BOOK REVIEW: Sri Lanka's Easter Sunday Massacre: Lessons for International Community by Rohan Gunaratna


  • Mohamed Fouz Mohamed Zacky International Islamic University Malaysia



Rohan Gunaratna, Sri Lanka, terrorism, extremism, radicalization, Islamic State ideology, massacre


Rohan Gunaratna's recent publication titled Sri Lankas Easter Sunday Massacre: Lessons for International Community tries to explore the “Easter Attack massacre” and its root causes in Sri Lanka. The work would indeed become one of the main references for those interested in exploring the sources and roots of the Easter Attack. Although the Easter Sunday massacre was a watershed event in Sri Lankan history as well as the ‘September 11 of Sri Lankan Muslims, there has been a lack of detailed analysis on the subject thus far. In this sense, Gunaratna's work could be seen as the first detailed study of the tragedy, elaborating on the background of the bombers, their preparations, and the execution. In the aftermath of the attack, there has been a serious public debate on the nature of tragedy and its root causes. Participating in this debate, Imthiyaz Razak argued that the Easter attacks were a by-product of both “violence against Muslims since 2012”, unleashed by the Sinhala-Buddhist extremists and cultural exclusivism of Muslims, enabled by the political bargaining between the majoritarian state and minority political elites. For his part, Rajan Hoole argued in his work Sri Lanka's Easter Tragedy that the Easter Attack was the result of the entrenched phenomenon of the deep state that tries to manipulate religious extremists for their political ends. For him, the Easter Attack was more political than ideological. However, Gunaratna stressed the point that the Easter Attack directly resulted from the religious radicalization of a segment of the Muslim community in Sri Lanka, who embraced the Salafi-Wahhabism ideology of political Islam. The book elaborates this argument through a lengthy introduction and subsequent four chapters. 


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Author Biography

Mohamed Fouz Mohamed Zacky, International Islamic University Malaysia

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, International Islamic University Malaysia.



How to Cite

Mohamed Zacky, Mohamed Fouz. 2023. “BOOK REVIEW: Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday Massacre: Lessons for International Community by Rohan Gunaratna”. Al-Shajarah: Journal of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC) 28 (2):425-30.