Whether Mr. Zaharan had found the Islamic State or the Islamic State, they seemed to be inseparable. Elsewhere, as in Indonesia and the Philippines, the Islamic State has been able to fight Islamic radicals with local grievances and bring them into the global lee of terror.
By 2017, Mr. Zaharan and his followers targeted a Sufi sect in Kattankudy, accusing his members of being infidels, even though Sufis are Muslims who practice a mystical form of faith. After distributing rice packages to the poor in Kattankudy, an action that Mr. Zaharan believed was an attempt to buy hungry converts, he took a sword and accused the crowd.
However, about ten of his followers were arrested, including his father and other relatives. Surprisingly, detained members of National Thowheeth Jama'ath succeeded in winning over a high-ranking lawyer from Colombo to represent a small group from a remote part of Sri Lanka.
H.M. Ameer, a member of the Sufi community, said he and other Sufis repeatedly contacted the police to warn against Zaharan extremism. They sent a thick file to Colombo. But there was little result, said Mr Ameer. His assessment reiterated recent complaints that the Sri Lankan authorities had not repeatedly referred to the warnings of foreign intelligence agencies that Zaharan had planned a catastrophic attack.
On Thursday, Sufis in Kattankudy received a warning from the Sri Lankan Investigation Authority Their holy sites could be attacked on Friday by militants with Mr. Zaharan who are still on the run.
Facing soldiers guarding the Badhriyyah Jumah Mosque, where he and other Sufis worshiped, Mr. Ameer shook his head. [19659002"WirhabensiegewarntdassdieserManndenWahhabismusvehementverbreitethatunddasserdenDschihadfordert"sagteer"EswardraußenklarwiederTagNichtswurdegetan"