- There were many unregistered mosques and as the then Minister he could not check whether these mosques received foreign funds
By Yoshitha Perera
Former Minister of Muslim Affairs M.H.A. Haleem yesterday informed the PCoI probing Easter Sunday Commission though he was aware of National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ), he did not know that it was a violent organisation.
Testifying before the Commission, MP Haleem said that he was unaware of Aliyar Junction clash in Kattankudy in 2017 and about Zahran Hashim before Easter Sunday attacks.
He added that Thowheed Jamaat followers do not know how to interact with people of their own, and they were always trying to create conflicts.
During the testimony, a Commissioner questioned the witness regarding receiving excessive foreign funds to the mosques and how he had controlled this as the then Muslim Affairs Minister.
Responding to the question the witness said that there were too many unnecessary mosques in the country and there had to be limitations on establishing mosques.
"To register a mosque it has to be there for six months. That is the only criteria considering when registering a mosque," he said.
He also added that there were many unregistered mosques and as the then Minister he could not check whether these mosques were received foreign funds.
Meanwhile, the representative from the Attorney General's Department questioned the witness regarding the statement he made to the media about finding swords from mosques after Easter Sunday attacks.
In the media briefing, former Minister responding to a question raised by a Journalist said that the authorities of several mosques might have used the swords to mow grass on burial grounds.
Responding to it, MP Haleem said that at that time he was unaware of the difference between sword and grass mowing knife.
- To register a mosque it has to be there for six months