Daily FT journalist Nuwan Senarathna shared important details about terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka. He talked about Sri Lanka is a peace country, which religions has been living together since years. Also Senarathna talked about Sri Lankans already know those attacks not from Muslims.
What happened in Sri Lanka was a tragedy and affected all of us. But there is an important question, why these attacks targeted Sri Lanka?
“It is a tricky question, there are many theories. But beyond of all Sri Lanka is a secular county that Buddhist, Hindus, Catholics and Muslims lived harmoniously for more many years. But according to the investigators, all attackers were Sri Lankan; therefore it seems to be instead of ISIS choosing Sri Lanka, the local extremist group chose ISIS. But it is obvious that the local extremist group had the support and guidance from the ISIS which is revealed in ongoing investigations. However, this is a more political failure more than anything.”
We know about the new Silk Road project and Sri Lanka is an important destination on this. Can those events be connected with this or is it only a conspiracy theory?
“Well, I am not going to jump into a conclusion at the moment as there is not any conclusive evidence to prove that theory. It is an attack by the extremist group. If you look at attackers they are coming from well-educated and wealthy family backgrounds. Therefore this is an attack based on religious extremism rather than a political motive.”
We saw some intelligence documents about carelessness. What were the government’s steps against this attitude?
“President had appointed a committee to look into the matter and requested them to provide a report. But the Government had admitted their failure yet at the moment that has become more of a political topic in the country.”
As a Muslim, definitely, I can’t accept these terrorist attacks and I feel your pain deep in my heart. Also, we are hurt by the same terrorism, I can say clearly that people who are doing these attacks are not Muslim or Christian or Buddhist. Terrorism has no religion. But for sure this tragedy will create prejudice against the Muslim community, too. What is the situation now? What is the Muslim community’s attitude and how Sri Lankan people see Muslims?
“People of Sri Lanka have understood that the Easter Sunday attack was led by an extremist group, not by Muslims in Sri Lanka. In fact most of the information is provided by within the Muslim community in Sri Lanka. Especially Muslim religious leaders had warned the Government about certain extremist groups to a couple of years ago. Therefore there is not hatred towards Muslims but people are devastated by the attacks and country is still recovering from the attack.”
What is waiting Sri Lanka in future?
“Tourism is one of the highest foreign exchange earning sectors. After the Easter, Sunday attacks made Tourism the sector affected the most. As we all know Sri Lanka is currently facing debt trap which led to various economic challenges. Therefore Sri Lanka needs a strategy to recover from the attack, to bring the country back to normalcy. If not, Sri Lanka might have to face very dangerous consequences.”
Lastly, what are your messages to the world and to the Turkish people?
“Firstly, I must thank Turkish people for all the support given to us. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and security forces have taken steps to assure the safety of Sri Lanka, therefore Sri Lanka is still the best travel destination for end of this year.”
This interview published in Intell4 Strategy Channell on June 4, 2019