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Al Qaeda Calls for Jihad in Bangladesh

Written by পান্থ রহমান রেজা (Pantha) · Translated by Rezwan On 24 February 2014 @ 21:07 pm | 1 Comment

In Bangla, Bangladesh, Citizen Media, English, Governance, International Relations, Law, Politics, Protest, Religion, South Asia, War & Conflict, Weblog

Screenshot of a video by Ayman al-Zawahiri [1]

Screenshot of a video by Ayman al-Zawahiri

Global militant organization Al Qaeda [2] has called for jihad in Bangladesh via a video [3] released online. The audio message was circulated in a video featuring the leader of the organization, Ayman al-Zawahiri [4], calling for followers to resist what he called anti-Islamic conspiracies and launch an “intifada” (uprising) in Bangladesh [5].

He invited Muslims in Bangladesh [6]:

To confront this crusader onslaught against Islam, which is being orchestrated by the leading criminals in the subcontinent and the West against Islam, the Prophet of Islam and the Islamic creed, so that they may turn you into slaves of a despotic and disbelieving system.

Here is a transcription of the video message [7] (PDF).

The entire clip lasting 28 minutes and 58 seconds, titled “Bangladesh: Massacre Behind a Wall of Silence”, features the message from al-Zawahiri along with his image as well as others, such as the Hifazat's rally [8] in May last year. Aaron Y. Zelin, who runs the site Jihadology [9], reported in an interview to EuroBDNewsOnline.com [10] that he is certain that this voice is of Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Bangladesh’s elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) tracked the source [11] of the message and arrested Rasel Bin Sattar Khan [12] for circulating the controversial message from Al Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri. He is an admin of controversial Facebook page Basherkella and some other militant blogs [13] [bn] believed to be run by extremist operatives. He confessed [14] [bn] that he started spreading this video in Bangladesh, which was first uploaded in a Pakistani website [15].

Recently in Bangladesh, religious extremist organizations like Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami [16] and Hefazat-e-Islam [17] have engaged in a lot of violence. Some netizens have speculated that the call for jihad in Bangladesh is somehow related.

Diaspora legal practitioner Rayhan Rashid (@rayhanrashid [18]) tweeted:

Jamaat, who once worked fought against the liberation of Bangladesh [25] from Pakistan, had always denied their involvement with militants. However, Mofaqkharul Taufique [26] wrote that Jamaat can no longer deny the truth given this video:

এ বার ভিডিও-বার্তায় প্রকাশ্যেই জামাত-নেতাদের পাশে দাঁড়ালেন আল কায়েদার শীর্ষ নেতা আয়মান আল জাওয়াহিরি। এর পরেও কি কেউ বলবেন যে জমাত জঙ্গী সংগঠন নয় ?

In this video message, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has openly supported Jamaat. Can anyone deny that Jamaat is not a militant organization?

Jamaat [27] and Hefazot [28] both have officially denied any involvement with Al Qaeda.

Activists of Hefajat-e Islam march through as part of its Dhaka siege programme to press home its 13-point demand, near Buriganga Bridge-1. Image by Firoz Ahmed. Copyright Demotix (5/5/2013) [29]

Activists of Hefajat-e Islam march as part of its Dhaka siege programme to press home its 13-point demand that includes the arrest of atheist bloggers. Image by Firoz Ahmed. Copyright Demotix (5/5/2013)

Dr. Imran H. Sarker, a blogger and the spokesperson for the Shahbag movement activists [30], a movement that supports the death penalty for liberation war criminals, wanted to hear reactions from other political parties:

এক ভিডিও বার্তায় জামাত- হেফাজতের আন্দোলনকে সমর্থন করে ধর্মের নামে মানুষ হত্যার কথিত জিহাদের ডাক দিয়েছে আল-কায়েদা প্রধান আয়মান আল জাওয়াহিরি।

জোটবদ্ধ রাজনৈতিক দলগুলোর প্রতিক্রিয়া কি? যুদ্ধাপরাধী, সন্ত্রাসী সংগঠন জামাত-শিবির, হেফাজত কে নিষিদ্ধ করতে আর কতো অপেক্ষা?

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has called for jihad (waging war in the name of religion) and supporting the cause of Hefazot/Jamaat.

What are the reactions of different political parties and alliances? How long will it take to ban anti-liberation and militant organizations like Jamaat, Hefazot?

Abdullah Al Mamun, a reader on Bangla daily Prothom Alo [31], commented:

এটি বাংলাদেশ নামক রাষ্টের প্রতি সরাসরি হুমকি বা হস্তক্ষেপ। এসব হুমকি আমাদের সবাইকে ভাবিয়ে তুলছে।

This is a direct threat against Bangladesh as a country. This has worried all of us.

Journalist Anjan Roy [32], however, called for verifying this video:

বাংলাদেশে প্রতিরোধ গড়ে তোলার আহ্বান জাওয়াহিরি- এই ভিডিওটি এখন আলোচনায়, প্রথমত দরকার ভিডিওটির তথ্য সত্যতা যাচাই। সত্য হলেও বিন্দুমাত্র শংকার নাই- আমরা শত্রু এলে অস্ত্র হাতে লড়তে জানি। এটা আফগানিস্তান না, পাকিস্তান না। এটা বাংলাদেশ- আল কায়দাকে কায়দা করতে দেয়ার জন্য আমাদের পিতা আর ভাইয়েরা যুদ্ধ করেন নি। আমাদের মা আর বোনরাও জানেন কিভাবে অনুপ্রেরণা দিতে হয় প্রিয়জনকে যুদ্ধে যাবার।

Al-Zawahiri called for resistance in Bangladesh – this video is a source of a hot debate. First we need to determine whether the video is credible or genuine. We need not worry even if this is true. This is not Afghanistan or Pakistan. We Bengalis know how to fight. Our fathers and brothers did not fight the independence war to let Al Qaeda reign. Our loved ones know how to prepare ourselves for fight.

A K M Wahiduzzaman [33] wrote that this video has another purpose – to spark debate in the political arena:

দেশে-বিদেশে যখন এই বিচার বহির্ভূত হত্যাকাণ্ডের তীব্র সমালোচনা হচ্ছে, এমন কী সভ্যদেশগুলো যখন এই হত্যাকারী বাহিনীর সদস্যদের প্রশিক্ষণ কর্মসূচি বাতিল করছে। তখন ‘বিডি নিউজ ২৪’ গত ১৪ জানুয়ারি আল শাহাব মিডিয়ার তৈরি এবং জিহাদোলজি ডট নেট সাইটে প্রকাশিত একটি ভিডিও বার্তা নিয়ে মাঠ গরম করে বিচার বহির্ভূত হত্যাকাণ্ডের বৈধতা দেবার পাশাপাশি জঙ্গী ইস্যু দিয়ে পশ্চিমাদের মন গলানোর চেষ্টা করছে।

আরে গর্ধবের দল, ওটা সত্যি হলে আরো একমাস আগেই পশ্চিমা মিডিয়া এবং আল জাজিরা লিড নিউজ করতো।

When there are talks in the country about extrajudicial killings of security forces, even some countries have cancelled training for these security forces amidst the controversy. At this very moment, a video released by the Jihadology.net site and made by Al Shahab media is being highlighted by BDNews24.net to harp on militancy issues.

If this was real, international media and Al Jazeera would have made it top news a month ago.

The government is investigating [34] the threat by Al Qaeda, but State Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal does not see it [35] as a big threat. Security Analyst Major (Retired) Abdur Rashid said in an interview [36] with BBC Bangla that Bangladesh should not take it lightly:

আল কায়েদার শক্তি কমে গেলেও ভাবাদর্শগতভাবে বাংলাদেশে তাদের অনুসারী আছে। তারা উজ্জীবিত হয়ে আল-কায়েদার সহায়তায় কোন নাশকতা করতে পারে। এ আশংকাকে আমি উড়িয়ে দিচ্ছি না।

Although Al Qaeda has been weakened, a number of dedicated followers of them exists in Bangladesh. We cannot rule out any violent activity by them after the support of Al Qaeda.

Ishfaq Ilahi Choudhury [37], a retired air force official and a security analyst, commented in an op-ed in the Daily Star:

Those of us who dream of a democratic state, a multi-religious, multi-cultural society, an educated, healthy and prosperous nation, the Zawahiri message, even if it is a hoax, is a stark reminder that we have an enemy at the gate, and only together we can defeat it. We as a nation need to close ranks on the minimum agenda, and on the question of fighting religious extremism there is no other option but a national consensus.

Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org

URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/02/24/al-qaeda-calls-for-jihad-in-bangladesh/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pqby3XMZOc&feature=player_embedded#t=160

[2] Al Qaeda: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Qaeda

[3] jihad in Bangladesh via a video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bengali/news/2014/02/140215_mb_al_qaeda_bd_audio_messg_update.shtml

[4] Ayman al-Zawahiri: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayman_al-Zawahiri

[5] an “intifada” (uprising) in Bangladesh: http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2014/02/15/al-qaeda-chief-s-intifada-call-in-bangladesh

[6] invited Muslims in Bangladesh: http://www.thedailystar.net/al-qaeda-urges-jihad-in-bangladesh-11441

[7] a transcription of the video message: http://www.thedailystar.net/upload/gallery/pdf/transcription-zawahiri-msg.pdf

[8] Hifazat's rally: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Motijheel_shootings

[9] Jihadology: http://jihadology.net/2014/01/14/as-sa%E1%B8%A5ab-media-presents-a-new-video-message-from-al-qaidahs-dr-ayman-al-%E1%BA%93awahiri-bangladesh-a-massacre-behind-a-wall-of-silence/

[10] EuroBDNewsOnline.com: http://www.eurobdnewsonline.com/bangladeshi-special-news/2014/02/19/24967

[11] tracked the source: http://khabarsouthasia.com/en_GB/articles/apwi/articles/newsbriefs/2014/02/19/newsbrief-02

[12] arrested Rasel Bin Sattar Khan: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/bangladesh-arrests-suspected-alqaeda-agent/article5702527.ece

[13] some other militant blogs: http://bangla.bdnews24.com/bangladesh/article745491.bdnews

[14] confessed: http://www.kalerkantho.com/online/national/2014/02/18/53574

[15] first uploaded in a Pakistani website: http://www.thedailystar.net/pakistani-website-first-uploaded-it-11983

[16] Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh_Jamaat-e-Islami

[17] Hefazat-e-Islam: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hefazat-e-Islam_Bangladesh

[18] @rayhanrashid: https://twitter.com/rayhanrashid

[19] #AlQaida: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AlQaida&src=hash

[20] #Zawahiri: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Zawahiri&src=hash

[21] #Jamaat: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Jamaat&src=hash

[22] #BNP: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23BNP&src=hash

[23] http://t.co/jy26VjUHhw: http://t.co/jy26VjUHhw

[24] February 15, 2014: https://twitter.com/rayhanrashid/statuses/434766018150297600

[25] liberation of Bangladesh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh_Liberation_War

[26] Mofaqkharul Taufique: https://www.facebook.com/mofaqkharul.taufiq/posts/10152251943509380

[27] Jamaat: http://bdinn.com/news/jamaat-e-islami-has-no-connection-with-al-qaeda-or-any-militant-groups-acting-secretary-general-urges-people-to-be-aware-of-new-conspiracy-against-bangladesh/

[28] Hefazot: http://www.dhakatribune.com/politics/2014/feb/15/hefazat-denounces-link-al-qaeda-message

[29] Image: http://www.demotix.com/photo/2024112/capital-dhaka-virtually-cut-rest-country

[30] Shahbag movement activists: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Shahbag_protests

[31] Bangla daily Prothom Alo: http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/148507/%E0%A6%AC%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%82%E0%A6%B2%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%A6%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%B6%E0%A7%87_%E0%A6%AA%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%A4%E0%A6%BF%E0%A6%B0%E0%A7%8B%E0%A6%A7%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%B0_%E0%A6%A1%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%95_%E0%A6%86%E0%A6%B2_%E0%A6%95%E0%A6%BE%E0%A7%9F%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%A6%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%B0?feed_tracker=yes&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

[32] Anjan Roy: https://www.facebook.com/anjan.roy.3192/posts/10152252306087743?stream_ref=10

[33] A K M Wahiduzzaman: https://www.facebook.com/Wahiduzzaman21/posts/10203389016992153?stream_ref=10

[34] investigating: http://newsworld365.com/2014/02/17/bangladesh-probing-al-qaeda-message-the-hindu/

[35] does not see it: http://www.daily-sun.com/details_yes_16-02-2014_No-existence-of-al-Qaeda-in-Bangladesh:-Shahriar_767_1_0_3_0.html

[36] in an interview: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bengali/news/2014/02/140216_fp_bd_al_qaeda.shtml

[37] Ishfaq Ilahi Choudhury: http://www.thedailystar.net/op-ed/bangladesh-on-al-qaedas-cross-hairs-12108

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