Colombo: One of the Easter Sunday suicide bombers, who attempted to bomb the luxury Taj Samudra hotel here, was radicalised by British-Pakistani radical preacher Anjem Choudary while he was studying at a university in London, according to a media report.
Abdul Latheef Mohamed Jameel, 37, who hailed from a wealthy family involved in the tea trade, reportedly met the radical preacher while studying at Kingston University, the BBC reported.
Choudary, 52, is considered one of the UK’s most influential and dangerous radical preachers. He was convicted and jailed in 2016 for inviting support for the Islamic State group but was released in 2018.
Counter-extremism experts early this year had warned that Choudary’s extremist group al-Muhajiroun network was regenerating itself.
Jameel, a father of four children, was the link between local radicals and IS or other Islamist groups based abroad, Sri Lannkan security officers told the BBC. Jameel was one of the nine bombers who carried out a series of blasts targeting three churches and three hotels in Colombo in which which nearly 360 people were killed.
Jameel’s target on April 21 Easter bombings was the Taj Samudra hotel of Tata Group’s hospitality arm, Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL). But his bomb probably failed and he was seen leaving the premises. He later blew himself up at a motel in the suburb of Dehiwala, killing two guests.
Jameel studied in the UK and Australia before he tried to go to Syria. Several years ago, his family became concerned about his hardline views and enlisted the help of a security official. A security official told the BBC: “He (Jameel) was completely radicalised and supported the extremist ideology. I tried to reason with him.
“When I asked him how he got into this… he said that he attended the sermons of the radical British preacher Anjem Choudary in London. He said he met him during the sermons.”