COLOMBO:Sharfaz Shuraih Muhsin alias Abu Shureih Seylani (37), the alleged Sri Lankan recruit to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who died in an air strike in Syria on July 12, had told his family prior to his departure for the Middle East war zone, that he was going to Turkey to do relief work among the victims of the war.
Hilmy Ahamed of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) told Express here on Wednesday, that Muhsin’s family appears to have believed him because he had done relief work in Sri Lanka when the tsunami struck the island in December 2004.
“While the immediate family was OK with his going for relief work, his in-laws were opposed to it, even if it was only for relief work. The family had come to know about his death in combat only after someone sent an ISIS video about it,” Ahamed said.
A student of the prestigious Trinity College in Kandy and a karate instructor, Muhsin was the Principal of a Muslim-run “International” (or English medium) school in Galewela in Kandy district in Central Lanka till December 2014.
According to Mohammad Sahabdeen Mohammad Samir, the Principal of the school where Muhsin worked, he had told the school that he was going to Mecca on pilgrimage but never came back.
A married man, Muhsin was living in Colombo before he supposedly left for Turkey. He was passionate about Islamic law and had got an LLB in Sharia law from the International Islamic University in Pakistan, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ajith Perera said. He acquired the name Abu Shureih Seylani after joining the ISIS. Seylani means a man from Seylan, the Arabic term for Ceylon or Sri Lanka.
The MCSL condemned Niram’s involvement with the ISIS and said that the ISIS’s actions are a gross violation of the Sharia as well as Humanitarian Laws. “Islam is a religion of mercy and tolerance that totally prohibits the taking of innocent lives. There is no theological basis for any crimes to be committed through terrorism or violence,” it said in a letter to President Mithripala Sirisena. The MCSL called upon the President to conduct a thorough investigation, punish all who may have violated the laws of the land. Ahamed, however, added that Lankan Muslims believe that the ISIS is a creation of the US and Israel to tarnish the image of Muslims. “There is photographic evidence of a top US leader meeting ISIS leaders in 2011,” he claimed.