Sri Lanka: Poet detained for allegedly ‘promoting Muslim extremism’ in his poetry book

18 January 2021
Image: Ahnaf Jazeem / Ahnaf Jazeem on Facebook


Poet Ahnaf Jazeem remains in detention after being arrested in May 2020 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) for allegedly “promoting Muslim extremism” in his poetry book Navarasam / Nine different moods, reported World Socialist Web Site.        

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) alleges that Jazeem’s Navarasam / Nine different moods book indicates that he supports terrorism. According to WSWS, the poetry book “promotes peace and ethnic unity” and condemns violence and acts of ISIS.

On the grounds of the book being circulated among minors, the Fort Magistrates’ Court in Colombo has received a report from a child psychiatrists at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children evaluating a poetry book translation stating that Jazeem’s poetry “incites violence, arouses sexual feelings, promotes suicide, glorifies death, talks of perceived injustice against Muslims across the world, and incites hatred against the perpetrators of violence in some of the poems.”

The court hearing was scheduled on 8 December 2020, and it has been rescheduled for March 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

The Sri Lanka Young Journalists’ Association has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission urging for the intervention.

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