161 Muslim clerics were “not teaching a moderate form of Islam,” according to some of the local Muslims. How is it that 161 clerics who had devoted their lives to following and teaching Islam came to misunderstand their peaceful religion so profoundly?
“Sri Lanka ‘expels 161 foreign Muslim clerics,'” from the BBC, January 22 (thanks to Joseph):
Sri Lanka has reportedly ordered 161 foreign Muslim preachers to leave the country for flouting visa regulations.
A senior immigration official was quoted as saying that the clerics had no right to preach in mosques because they had arrived on tourist visas.
He also said that some local Muslims had complained that the visitors were not teaching a moderate form of Islam.
The preachers – from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, the Maldives and Arab nations – must now leave by 31 January.
“They have violated immigration laws. A tourist visa is to have a holiday or visit friends and family, and not to preach Islam,” Sri Lanka’s immigration head Chulananda Perera told the AFP news agency.
Mr Perera said the group belonged to Tablighi Jamaat – an international Islamic movement popular in Sri Lanka and the region.
A Muslim source told the BBC that the movement sends groups of preachers to places of worship, urging Muslims to devote more time to their faith and act more devoutly.
Any idea that they were militant was laughable, the source added….
Of course! But who exactly is laughing?