the claim and said that it was they who had pointed out that it was wrong for Muslim women to wear veils to cover their faces. But the other Islamic groups had accused them of promoting burqas.

Razik told the Committee that the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) had been warned regarding the activities of the mastermind of the disaster, Zahran Hashim. He said they met intelligence officials in 2016 and alerted them of Zaharan Hashim’s preaching which they felt was promoting extremism and calling for the murder of non-Muslims. He admitted that the CTJ had links with Katuwapitiya suicide bomber Achchi Mohammadu Hasthun and Sara Pulasthini who died during the fight between STF commandos and Islamic extremists in Sainthamuruthu on April 28, 2019.

He said Hasthun and his girlfriend Sara who was a Hindu came to meet them in 2015. Hasthun sought assistance to convert Sara to Islam. “Since both of them were over 18 years of old, we arranged for Sara to be converted to Islam so that they could marry. In December 2015, she sent us a letter saying that she wanted to divorce Hasthun and had left Islam.” MP Prof. Ashu Marasinghe asked Razik whether anyone supported his campaigns. Razik said they never received aid from foreign countries or INGOs. “I have not been funded by the Government, not by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, nor by intelligence agencies or any other agencies.”

MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne: “Why did you mention these names because the Committee didn’t ask whether they supported you?” Razik replied that many had described him as a cat’s paw of these agencies. That is why he wanted to make use of the forum to clear his name.

Razik: Though it is something alien to us, we made arrangements for Muslims to donate 3,000 pints of blood annually. We have no religious differences. The CTJ has 63 branches countrywide. It is now six months since we left the Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamath (SLTJ) and formed the CTJ.”

Minister Karunanayake questioned Razik as to why he had made controversial statements denigrating Buddhism. He said they prepared a lecture containing some facts against Buddhism when certain extremist Buddhist groups were condemning Islam. Minister Karunanayake asked Razik when a member of a minority community makes such statements didn’t he think it would lead to communal disharmony. Razik admitted that he made a mistake and added that he had already apologised at several public fora that he had made a mistake. “It is a mistake on my part to be contemptuous about other religions. The disrespect to the Buddha made by me was corrected then and there.”