Sri Lankan authorities have arrested a Saudi-educated scholar for what they claim are links with Zahran Hashim, the suspected ringleader of the Easter Sunday bombings, throwing a spotlight on the rising influence of Salafi-Wahhabi Islam on the island’s Muslims.
Mohamed Aliyar, 60, is the founder of the Centre for Islamic Guidance, which boasts a mosque, a religious school and a library in Zahran’s hometown of Kattankudy, a Muslim-dominated city on Sri Lanka’s eastern shores.
“Information has been revealed that the suspect arrested had a close relationship with ... Zahran and had been operating financial transactions,” said a police statement late on Friday.
The statement said Aliyar was “involved” with training in the southern town of Hambantota for the group of suicide bombers who attacked hotels and churches on Easter, killing over 250 people.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first trip abroad since the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi will offer an early indication of the repercussions he faces from the gruesome slaying. The prince is visiting close allies in the Middle East before attending the Group of 20 summit in Argentina on Nov. 30, where he will come face to face with President Donald Trump, who has defended U.S. ties with the kingdom, as well as European leaders and Turkey’s president, who has kept pressure mounting on Riyadh since Khashoggi was killed and dismembered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. “It’s really going to be about can you travel to the rest of Western capitals for the foreseeable future and expect to sort of shake people’s hands, and I’m not sure that that’s the case,” said H.A. Hellyer, a scholar at the Royal United Services Institute and Atlantic Council. The trip, aimed at rebuilding his image and reinforcing ties with allies, promises to offer a contrast to the prince’s lengthy tour across the United States in April, where he met Michael Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch, Disney chief Bob Iger, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Apple’s Tim Cook and former President George H. Bush, among many others. “There’s no way he could do that sort of trip right now,” Hellyer said. The crown prince’s plan to attend the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires “tells me that he feels that he’s ridden out the storm, or that in order for him to
Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, 31st youngest son of King Abdulaziz and Hassa bint Ahmed Al Sudairi was born in 1942 in Riyadh Province of Saudi Arabia. Ahmed is also the youngest member of Sudairi brothers. The young Prince was raised by his mother and brothers following King Abdulaziz’s death when he was eleven years old in 1953. Ahmed’s eldest brother became the prince father figure.
Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud attained primary and second education from Princes School and attended Anjal Institute in Riyadh, secondary school up to 1961. The Prince studied English and Science subjects in the University of Southern California (USC) and graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1968.
Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi, said: “This is an incident that took place in a diplomatic mission … In such a situation the Saudi Arabian authorities are responsible for this… The Saudi Arabian authorities know how such a murder was carried out… They need to explain. President Trump should help reveal the truth and ensure justice be served. He should not pave the way for a cover-up of my fiancée’s murder. Let’s not let money taint our conscience and compromise our values.”