Bangladesh is new hunting ground and the latest front of the Islamic State(IS) in the South Asia region for its militant activities and as an important base to launch its attacks in India from, the group has hinted. BuzzFeed and dna reported on Thursday . But Bangladesh police denied IS link with Bangladeshi militant groups.
Bangladesh police authority said Harunvoice,`We do not have such kind of information.’
After a series of isolated attacks since last year that included beheading of foreign nationals and those from the minority community, the Islamic State has now formally accepted allegiance from a small group of local jihadis in Bangladesh and accepted them as part of the group’s main operations.
According to BuzzFeed and dna, in the latest edition of the group’s mouthpiece Dabiq magazine, released online on Wednesday, the Islamic State or IS has announced the new emir of Bengal and its plans to spread sharia in Bangladesh and India. In an interview published in the magazine, Sheikh Abu Ibrahim al Hanafi (real identity unknown) is introduced as the emir (chief leader) of soldiers of Khilafah in Bengal. Abu Ibrahim has vowed to banish the deviant and apostate sects in Bengal in order to bring Bangladesh under the fold of IS’s version of puritanical Islam as well as to make use of the country’s strategic geographical location to launch jihadi operations in India and Burma.
“Having a strong jihad base in Bengal will facilitate performing guerilla attacks inside India simultaneously from both sides and facilitate creating a condition of tawahhush in India along with the help of the existing local mujahidin there…,” Abu Ibrahim says, while highlighting the importance of Bengal in the IS’s global strategy.
The syncretic form of Islam practiced in South Asia particularly in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia has been a major impediment for global jihadi groups like al Qaeda and the IS for recruiting and conducting military operations in the region. Abu Ibrahim blames the Bengali Muslims for deviating from the ‘true understanding of the Salaf’ (the original followers of Prophet Mohammad in the seventh century) as well as the local political parties who aim for secular democracy instead of Islamic rule in Bangladesh. Neighbouring India and its majority Hindu population is seen by the IS as enemies of Islam and from extending the the Caliphate in Bengal.
Abu Ibrahim says that the local government helmed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is an ally of India and has been supporting Indian intelligence (RA&W) to target Islamists and Muslims in Bangladesh since the country’s liberation in 1971. “Thus, we believe Sharia in Bengal won’t be achieved until the local Hindus are targeted in mass numbers and until a state of polarisation is created in the region, dividing between the believers and the disbelievers.”
Among those targeted in a series of beheadings and killings in Bangladesh claimed by IS since last year includes two Hindus, Christians, Ahmadiyas and foreign nationals from Japan and Italy.
Authorities in Bangladesh have repeatedly denied and shot down the claims of violent attacks as IS’s handiwork. Investigations and subsequent arrests in the attacks claimed by IS have lead to local jihadi group the Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). It is however not clear if Sheikh Abu Ibrahim is a member of JMB.
While Abu Ibrahim admits that his followers who have pledged allegiance to IS are small in numbers and have limited means for military operations, the IS branch in Bangladesh has the ability to communicate and receive co-operation with IS’s base in Khorasan. He also assures that Rohingyas in Burma for long oppressed by the majority Buddhist population will be looked after, as and when the group extends its capabilities beyond Bengal.
Dabiq has also profiled Abu Jandal al-Bangali, a young man from Dhaka who died in Syria. Jandal belongs from affluent military family and his father fought against Pakistan to liberate Bangladesh.
Deputy police commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Pilice(DMP) Maruf Hossain Sadar said Harunvoice.` We have no such information that IS launched new front in Bangladesh. As Dabiq did not specify any militant organization of Bangladesh which is connected with IS, I think they do not have relation with the Bangladeshi militant group. Even they do not know them.’
Author: Harun Ur Rashid