Police arrest Islamic preacher for inciting extremism on social media

Police arrest Islamic preacher for inciting extremism on social media

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group, the National Thawheed Jamaath (NTJ), for the bombings. Later on Monday, authorities extended the curfew to more villages in Kurunegala district to restore order. "When mobs tried to attack mosques, we fired in the air and used tear gas to disperse them".

"Several shops have been attacked", a senior police officer told Agence France-Presse.

The main body of Islamic clerics, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), said there was increased suspicion of Muslims after the Easter attacks carried out by local jihadists.

Last week, social media services were banned in Negombo following a traffic dispute between Muslims and Christians. A second ban was imposed on May 5th after ethnic tensions erupted in Negombo, one of the cities targeted in the bombings.

"We call upon the members of the Muslim communities to be more patient and guard your actions and avoid unnecessary postings or hosting on social media", the ACJU said.

On Twitter, Sri Lanka's leading mobile phone operator, Dialog Axiata Plc, said it had also received instructions to block the apps Viber, IMO, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube until further notice.

On Sunday, the Catholic Church held the first regular Sunday Mass since the attacks amid tight security.

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The government's warning against panic caused on social media: Sri Lanka's defence secretary General (Rtd) Shantha Kottegoda urged the public to approach the authorities with security threats instead of spreading it online, stating that it "would only cause panic and unrest".

Police have arrested the individual who made the controversial post.

Police said there were sporadic incidents of mobs throwing stones and torching shops, motorcycles and cars owned by Muslims.

He added that it was safe for tourists to return to the Indian Ocean island nation.

Citing sources, the daily revealed that radical Muslim preachers were members of worldwide networks of terror groups, like al-Qaeda* and Daesh*, that have the imposition of radical Islam in the countries of their domicile as their ultimate goal through the use of terrorism. Nine suicide bombers, allegedly led by Zahran Hashim of Batticaloa, and including a woman, were identified by officials as chiefly responsible.

Muslims make up around 10 per cent of Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka's 21 million-strong population and Christians about 7.6 per cent.

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