From the Den of the Mastermind
Posted on April 25th, 2019

By Hafeel Farisz in Kattankudy Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The entire family, 2 brothers, a sister and the parents of Zahran Hashim the suspected mastermind of the Easter Sunday massacre have been missing since April 18, 2019, his sister Mohomed Hashim Madaniya aged 25 told the Daily Mirror exclusively.

I went and gave food to my parents and my sisters family on April 18, and haven’t heard from them since” she told us, at her house in Kattankudy located around the mosque of National Thawheed Jamath in Kattankudy.

Providing exclusive access and details of a chilling tail of radicalization of which the sister insists she had been against, and members of the mosque completely dissociating themself with, the Daily Mirror was told that Hashim was a gifted orator and a loving family man until his sudden disappearance”

The family included five children with Zahran Hashim being the oldest (33) he is married to Mohomed Haadiya (23) a resident of Kekenuwella, Kurunegala and is the father of two children aged a boy aged eight and a girl aged four.

His brother Mohomed Zeyin Hashim (30) is married to Abdul Gafoor Afrin (23) and has two children a boy aged 5 and a girl aged 3. The third was Mohomed Rilwan Hashim (28) Nafha (20) and is the father of two children aged 5 years and the other a six month old boy.

The remaining sister Mohomed Yaseera Hashim (20) was married to Mohomed Rishad (22) and is the mother of a boy aged one year, all of whom have left without a trace.

I don’t know where they are. From the 18th onwards I have had no contact with them” she told us.

Accordingly all the family members including the parents of Zahran, Hayath Mohomed Hashim (55) and Abdul Cader Sameema ( 50) have left no trace of their whereabouts since April 18th.

It was early 2017 when he started preaching things that we thought were out of line. They were things like the world was made for Muslims and was against other religions” she said.

My husband didn’t like what he was saying so we stopped our connections with him. That didn’t mean we were angry, its just that we stopped following him” the mother of three said.

On March 10, 2017 following an armed fight between moderate Sufi groups and those following the new mosque and denomination propagated by Zahran, he had reportedly gone missing”.

we didn’t hear from him after. He together with his brother Rilwan completely lost contact with all of us” Moulavi Thawufeek (33) the Head of the National Thawheed Jamath told Daily Mirror.

The National Thawheed Jamath was a denomination originated by Zahran in or around 2011.

Katankudy a small area of land with one of the highest density of population comprises 63 mosques. 8 of the mosques follow the Fundamentalist strand openly and the other barring 3 mosques follow different degrees of wahabist ideology” H. M Ameer from the Badriya Mosque told the Daily Mirror. The Jammiyathul Ulama are also supporters of the Wahabi ideology” he and Jaseem told the Daily Mirror.

The incident culminating in violence on March 10, 2017 was a result of rift between the Badriya Mosque followers of the Sufi Ideology and the religious strand that Hashim propogated.

There was a meeting to be held at the Aliya Junction at which Zahran was to speak when the violence broke out” both parties said, after which differing accounts were narrated as to what took place.

Nine persons from Zahran’s, National Thawheed Jamath were arrested by the Police and Two from the Badriya Mosque. The arrests included Zahran’s brother Zeyin. The suspects had been remanded for over 7 months according to one of the suspects Mohomed Rifaz (32).

Speaking to the Daily Mirror at the two storied mosque of which one storey is yet to be completed, Rifaz said Zahran went missing” after the Police came after him.

We didn’t know of his whereabouts till he started posting videos on Facebook around June 2017” the Daily Mirror were told by the members of the NTJ. We completely disassociated ourselves from him after we saw his videos” they told us after which they showed the Daily Mirror a letter which had been issued by the Mosque expelling Zahran from the mosque.

The fact that the Mosque was a small non sophisticated one with no approval nor accounting books issuing a letter of expulsion” could not be lost.

That is a complete lie. We have information that he visited the mosque around six weeks ago,” Ameer from the Badriya mosque insisted. We had informed authorities of him starting in 2012. We in fact gave dockets to 11 authorities including the Secretary of Defence, the Inspector General and the Attorney General detailing the extremism carried out by Zahran and his ideology,” Ameer told the Daily Mirror. They all fell on deaf ears,” Mohomed Jaseem a trustee said.

Ameer and Jaseem both showed the Daily Mirror the docket which they provided to the authorities on March 27, 2017. The docket details the hatred espoused by Zahran, and contradicts the version of the NTJ that the radicalisation took place after he fled from the police.

The complaint includes preachings by Zahran to the effect that Islam should be the only religion in the island,and that Muslims should not pledge allegiance to the country.

” We gave this to the authorities in black and white. We told them that these guys were preaching some crazy radicalised fundamentalism and that there is a threat to our lives. We did this from as far back as 2012″  Jaseem told the Daily Mirror.

According to those at the National Thawheed Jamath mosque, Zahran had single handedly originated a new denomination and built a mosque through donations given by those attending Jumma prayers” an account rubbished by Ameer.

They opened a new mosque because they got funds from foreign entities. They couldn’t be with the other fundamentalists because the money wasn’t coming in,” Jaseem told us.

The members of the NTJ however,  insist that up until his fleeing from the Police following the clashes on March 10, 2017 Zahran was a peaceful preacher.

We did a lot of charity work and we followed Islam how it should be,” they told us adding that it was following his postings in June 2017 that they realized Zahran had deviated from their path. However, according to the sister Madaniya his radical preaching commenced before.

He had just stared to preach things against the Government, against courts, and against other religions. He may have had 2 to 3 sermons like that when the clash took place in March,” she told us, refuting the underground radicalization” claim of the NTJ members.

Zahran had preached from time to time during the Five years commencing 2012 to 2017 at various junctions”. By all accounts he was a preacher who could hold a crowd. Around 2000 to 3000 people participated at his public sermons although they didn’t go to his mosque,” we were told.

I met Zeyin and his Family last around February,” Madaniya told the Daily Mirror. She claims to have had no contact with Rilwan who had also fled together with his brother Zahran following the clashes of March 10, 2017.

Intelligence sources claim that Zahran may not have been one of the bombers as they scramble to make distinct identification of them. Zahran and his family accordingly may still be at large.

I fear for my safety. We live under a lot of tension,” Madaniya said. Its unbearable to know what has happened. I don’t want to have anything to do with him and hope he is dead,” she told the Daily Mirror.

When asked as to what she believes is the reason her immediate family have been untraceable she said she assumed the worst.

They must have joined him. They never spoke to me about him because they knew my husband didn’t like him. I am the only one who has to take on all of this blame and suffering now. I don’t want to have anything to do with any of them,” she said after being asked of the alternative of the family being alive.

Moulavi Thawufeek insisted that the actions have got nothing to do with religion”. These are despicable acts and have got nothing to do with religon” he said after quoting the Quranic verse stating that the killing of a single man meant the killing of humanity”.

Thawufeek who succeeded Zahran had known the suspected mastermind since 2002. I knew him from the time he was reading at the Al- Falah Madrasa. He couldn’t complete his studies and had to leave in 2007”.

Thawufeek together with the rest present in the mosque insisted that they had not watched the vidoes of Hashim following the realization of his radicalization.

Yes he was an ISIS sympathizer and we were told of it by people. But we didn’t watch his videos” they said.

According to Moulavi Thawfueek, Intelligence Agencies were fully aware of Zahran and his preaching.

” During the past two years they used to visit the mosque at least once a week if not more. They were here a few weeks ago too” he said, sentiments concurred by the rest of the gathering.

When asked as to if he had followers of his doctrine amongst them, he said that they could not be certain.

What you have in your heart only you would know. Even if people were supporters of ISIS they wouldn’t come out openly and tell us,” he said.

Carrying her 10 month old son, Madaniya said she fears for her safety, sentiments echoed by the members of the NTJ too.

” Im the only one from the family and its alot of heartbreak and suffering” she said.

Moulavi Thawufeek also insisted that they remained fearful.

” The forces walk in and out every other day and we might not be able to practice our religion. We are fearful that this mosque we built with so much hardship will be brought down. We are also living under a lot of tension and we want our side of the story told” he said.

Ameer and Jaseem of the Badriya mosque were also fearful of theirs.

We were the only people who stood up against this fundamentalist and we fear for our lives. They will come after us” they said.

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