Edit 23/04/19 – death toll now stands at 321, and ISIS have claimed responsibility, though TNTJ are still suspected of being the ground operatives
As the arrests increase for the attack on Christians in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday which at time of writing has killed 290 people, it is starting to emerge who is responsible for this barbaric atrocity.
Despite the efforts of much of the media to suggest Buddhists may be responsible, the logical conclusion drawn by most people was that this had all the hallmarks of an Islamic attack. The claim from Sky News that it may have been in response to the ‘white supremacist attack in Christchurch’ is highly unlikely, such an attack will have been many months in the planning, long before Christchurch. It is also illogical to target a non-white country if revenge against ‘white supremacy’ was the motive.
For more on the terror attack click here: RADICAL ISLAM MARKS EASTER
The religious significance of the date aligns with previous Islamic attacks; since 9/11 there have been nearly 35,000 Jihadi Attacks in the name of Islam. No other faith targets non believers in this way, and so the question being asked is which Islamic group is responsible?
The Government in Sri Lanka had received a number of warnings from India of an impending attack over the religious period, and is looking into why they were not acted upon. The group being named by numerous sources, including the Indian and Sri Lankan Governments is Tamil National Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ). At time of writing they have not claimed responsibility, but in light of the growing evidence and major outlets now citing them, it is worth looking at who they are, and what do they stand for?
The group was founded in 2004, are based in India and boast over 300,000 members. They claim to preach ‘true Islam’ to muslims and non-muslims, and their motto is “There is no God but Allah. Muhammed is the messenger of God”.
There is a UK arm of TNTJ known as UKTJ and an American arm known as USTJ
They are active on Social Media platforms including FaceBook.
The group is non political and has previously been active in protests, including in 2014 attacking a US consulate with violence after the release of an American film that they believed was ‘insulting to Islam’. They involve themselves in charity, particularly known to donate blood after major disasters in muslim countries.
The reason that this attack is terrifying is the size and scale of the operation and the amount of people involved. Unlike the horrific Christchurch attack, this wasn’t a true lone wolf with a warped ideology. The implications are far greater, and increases the urgency of understanding the motives behind such religious terrorism.
There was a media frenzy to take the Christchurch manifesto seriously, to call for bans on books, people and groups that the killer had been in contact with.
We are seeing a reluctance to undertake the same levels of investigative journalism here. As we see in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, religious terrorism is almost daily, and while we rightly condemn the Christchurch terrorist, it is vital to realise the differences. A self created ideology by a lunatic is very different to huge groups of people following what they perceive as an instruction manual to kill ‘non believers’. Tarrant is in prison, and acted alone. He didn’t have a large network, supporters or groups justifying his actions. He wasn’t following what he believed along with millions of others to be ‘divine orders’. Bar a few actual far right nazis, of which there have always been such sad individuals in society, he was condemned unequivocally by all sides. As we saw when Notre Dame burnt, anti Christian events receive a troubling amount of support.
Until this is acknowledged by our politicians and media, people will continue to die because the focus is in all the wrong areas – inventing a ‘far right’ narrative as somehow equal to the constant jihadi death-toll is reckless. This needs to be halted and the groups pushing it investigated for fuelling anger and division.
Jeremy Corbyn stated in a tweet that ‘respect’ will defeat the terror, while Theresa May, Hillary Clinton and Obama couldn’t bring themselves to admit Christians were targeted. The complicit media fail to challenge this empty rhetoric – asking for a simple explanation of how ‘respect’ would have prevented the Sri Lanka attacks would be a start. With nearly 1,000 churches attacked in France over the last year, how explicit does the message need to be that Christianity is under increasing attack from radical Islamists?
Whether if proves to be the TNTJ or another Islamic group is irrelevant, the discussion about the underlying ideology needs to be top of the agenda for politicians and true journalists. The killers tell us again and again why they carry out these acts, why won’t we listen to them when we happily listen to Brendan Tarrant and give credibility to and act upon his every word?