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New al Qaeda affiliated organization Ansarullah Bangla Team

11 Sep 2013

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Ansarullah Bangla Team is an extremely militant group affiliated to al Quada.

 It has recently made its presence felt in Bangladesh by ruthlessly assassinating Ahmed Razib Hyder, a pro- Shahbag activist, on February 15, 2013. Salman Yaseer Mahmud who masreminded the murder of Ahmed Razib Hyder was earlier an activist of Jamaat’s student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir. Another Shahbag activist Asif Mahiuddin was also attacked by the Ansarullah Bangla Team, but he miraculously escaped.

 

The existence of Ansarullah Bangla Team came to light in March during interrogation of five students enrolled at a prestigious university in Dhaka. They were arrested in connection with brutal murder of Ahmed Razib Hyder who played a key role in organizing the Shahbag movement demanding execution of Islamists on trial for atrocities committed during the liberation war in 1971.

 

Police got the first clue about Ansarullah Bangla Team’s existence in Bangladesh from ‘Ansar al Mujahideen English Forum’ (AAMEF), an al Quaeda affiliated website which posted news of the arrested students with the headlines ‘five lions of Ummah’. Further probe into the website gave clues about another website, ‘bab-ul-islam.net’ launched last year in Pakistan. This website reveals that Ansarullah Bangla Team was founded at North South University in Dhaka and it was modeled on Iraqi al Quaeda group Ansar-ul-Islam. It mostly targeted students from English medium colleges and universities for recruitment.

 

Activists of Ansarullah Bangla Team from Dhaka’s North South University became active in Bangladesh towards the end of 2012 through AAMEF website advocating jihad in Bangla, Urdu and Arabic languages. This militant organization geared up its campaign for armed jihad in Bangladesh recently in its website and those who carried out murderous assault on Ahmed Razib Hyder were deeply motivated by the sermon by its spiritual leader and radical Islamist Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani.

 

Following the murder of Ahmed Razib Hyder, police arrested Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani, founder head of the militant Islamic group along with 30 of his followers from a hideout at South Khejurtola, district Barguna.

 

Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani, a follower of Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni spiritual leader of al Quaeda in the Arab peninsula who was killed in a US Drone attack in 2011, has been carrying out his activities in Bangladesh with impunity for the last couple of years. The police recovered a ‘hit list’ of 12 persons from the militant Islamist group.

 

Only few months after law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh claimed that they have made tremendous progress in curbing militancy and subduing Islamist organizations, the sudden appearance of Ansarullah Bangla Team has come as a bolt from the blue.

 

Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani’s enormous capacity to motivate youngsters to plunge headlong into jihad can be envisaged from the fact that those indoctrinated by him include Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a 22 year old Bangladeshi recently jailed for 30 years in the US for plotting to bomb US Federal Reserve Bank in New York last year. Another is Razib Karim, a computer expert working for British Airways who was jailed for 30 years in the UK for plotting to blow up a British plane in March 2011 after consulting with the Yemeni al Quaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki. Militants belonging to pro-al Quaeda groups such as Jamiatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Harkat-ul-jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), now banned, are now operating under different banners and many of them have joined Ansarullah Bangla Team. Ansarullah Bangla Team’s center in Dhaka, Markajul Ulum Islamia, has become a rallying point for all Islamist militants. Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani has more than 4000 militant followers who believe in armed jihad.

 

Dr Farid Uddin, an ophthalmologist and former Jamaat Amir of Madaripur District, disclosed after his arrest in March this year that he held meetings with Ansarullah Bangla Team’s head Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani at Markajul Ulum Islamia several times to chalk out strategies and discuss how all Islamic organizations working for establishing khelafat (caliphate) in Bangladesh could come under a single umbrella.

 

Ansarullah Bangla Team has recently posted on its website a documentary video entitled “Eradicate Democracy”. It elaborates that democracy is not an Islamic system and the western system of democracy is completely in conflict with Islam. Describing those engaged in subversive activities under the name of jihad as ‘soldiers of Allah’ the documentary calls upon all concerned to implement ‘Allah’s rule’ and introduce ‘Khelafat’ (Caliphate), adding that international laws were not applicable in Muslim land and that democracy and communism were the methods of the infidels.

 

It continues to state that ‘soldiers of Allah’ had taken up weapons to introduce Allah’s rule in the country and threatens to go for counter offensive against the authorities if the Government uses force to thwart attempts to establish Islamic rule in Bangladesh. The duty of ‘Khalifa’, head of the Khelafat (Caliphate), whose function is to govern in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah, is to enforce the laws divinely promulgated. Describing the present democratic system a creation of ‘Kafer’ it appealed to the people including the armed forces to protect Allah’s laws instead of man-made laws prevailing in the country.

 

According to US media reports, intelligence services intercepted a conference call earlier this month between al Queda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and more than 20 operatives from across the group’s global network. This prompted the US and several allies to shut embassies across the Muslim world fearful of a major attack. On August 1, the US issued a world wide alert, warning of al Qaeda plans to launch an attack. The sudden one day closure of the US Embassy in Dhaka demonstrates that international marginalization is a real danger for Bangladesh. The government will need to ensure that such threats to Bangladesh’s security, economic development and international standing are eliminated before they can take root.




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