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Sri Lanka: Colombo orders Islamist clerics to leave February 2, 2012

Posted by southasiamasala in : Future Directions International, Guest authors, Sri Lanka , comments closed

Jahnu Russell, Future Directions International Associate

Reprinted from Future Directions International, Strategic Weekly Analysis, 1 February 2012. Read the full story.

The move by the Sri Lankan Government to order a group of 161 foreign Islamic clerics to leave the country by 31 January highlights the role of a global Islamic group that is challenging the more moderate indigenous form of Sufi Islam in Sri Lanka.

According to the Controller of Immigration and Emigration, Chulananda Perera, the clerics belonged to the Tablighi Jamaat group. They had entered the country on tourism visas in small batches, without officially applying for permission to preach. The clandestine nature of their arrival brings to light the activities of the largest Muslim proselytising organisation in the world. It is estimated to have between 80-150 million followers.