Colombo, April 25: The sister of a man believed to the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday carnage in Sri Lanka is furious with her brother for causing so much pain and suffering to others.
Mohammad Hashim Madaniya has found out that her brother, Zahran Hashim, is the alleged ringleader of a group of suicide bombers who attacked churches and hotels on Sunday, killing more than 350 people, media reports say.
The young mother of two, who lives in the eastern town of Kattankudy, says she is horrified by what he has done and fears what could happen next, the BBC reported.
The police have interviewed her but she is not being treated as a suspect.
It’s still not clear if Hashim, who allegedly led a group of bombers, is alive or dead.
Hashim, said to be around 40 years, was the eldest of five siblings. The sister insists she has had no contact with her brother since 2017, when he went underground after police tried to arrest him over violence between two Muslim groups. Since Sunday’s bloodbath, a video has emerged in which a man believed to be Zahran Hashim appears pledging allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“I came to know about his activities only through the media. I never thought, even for a moment, that he would do such a thing,” says Madaniya.
“I strongly deplore what he has done. Even if he is my brother, I cannot accept this. I don’t care about him any more.”
According to the Daily Mirror, her brother was a radical Islamist preacher and came to notice some years ago after he posted several videos on YouTube and other social media platforms denouncing non-believers.
The videos triggered concern among other Muslims, some of whom took up the matter with Sri Lankan authorities but were ignored.
Media reports say that the man disappeared with other members of his family just before the Easter Sunday attacks. It is not clear if he is in hiding or has left Sri Lanka.
Kattankudy is located close to Batticaloa town where the Zion Church was one of the three churches — one each in Colombo and Negombo — was bombed on Easter Sunday. At least 28 people were killed in Batticaloa.