Sri Lanka, Easter massacre: "no evidence" against the Islamic State

The April 21st attacks caused 263 victims. The Caliphate claimed them in a video message, but the Colombo government blames two local Islamic groups. The radical Wahhabi doctrine spread by preachers who arrived on the island with the connivance of the authorities.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - There is no clear evidence that terrorists of the Islamic State (IS) carried out the Easter massacres in Sri Lanka, according to the head of the Colombo criminal investigations department, revealing that the investigation conducted so far has not revealed "direct links" with the Caliphate.

The massacre perpetrated in three churches and three luxury hotels in the capital has cost the lives of 263 people and has caused the wounding of another 600, mostly Christian faithful.

The revelation of Ravi Seneviratne, also head of the terrorism investigation department, is a further piece added to the complicated puzzle of last April 21.

Two days after the attacks, IS militants released a claim video on the Amaq agency, the group's official body.

However, the Colombo authorities have always maintained that the responsibility lies with two local Islamic groups (National Thowheed Jamath and the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen) with alleged affiliations with foreign powers.

According to the official, there are no obvious links with the Caliphate, but "those who carried out the attacks have spread the ideology of the Islamic State, so it can be said that the attacks were inspired by IS".

After the attacks, the presence of various groups linked to radical Islam emerged, particularly in the area of ​​Batticaloa, the place where one of the three affected churches was attacked, the Zion Church (Protestant Evangelical).

The radicalism present on the island goes back above all to the Wahhabi matrix, thanks to the preachers from Saudi Arabia and to the huge funds given by the latter for the construction of mosques and madrassas.

The proliferation of Islamic places of worship was also favored by the connivance of the government, which depends in part on the Muslim electorate, and Muslim deputies. Following the attacks public wrath was unleashed against them, pushing them to resign en masse.

For its part, the Islamic community of Sri Lanka has admitted on several occasions its own faults and promised to control the spread of extremist ideas, especially among young people.

The Catholic Church of the island, and in particular its leader Card. Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, condemned the massacres and the silence of Western powers that support the sponsor countries of terrorism.

At the same time, the Cardinal stressed that "the fault is not of religions", therefore the responsibility of the gesture made by some extremists cannot fall on all those who profess the same faith.