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Bangladeshi Migrant Workers Deported from Singapore

28 Jan 2016

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Singapore deported 26 Bangladeshi Muslim migrant workers on January 20 for supporting the ideology of Islamist terrorist groups al-Qaeda and Islamic State. The authorities in Singapore said these men were contemplating “armed jihad” in the Middle East and Bangladesh.

Monirul Islam, Joint Commissioner of Detective Branch, Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said “We have found that these men are followers of Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani”, a firebrand Islamic cleric and chief of Ansarullah Bangla Team. The police came to know that all of them were members of the radical group Ansarulla Bangla Team.

 

Monirul Islam, Joint Commissioner of Detective Branch, Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said “We have found that these men are followers of Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani”, a firebrand Islamic cleric and chief of Ansarullah Bangla Team. The police came to know that all of them were members of the radical group Ansarulla Bangla Team.
According to Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs the deportees were members of a close-knit religious study group since 2013 and they supported the teachings of the US-born radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. They admitted to the authorities in Singapore that they supported the Bangladeshi militant group that had killed the Shi’ites in recent months, because they viewed them as ‘deviant’.

 

Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) is an extremely militant group affiliated to al Qaeda. It made its presence felt in Bangladesh by ruthlessly assassinating Ahmed Razib Hyder, an atheist blogger and Shahbag activist, on February 15, 2013.

 

The existence of ABT came to light in March, 2013 during interrogation of five students enrolled at a private university in Dhaka. The students were arrested in connection with murder of an atheist blogger Ahmed Razib Hyder who also 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 ABT’s existence from ‘Ansar al Mujahideen English Forum’ (AAMEF), an al Qaeda affiliated website which posted news of the arrest of five students under the headlines ‘Five Lions of Ummah’. Further probe into the website gave clues about another website, ‘bab-ul-islam.net’ launched in Pakistan. This website reveals that ABT was founded at North South University in Dhaka and it was modeled on Iraqi al Qaeda group Ansar-ul-Islam. It mostly targeted students from English medium colleges and universities for recruitment.

 

Activists of ABT from Dhaka’s North South University became active in Bangladesh towards the end of 2012 through AAMEF website advocating jihad in Bengali, Urdu and Arabic languages. This militant organization geared up its campaign for armed jihad in Bangladesh in its website. 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.

 

Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani, founder head of ABT, was arrested along with 30 of his followers from a hideout at South Khejurtola, district Barguna, after the gory incident. Earlier this month Rahmani has been sentenced to five years in jail in connection with 2013 killing of Ahmed Razib Haider.

Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani, founder head of ABT, was arrested along with 30 of his followers from a hideout at South Khejurtola, district Barguna, after the gory incident. Earlier this month Rahmani has been sentenced to five years in jail in connection with 2013 killing of Ahmed Razib Haider.

 

Mufti Rahmani, a follower of Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni spiritual leader of al Qaeda in the Arab peninsula who was killed in a US Drone attack in 2011, has been carrying out his activities in Bangladesh for the last couple of years. Rahmani’s enormous capacity to motivate youngsters to plunge 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. 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 on instructions from the Yemeni al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki.

 

ABT 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 introduce ‘Khelafat’ (Caliphate). It threatens to go for counter offensive against the authorities if the Government uses force to thwart attempts to establish Khelafat in Bangladesh. Describing the present democratic system a creation of ‘Kafir’ it appealed to the people including the armed forces to protect ‘Khelafat’.

 

According to US media reports, intelligence services intercepted a conference call between al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and more than 20 operatives from across the group’s global network. This prompted the US and several of its allies to shut their mission across the Muslim world fearful of a major attack. The US issued a world-wide alert, warning of al Qaeda plans to launch an attack. The sudden one day closure of the US and Canadian Embassies in Dhaka on August 4, 2013 (which was Sunday, not a holiday in Bangladesh) amid serious security threat 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 roots. Bangladesh has already reached new heights of development in sectors like economy, infrastructure and agriculture, but rising militancy will thwart the progress.




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