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Sri Lanka bans 11 Islamic organisations

Following the sudden and wide-reaching proscription of hundreds of individuals and several Tamil diaspora organisations, Sri Lanka’s Attorney General, Dappula de Livera,  has banned 11 Islamic organisations under accusations that they are linked to “extremist activities”.

The 11 organisations to be banned are as follows:

  1. United Thawheed Jamma 'ath – UTJ
  2. Ceylon Thawheed Jamma 'ath – CTJ
  3. Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamma 'ath – SLTJ
  4. All Ceylon Thawheed Jamma 'ath – ACTJ
  5. Ja miyathu I Ansaari Su nnaththul Mohomadiya – JASM
  6. Dharul Adhar @ Jamiul Adhar
  7. Sri Lanka Islamic Student Movement- SLISM
  8. Islamic State of Iraq & Syria – ISIS
  9. AL- Qaeda
  10. Save the Pearls
  11. Super Muslim

This follows an increase in the number of Tamils and Muslims detained under Sri Lanka's internationally condemned Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). In March 8 Muslims were arrested under allegations of spreading extremism whilst 7 Tamils have been arrested since December. The PTA allows Sri Lanka's security force wide-reaching powers and has been used to detain individuals without charge for years as well as being linked to torture. In March, Sri Lanka expanded upon the PTA under the veil of "deradicalisation". 

Save the Pearls

Photograph: Amnesty International

Amongst the listed organisations is “Save the Pearls”, a charity that supports the education of underprivileged children, hoping to lure them away from criminal activities and drug abuse. The inclusion of this charity is likely in connection with the continued detention of Hejaaz Hizbullah under the PTA.

Hizbullah served on the board of the charity as well as Mohamed Ibrahim whose son, Ilham, was arrested under charges of engaging in the Easter Sunday bombings. Despite Ibrahim only serving for a few months before being asked to step down and Sri Lanka authorities have continued the detention of Hizbullah under for this alleged connection. Amnesty International emphasis that “no credible evidence has surfaced to establish any link between Hejaaz and the 21 April 2019 bombings” and they raise the concerns that the case against him may be subject to fabrication.

The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) have similarly expressed their concern over the “continued unlawful” detention of Muslim lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah and urged the Sri Lanka government to release him.

Read Amnesty International’s earlier reporting here.

Increasing repression

This proscription of numerous Muslim organisations follows increasing repression against the Muslim community. Recently a Sri Lankan government minister called for the banning of Islamic face coverings and closure of over 1,000 Islamic schools, under “national security” concerns.

Read more here: Sri Lanka: Discrimination against Muslims and Tamils is getting worse

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