Sri Lankan authorities have arrested a Saudi-educated scholar who trained Zahran Hashim, the kingpin of Easter Sunday bombing in Sri Lanka, says a Reuters report.
The arrested scholar, Mohammed Aliyar was “involved” with training in the southern town of Hambantota for the group of suicide bombers who attacked hotels and churches on Easter, killing over 250 people, says report.
This arrest has brought in spotlight the rising influence of Salafi-Wahabi Islam on the island’s Muslims. Mohamed Aliyar, 60, is the founder of the Centre for Islamic Guidance (CIG), which influenced Zahran Hashim, the mastermind behind the Eater Sunday serial bombblasts.
The CIG which included a mosque, a religious school and a library was located in Zahran’s hometown of Kattankudy, a Muslim-dominated city on the Sri Lanka’s eastern shores.
“Information has been revealed that the suspect arrested had a close relationship with ... Zahran and had been operating financial transactions,” said a police statement late on Friday.The government says Zahran, a radical Tamil-speaking preacher, was a leader of the group.
Two Muslim community sources in Kattankudy told Reuters his hardline views were partly shaped by ultra-conservative Salafi-Wahabi texts that he picked up at the CIG’s library around 2-3 years ago. During that time, Zahran started criticising the practice of asking God for help.