Exclusive: Why did no one pay attention to Zahran’s final video?

Surprisingly, this vital source went unnoticed by the commissions appointed to investigate the attacks.

by Our Defence Correspondent

The following may contain sensitive materials; Sri Lanka Guardian does not support these materials of extremists under any circumstance but believes it is important to be aware of its destructive influence - Editors

What is the most crucial source to know the true mentality of the suicide bombers who carried out the shocking Easter Attacks in 2019? Do you know there is a lengthy video recorded by the terror leader with his fanatics? But, why has no one paid attention to this almost twenty minutes long video recorded by Zahran Hashim, the ring leader and radicals, just a few days before the Easter attacks?  

Screengrab: Zahran Hashim preparing for video record 

Reliable sources affirmed that Zahran had requested his followers to release this recorded video after the bombings. However, the radicals who worked with Zahran were unable to release the video as the computer stored the video was seized in Ampara during the raid by the law enforcement agencies. Surprisingly, this vital source went unnoticed by the commissions appointed to investigate the attacks. 

According to reliable sources, the copies of the video have been submitted before the commissions of inquiry on Easter Attacks appointed by competent authorities, but no member of any commission on the subject seems to have paid attention. Consequently, the whole scenario has been unpleasantly politicized by certain parties and manufactured various forms of conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, some parties are using this incident to manipulate the general public while insulting those who have nothing to do with Islamic fanatics.

Screengrab from the video 

The group, including the cardinal of the Catholic Church in Colombo, has made several criticisms, prioritizing various inaccuracies and conspiracies. First, the Cardinal says that attacks were plotted by one Western nation to disable the country. Then he says that was the result of an ill-managed government led by Former President Sirisena. Later he started pointing out at the incumbent President Rajapaksa and the country’s intelligence agencies. However, there is no clear evidence to support any of these hypotheses. But sadly the lives of those targeted by the cardinal and his circle are in danger.  

The tendency of giving priority to unpleasant political ambitions while concealing the solid evidence that came from the horse’s mouth shows that some are trying to use this carnage as a pretext to achieve their desires. Unfortunately, the Cardinal, as well as the Catholic Church, maybe misleading by certain parties to achieve their objectives. 

Islamic extremism is a global phenomenon. There is no physical centre for this fanaticism but a highly sophisticated web. Therefore, Easter carnage is an event faced not only by the Catholic Church but the whole world; therefore everyone has the right to know the truth. However, Colombo Catholic Church and most of the groups talking about these terror attacks are engaging in dirty politics without paying attention to the substance where this fanaticism grow.  

Screengrab from the video 

The important thing here is to understand the lessons taught by these extremist attacks and to work together to prevent such attacks in the future. This national responsibility cannot be fulfilled by politicizing this incident and socializing false information. Therefore, we need to understand the deep reality of Islamic extremism and its possible consequences. 

In this context, it is imperative to carefully study the twenty minutes long video recorded by Zahran and his team in one of the locations somewhere in Colombo suburb a few days before the attacks. We believed that it is not appropriate to publish the entire contents of that video as the threat of Islamic extremists still exists. But Zahran in his speech created a path for others to comprehend the frightening nature of Islamic extremism.  

Screengrab from the video: Zahran removing the clip-on microphone after the recording 

"Remember that our opinion is superior to our own. Life is the fight for Aqidah. In the name of Allah, this effort will not be in vain. By shedding our blood, this Dar ul Kufr (land of disbelief) will become Dar ul Islam (land of Islam). Pure Islamic people who are willing to sacrifice for Islamic country and ISIS will certainly spread throughout this country," (Not the official translation) Zahran said while detailing the views expressed by his extremist religious ideology on killing unbelievers. The beginning of the video originally pointed out ten reasons for their suicide bombing. 

"The disbelievers, our Lord says in the Quran that the people with Abraham and Abraham will destroy the disbelievers and create a land of Allah without them.” (Not the official translation

"Kafirs, there is no talk between you and us. But only the sharpness of the knife and the sword speaks. You must know that our ijtihad is the beginning of this Great War. From now on, bombs will explode in one place after another. It will change from day to night and night to day. Volcanoes erupt from the soles of your feet,” (Not the official translation) he said.  

In this video, Zahran disclosed all information about the background to the attacks and his expectations.  

"Are you sleeping? This one also sleeping, it's not good Bhahi (Brother). Look, he's been sleeping since the beginning. This video is all about this. Come on wake up. We have to do it again. This is not going to work,” (Not the official translation) Zahran expressed his dissatisfaction and asked his fellow suicide bombers not to sleep during the recording.  

Then again seven bombers and Zahran came in front of the camera and tried to record the video. Three of them are seen in front of the camera holding three knives while Zahran is holding his firearm. It is clear that they recorded the video themselves without the assistance of a third party. 

On several occasions during the recording, Zahran, who is not satisfied with his speech, repeats his thoughts again and again. We decided not to detail most of his ideas mentioned in this video as they may be motivated the extremists and it may produce oxygen for radicalization.  

Screengrab from the video 

 However, it is vital for those who are committing to finding the real culprits behind the attacks and willing to engineer a socio-economic mechanism so then they would prevent reoccurrence to study this video.   

It is a surprise to learn that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith was the first to oppose the implementation of the deradicalization programme on extremists behind the bars. Instead, he and various social groups, including the Catholic clergies loyal to him, began to engage in unnecessary politics instead of seeking the truth about the attacks and helping to heal the wounds of the victims. Isn’t it something we as a country should be ashamed of? 

“Oh disbelievers, we have explosives to target you and detonate them. They were made by us. How can we help?  We will make the explosives by ourselves and bring them to you. All Muslims can try it too," (Not the official translation) Zahran said. 

At the end of his speech, all terrorists came together to take the oath known as Bay'at Bayat to carry out the suicide bombings. Apparently, the last few seconds of this act were already published in pro-ISIS publications a few hours later the attacks. 

But, the question is remains. How did the Commissions of Inquiry appointed for collecting the data on the attacks ignored this crucial source? What has happened is that these barbaric terrorist attacks have fallen victim to pseudo-conspiracy theorists in various guises and give the last laugh to those who are responsible for it. Isn’t it the moment to open your eyes?