Colombo, May 4 (newsin.asia): Dr.Rohan Gunaratna, a pre-eminent Sri Lankan expert on terrorism, especially West Asian terrorism, has called upon Sri Lanka to enact a Cyber law which will criminalize both posting and keeping extremist content on-line.
“Both the person who posts and the service provider who keeps the content should be held criminally liable. One of the reasons why the terror leader Zahran could not be arrested was because there was no law against preaching hatred,” Dr.Gunaratna, author of the international bestseller “Inside al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (University of Columbia Press) said.
Currently Professor of Security Studies at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Dr.Gunaratna said that the “government should also set up within the Security Forces, a Cyber Force to counter on-line extremist content.”
“Furthermore, government should create an internet referral unit where the public can report extremist content,” he added.
Parliament should pass a “Harmony Act” which will criminalize hate speech especially incitement to violence. Those insulting the ethnicity and religion of others should be held criminally liable.
“If there was a Harmony Act, terror leader Zahran could have been arrested long ago, and the Easter Sunday carnage would not have happened,” he pointed out.
Given the fact some Sri Lankans had gone overseas as students only to get radicalized, those wanting to go abroad for studies should get a No Objection Certificate from the Ministry of Education.
“Sri Lankans should not be permitted to study in certain schools and universities producing extremists and terrorists. Certain educational institutions in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen produce radical preachers,” Dr.Gunaratna said.
He urged the government to draw up a Black List of radical preachers and ban their entry into Sri Lanka. At the same time, government should criminalize the sale and distribution of radical books and publications.
Foreign religious preachers should be given a visa only after getting clearance from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Intelligence agencies. These bodies must go through the applicant’s speeches and writings before sanctioning the visa.
“The preacher should also sign a declaration to promote moderation, tolerance and co-existence,” Dr.Gunaratna said.
Further, anyone preaching in Sri Lanka should get a permit and should sign a declaration that what they preach will be suitable for a multi-ethnic and multi-religious Sri Lanka.
Dr.Rohan Gunaratna said that the religious and ethnic segregation in schools and classes in Sri Lanka should be replaced by a multi-ethnic and multi-religious school and class system.
“Segregated education breeds suspicions, prejudice, resentment, anger, hatred and violence. Separate schools and classrooms for Sinhala, Tamil, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Muslim students do not raise Sri Lankans,” he maintained.
“Government should also introduce a course in Comparative Religion and getting a pass in this should be mandatory,” Dr.Gunaratna said.
The expert further said all International Schools must submit for governmental approval, their courses of study and should introduce a compulsory course in comparative religion.