Ex-Chairman of National Thowheed Jamaath tells PCoI
By Rathindra Kuruwita
Muslims from all over the world donated to the National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ), a former chairman of the terrorist organisation, Mohamed Yusuf Mohamed Tawfiq Moulavi, who is currently in remand custody told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks on Saturday.
“I don’t know much about the specifics. I don’t know who exactly donated to the NTJ account. But there is a ledger on the expenses. I maintained that with the NTJ Treasurer, a man named Mastakeen.”
However, Mohamed insisted that he was not an extremist and that if he had known that NTJ leader Zahran Hashim was an adherent of ISIS ideology, he would never have joined the NTJ.
The representative of the Attorney General’s Department (AGD), who led evidence, told the witness that he had shared some videos of Zahran on his social media platforms. Given that Zahran’s posts were sectarian and fundamentalist by nature how Mohamed could claim that he had not been aware of Zahran’s ideology, the counsel asked.
“I only shared Zahran’s speeches that I agreed with. I have not shared any speech that promotes extremism or ISIS,” the witness said.
Although Mohamed said that he was not aware of Zahran’s extremism, the AG’s Department representative said the NTJ’s media unit had boosted Zahran’s extremist speeches.
The counsel asked how come Mohamed, the Chairman of the NTJ, had missed those extremist speeches.
“I am human. I could not observe Zahran all the time. I have also not seen any of these videos that promote extremism,” the witness said.
Mohamed said there had been a clash in Kattankudy on 10 March 2017 between the NTJ and members of Sunnath Wal Jamath group and that Zharan had gone missing thereafter. Since then he had had no contacts with Zahran, the witness said, stressing that he served as the Chairman of the NTJ in 2016 and joined the organization upon a request by Zahran Hashim.
Members of the PCoI then asked the witness when he had found out that Zahran was involved in the Easter Sunday attacks.
Mohamed: “Two days after the attack, the CID and the TID came to my house and asked if I could identify Zahran’s head. I was the one who identified it.
A Commissioner: “How did NTJ devotees respond to Zahran’s involvement?
Mohamed: “They were angry with Zahran.”
A Commissioner: Was the NTJ registered with the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU)?
Mohamed – No.