With the experience, the Sri Lankan security forces have gained during the more than the thirty-year-long war against the LTTE, the Sri Lankan chapter of the terrorist group that is behind the massacres in three churches and three luxury hotels on Easter Sunday would most probably be wiped out or contained very soon.
The terrorists seem to be dedicated towards their deadly objectives, but not having the necessary military acumen for a long war against the battle-hardened Sri Lankan Armed forces.
With almost the entire Muslim community in the country seemingly being furious over what happened and even some of the parents of the suspects coming forward to help the law enforcement authorities, the days of the terrorist outfit seem to be numbered.
Yet, the dedication coupled with the ruthlessness of the terrorists to blow them off while a number of their children being with them points to the degree of indoctrination of them with the dreaded ideology that drove them to kill hundreds of innocent people on April 21.
So long as the ideology prevails, the danger would lurk. It is not clear how deep into the Muslim Community that ideology has penetrated.
However much it is entrenched, it has to be rooted out and we have to ensure that it would not raise its ugly head.
To identify the ideology seems to be difficult and complex as it is not manifested by any dress code or any other religious practices, as some people suggest. For instance, in order to identify every person in the country, the Government had taken steps on Sunday to ban the face veil, the Burqa and Niqab donned by some Muslim women, whereas the women in the pictures released by the police as wanted suspects for the Easter carnage were seen without any face veil.
Religion is a very sensitive issue and to make out the extremism from the religion would be a gigantic task for those not belonging to that particular faith.
And there are a plethora of organizations among Sri Lankan Muslims engaging in various activities, especially propagating Islamic teachings. Some of them bear identical tags as the extremists do and this might lead to mistaken identity. For example, there are so many Thawheed Jama’aths. The rivalry among them also might mislead the authorities.
Sri Lankan politicians are a lot, who cannot see anything from above.
They can see everything through their party prism and they, irrespective of them being in the Government or the Opposition, always attempt to take mileage from any carnage.
Also, there are people who might attempt to implicate their adversaries taking advantage of the situation. Hence there is a danger of the authorities who are involved in the crackdown being misled and trespassing into the religion, which might antagonize the ordinary Muslims who are currently supportive of the Government’s efforts in eradicating extremism and terrorism.
In the early 1980s, authorities and the media failed to identify Tamil terrorism and instead identified the ordinary Tamils with terrorists. And the people also did the same after the first major attack by the LTTE on the Army at Thirunelveli in Jaffna on July 23, 1983, where 13 soldiers were killed and the islandwide anti-Tamil pogrom produced a huge breeding ground for the LTTE and other Tamil armed groups.
Therefore it is pertinent to learn a lesson from that history. On the other hand peace-loving Muslim religious and political leaders also must come forward to identify the extremism among them, which would someday knock on their doors as well, as happened to the Tamil leaders.