Over the years, on this blog I have written several posts on Bangladesh and its role in Jihad on the subcontinent. On 1st July, jihadis confirming their Islamic credentials by shouting the customary laudatory exclamation by Muslims about their god, attacked the Holy Artesan Cafe near the posh Diplomatic Quarters of Dhaka, took hostages and stabbed/hacked to death most if not all of the 20 dead found later by the security forces. bbcnews
Abinta Kabir, Faraaz Hussein, and Tarushi Jain – three girls and all vacationing in Dhaka after their first year at US universities, were among those killed. While Abinta and Faraaz were Bangladeshi Muslims, Tarushi appears to be of Indian Hindu origins. Foreigners were separated from Bangladeshis and taken to an upper floor apparently for a Quran recitation test and torture. telegraph As per DailyStar Tarushi’s Indian origins is confirmed by the Indian Foreign ministers statements to the effect. The same site also states that Tarushi was a resident of Bangladesh but an Indian citizen, and her family had close personal friends among Dhaka’s Muslims such as her father Ziam Sanjeev’s friend Rashid Hassan Khan who has been quoted by The Daily Star. Daily Star also reports in greater details on the Quran test, (DailyStar)
“They (gunmen) did not behave rough with the Bangladesh nationals,” Reazul said quoting his victim son Hasnat. “Rather they provided night meals for all Bangladeshis.”“The gunmen were doing a background check on religion by asking everyone to recite from the Quran. Those who could recite a verse or two were spared. The others were tortured.”
The unexplained issue here is then how come the two Bangladeshi Muslim girls were also killed along with Tarushi? Did they fail the Quran test too, or they were executed for being male-guardian unaccompanied women in public? Or they were found out to have been in USA as students or no-longer Bangladeshi nationals? Given jihadi’s obsession with rape and sexual torture of captive women, were these women spared from rape before being tortured to death?
Over the recent years, AQIS, or Al Queda in Indian Subcontinent claimed the following as targeted victims of their jihad in Bangladesh: (Source: SiteIntel )
- 15/01/2013 Asif Mohiuddin, wounded, at Uttara, Dhaka
- 15/02/2013 Ahmed Rajiv Haidar, killed, Mirpur, Dhaka
- 24/06/2014 Rakib Mamun, wounded, Muhammadpur, Dhaka
- 30/09/2014 Ashraful Alam, killed, Savar, Dhaka
- 16/11/2014 Shafiul Lilon, killed, Binodpur, Rajashahi
- 26/02/2015 Avijit Roy, killed, Dhaka Uni area, Dhaka
- 30/03/2015 Washiqur Rahman, killed, Tejgaon, Dhaka
- 12/05/2015 Ananta Bijoy Das, killed, Sylhet city
- 07/08/2015 Niladri Chattopadhyay, killed, Goran, Dhaka
- 31/10/2015 Faisal Arifin Dipon, killed, Jagriti prakashani, Sahbag, Dhaka
- 31/10/2015 Ahmedur Rashid Tutul, wounded, Suddhaswar Prakashani, Lalmatia Dhaka
- 31/10/2015 Ranadip Basu, wounded, Suddhaswar Prakashani, Lalmatia Dhaka
- 31/10/2015 Tareque Rahim, wounded, Suddhaswar Prakashani, Lalmatia Dhaka
- 08/04/2016 Nazimuddin Samad, killed, Dhaka
- 26/08/2016 Xulhaz Mannan, killed, Dhaka
- 26/08/2016 Samir Mahbub Tanay, killed, Dhaka
IS or Islamic state (of Iraq and Syria) claimed the following as victims of their targeted jihad: (Source: SiteIntel )
- 28/09/2015 Tavella Cesare, killed, silenced weapons, Dhaka
- 03/10/2015 Kunio Hoshi, killed, firearms, Rangpur
- 24/10/2015 One killed, 80 wounded, Shiite site, explosive device, Husseini Dalan, Dhaka
- 04/11/2015 One killed, one wounded, Stabbing, Ashulia, Dhaka
- 19/11/2015 Piero Parolari, wounded, Silenced Pistol, Dinajpur
- 19/11/2015 Ruhul Amin, wounded, Silenced weapon, Dhaka
- 19/11/2015 Rahmat Ali, killed, Unspecified mode, Kawnia Rangpur
- 26/11/2015 One killed, 3 wounded, Machine gun, Bogra
- 26/12/2015 One killed, at least 3 wounded, suicide bomber, 1 attacker, Ahmedia mosque, Rajshahi
- 07/01/2016 Samir Al-Din, killed, stabbing, Jhinaidah
- 08/02/2016 Tarun Dutta, killed, unspecified mode, Gaibandha
- 21/02/2016 Jogeshwar Roy, killed, sharp weapons, Panchagarh
- 14/03/2016 Hdifh Abdul Razzaq, killed, stabbing, Jhinaidah
- 22/03/2016 Hussein Ali Sarkar, killed, unspecified mode, Kurigram
- 23/04/2016 Rezaul Karim Siddique, killed, machete, Rajshahi.
The reactions to the attack have been predictable.
Begum Khaleda Zia, the leader of the opposition BNP, while “gravely” condemning the incident, she apparently declared it to be “an outcome of the government’s undemocratic mentality that has been turned into an autocratic rule”. She held the government responsible for such an attack, and blamed the emergence of militancy and such “bloodstained incident” as “the outcome of the prevailing oppressive rule of the government”. (DailyStar) Thus Khaleda carefully avoided finding the root problem in the Islamic foundations of the nation and its society and its continuously maintained pace of Islamisation through riots, forced conversions, enforced exiles, rape and abduction of women, and alienation from land and turned it all into a blame game on her political rivals.
Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister, on the other hand thought that it was a “vested quarter [which] wanted to establish Bangladesh [as] a dysfunctional state keeping hostage innocent people. “They’ve taken a path of terrorism after having failed to win the hearts of people through the democratic process”. She blamed this same alleged “quarter” as “pushing the soft-hearted youths and children to the path of destruction confusing them in the name of religion”. It can be inferred that here she is referring to her rivals in national politics of which BNP is the most dominant electorally and the now somewhat disgraced (from trial and execution of their 1971 time war-crimes accused leaders) Jamaat-e-Islami.
Hasina further states “The peace-loving people of Bangladesh won’t allow the perpetuators to materialise their strategy. We‘ll resist their conspiracy at any cost taking the people of the country with us…We’re committed to protecting at any cost the sovereignty of Bangladesh that was earned at the cost of martyrdom of 30 lakh and sacrifice of two lakh mothers and sisters.”
However, the society of Bangladesh is part of the same society that stood behind Muslim League in the lead up to Partition riots and Noakhali genocide, and the general ethnic cleansing of Hindus by forced exile, land-grab, rape, abduction of women. Its the same society that split into two rival contestants for power during the lead up to independence in 1971, with a large contingent of locals helping and participating in the rapine of the Pakistani army. (See my earlier post on this https://dikgaj.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/sayedees-jamaat-e-islami-shows-how-islam-actually-spread-in-india-or-for-that-matter-in-arabia-too/).
Post independence, one half of Bangladesh polity – which by its length of occupation of state power, appears to be the more dominant faction, that represented by the BNP, rehabilitated the jihadis of 1971. The atrocities on Hindus and even Buddhists continued post-independence and the trend only has been more spectacularly splashed in the media recently due to the militant groups own propaganda and greater reach of the internet. (See another earlier post of mine on this: dikgaj on Bangladesh : counterstrategy). Hasina’s raising the issue of “sovereignty” is peculiar as its typically raised by Bangladeshis as a dark hint of alleged Indian eye on its territory and sovereignty. Possibly this was a diversionary tactic to prevent Indian reaction at popular level against the increasingly high profile targeting of Hindus in Bangladesh.
Hasina apparently addressed those “who are misguiding youths and children and patronising this” by claiming “Islam is the religion of peace. Stop killing people in the name of Islam; don’t blemish it with such incidents.” She also urged guardians to give proper education to their children and keep watch on them so that they cannot get derailed. Interestingly she does not explain why Islam is so susceptible to derailment.
Another group of so-called security “expertise” is trying to say that the violence was due to the competition between IS and AQS for base, recruits, and resources. In a sense they support my contention in my blogpost (dikgaj on ’71 blunder )
Indira Gandhi scored a tactical brilliance in 1971, but a strategic blunder when she helped an independent Bangladesh to form. This independent nation immediately showed its fangs of islamism, has continued to expel Hindus, abduct rape and enslave Hindu women, and welcomed all possible transnational anti-India and anti-Hindu forces. As and when Pakistan falls, this nation will provide an alternative base for jihadis to restart their movement.
What is the ground reality of Bangladeshi Islam that will increasingly jihadise the country on top of its latent Islamism and its foundations in jihad against Hindus and Buddhists?
Bangladesh hosts a number of transnational Islamic networks, and the second largest gathering of Islamic world takes place under a Tablighi Jamaat inspired and maintained so-called “world Istema”. Both Awami League and BNP led successive governments, seem to have warmly welcomed the Tablighi gathering with enthusiastic state involvement in its arrangements. Maulana Mohammad Ilyas established Tablighi Jamaat in 1926 to spread Deobandi Islam as a missionary line to reconvert the Muslims, who according to Tablighi notions ‘have gone astray’. The movement was in fact from the beginning considered as an extension of Deobandi movement’s preaching and proselytizing arm. ( Fred Burton and Scott Stewart, “Tablighi Jamaat: An Indirect Line to Terrorism”, Stratfor Global Intelligence, January 23, 2008, Burton and Stewart ).
Tablighi Jamaat is now a global network and as Furnish elaborates (Furnish)
it does promulgate a literalist reading of the Qur’an and strict emulation of Islam’s founder, Muhammad–both of which are problematic. Not only are the “sword,” or jihad, verses of the Qur’an numerous–numbering some 164 by one count–but under the doctrine of naskh, “abrogation,” they supersede all of the Qur’an’s apparently peaceful verses. In addition, TJ members are taught to emulate Islam’s prophet unswervingly. Thus, when some learn about Muhammad leading armies in battle or ordering the execution of theological and political opponents, they may decide that the jihadist groups are more faithful followers of their prophet than TJ itself–and so make the transition. Thus, the key issue is not whether TJ is actively inculcating jihadist thought, per se. What is more important, and disquieting, is that the organization is instilling Qur’anic literalism and Muhammadan emulation, both of which are also staples of violent jihadist groups.
And there’s no arguing with TJ’s success. The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations may castigate the organization for its disengagement from politics and for its lack of popular welfare and education programs, but one could argue that Tabligh is better than its detractors at keeping its eye on the real prize: renewing piety among Muslims and indoctrinating them with a strong sense of Islamic community that is global in scope.
Tablighi Jamaat is singularly silent on Islamic terror incidents and is never known to have publicly condemned such jihadi acts. However its literal and orthodox insistence appears to be preparing a wide swathe of Muslim populations in countries it is allowed to operate towards first and acceptance of the historical claims of core texts of Islam, through its Quran and ahadith, and through this, secondly an acceptance of the violent, genocidal jihad waged by founders of Islam as proudly recorded or claimed in ahadith and Sira, or biographies of the founder of Islam.
Shoe bomber Richard Reid for attempted transatlantic airline bombing (2001), Jose Padilla for attempted dirty bomb manufacturing (2002) (Jane Perlez, “Pakistani Group, Suspected by West Jihadist Ties, Holds Conclave Despite Ban”, The New York Times, November 19, 2007,) in New York City, Barcelona terror plot (2008) (Kathryn Haahr, “Spanish Police Arrest Jamaat al-Tabligh Members in Bomb Threat”, Terrorism Focus Volume: 5 Issue: 6, February 13, 2000) and arrest of American Taliban John Walker Lindh in Afghanistan (2001) (Susan Sach, “A Muslim Missionary Group Draws New Scrutiny in US”, The New York Times, July 14, 2003), western Muslims involved in planning of terrorist attacks in the US, such as Portland Seven (2002), and Lackawanna Six (2002) all had one way or other been linked to Tablighi Jamaat and its proselytization.
French authorities have repeatedly blamed Tablighi Jamaat for promoting extremism as they found Tablighi involvement in more than 80 percent of cases. (Burton and Stewart) Pakistan is considered the primary base of Tablighis because of possible access and recruitment among upper echelons of Pakistani civil and military power structures. Several high ranking politicians like Pakistani president Rafiq Tarrar, during Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff’s second term (1996-99), was active Tablighis. According to Riaz ul Hassan, former PM Nawaz Sharif during his second tenure (1996-99) visited Tablighi congregation at Raiwand, Lahore and had requested Tablighi Jamaat’s leader Omar Palanpuri, an Indian, to convince Sipah-e-Sahaba and its splinter group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) to end their violent anti-Shia terror campaign. The Tablighi leader replied, “there should always be a hot wire along with a cold one to light up the bulb’. (Riaz ul Hassan, “An insider’s account”, View Point Online, Hassan)
Former Pakistani intelligence chief (DG-ISI) Lt General Javed Nasir was an active Tablighi during his tenure (1995-97) and supported jihadis in Bosnia and Kashmir.(Khaled Ahmed, What did Husain Haqqani write?”, The Express Tribune, June 2, 2012, Khaled Ahmed ) Several members of 1995 attempted military coup in Pakistan against Benazir Bhutto were Tablighis. (Saba Imtiaz, “Tabligi cleric’s political meetings raise eyebrows”, The Express Tribune, August 22, 2011) During Benazir Bhutto’s second term (1993-96), a group of jihadi officers collaborated with HuJI to try and overthrow her in 1995. Investigations found the Islamist officers were influenced by Jihad bi-al Saif (Jihad by Sword) an offshoot of Tablighi Jamaat.( Burton and Stewart )
Tablighi Jamaat’s missionaries who were then actively recruiting volunteers to fight the anti-Soviet jihad, were invited allegedly to Pakistan Military Academy during 1980s, to indoctrinate and convert the officers to Deobandi Islam (Shuja Nawaz, Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army and the Wars Within, Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2008). But the official pretension of recruitment only for a defensive pseudo-nationalist cause, is falsified by HuJI being founded by among others, Tablighi Jamaat members Qari Saifullah Akhter and Fazal ur Rehman Khalil. It was from the platform of HuJI that other jihadist organizations such as HuM, JeM and SSP/LJ came into being (Alex Alexiev, “Tablighi Jamaat: Jihad’s Stealthy Legions”, The Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2005, pp.3-11). Thus the pseudo-nationalist pretension of Pakistani mobilisation was in reality a cover for wider transnational jihad not aimed only at Afghanistan, and the ideological grounding by Tablighi Jamaat appears to sharpen rather than lessen the urge for jihad among Muslims.
Jamaat Islami and JUI factions also have close interaction with Tablighi Jamaat with many having dual membership, and Tablighi Jamaat’s annual congregations are regularly attended by these parties’ leaders. Tablighi Jamaat’s claimed apolitical non-violent character is perhaps merely a part of Islamic core tradition of tactical hiding of militant agenda when revelation may jeopardise long term goals. But Islam’s core as politics and state power could not stay hidden forever, and during 2002 general elections Tablighi Jamaat announced its support for Muthaida Majlis-e-Amal, the alliance of Islamist parties which formed provincial government in KPK province and implemented its Islamist agenda, and is seen as promoting resurgence of Afghan Taliban and formation of Tehrik Taliban (TTP).
Tablighi Jamaat has been linked to ‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh, Jose Omer Padila, David Hook ‘the Australian Taliban’, and Richard Reid ‘the Shoe Bomber’. (Muhammad Amir Rana, “Tablighi Jamaat: Discourse and Challenges”, Conflict and Peace Studies, April-June 2009, Volume 2, Number 2, Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, p. 79.)
Thus the more intense proselytisation by Tablighi Jamaat type of transnational Islamic orthodoxification movements, allowed and even protected or sponsored actively by all ends of the Bangladeshi political spectrum, and even its state infrastructure, the possible jihadi penetration of the state coercive forces (BDR uprising), indicates both that Bangladeshi Muslim society in itself had the characteristics that welcomed radicalisation and in turn made it attractive for first “purification” and literalism based on the texts and claimed narratives of jihad campaigns and tactical or strategic practices of conflict of the founder of Islam – by organisations like Tablighis.
Bangladesh will turn increasingly jihadi. All its “secular” portions, minority numerically anyway, will either be killed or forced to flee. Its weaker Hindu, Buddhist, Christian minorities either converted or exiled – possibly mostly the men, while the women will be kept behind by jihadi Bangladeshis as sex-slaves, as they did during the Noakhali genocide.
Bangladesh, Pakistan, and even parts of Nepal, Myanmar are being activated in a systematic and long term manner by subcontinental components of transnational jihad, whose ideological leadership or the necessary theological framework to carry out practical implementation of jihad, appears to be coming from the entire subcontinent including those ulama in India connected to not only the Deobandi spectrum but also Barelvis.
Only Indian Hindus have the only remaining chance to fight this back and in fact reverse the process into a cleansing of Islam and Islamic jihadi infrastructure from the entire subcontinent. For various reasons the current Indian state is a confused state ob the question of Islam (which is a different discussion). The Indian army has been extended from the Raj imperial framework of excess “secularism” which was a cover to keep the army alienated from the native majority and thus make it easier to keep the people subjugated to the regime. Such an army will be incapable of dealing with the psychologically sophisticated jihadi armies of the current era. Hindus should learn to organise themselves for defence militarily in all the ways necessary to tackle forces built along ISIS(IL), AQ lines without relying too much on existing state armies and defences.
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