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Islamic State of Bangladesh: An emerging Reality

Islamic State of Bangladesh reportedly came into being in March 2016

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Singaporean officials released a photo gallery of eight suspected Muslim radicals from Bangladesh, May 3, 2016. Courtesy of Singaporean Ministry of Home Affairs
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April 3,2016: Singaporean authorities said Tuesday they had arrested “eight radicalized Bangladeshi nationals” who were part of a group plotting terror attacks back home and calling itself the Islamic State in Bangladesh (ISB).

The eight Bangladeshis who worked in Singapore’s construction and marine industries were arrested in April and were being held under the island-state’s Internal Security Act, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced in a news release.

ISB was set up in March 2016 by one of the eight suspects, identified as 31-year-old Rahman Mizanur, and the group was plotting attacks in Bangladesh including targeting government and military officials for assassination, the MHA said.

“The ISB members had intended to join the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as foreign fighters,” the Singaporean ministry said, using another name for Islamic State (IS).

Also read: ISIS eyes the land of Tagore and Nazrul,ie, Bangladesh

“However, as they felt that it would be difficult for them to make their way to Syria, they focused their plans instead on returning to Bangladesh to overthrow the democratically elected government through the use of force, establish an Islamic state in Bangladesh and bring it under ISIS’ self-declared caliphate.”

The arrests of the eight suspects came more than three months after Singapore announced it had arrested 27 Bangladeshis late last year on suspicion of links to al-Qaeda and IS, and deported 26 of them.

Officials in Bangladesh have consistently denied that IS has a presence in their country, where secular writers, religious minorities, foreigners, intellectuals and gay rights activists have been killed since last year in machete-attacks by suspected Islamic radicals. Such attacks have escalated sharply in recent weeks.

Plans for recruitment, growth

According to Singaporean officials, at least two more members of ISB were in Bangladesh, and investigators also seized a document from Mizanur, titled “We Need to Fight for Jihad,” along with documents on weapons and bomb making as well as propaganda materials from al-Qaeda and IS.

“The ISB members planned to recruit other Bangladeshi nationals working in Singapore to grow the group. The group had also raised money to purchase firearms to carry out their planned terror attacks in Bangladesh,” MHA officials said, noting that Singaporean authorities had since seized the cash.

In March, Singapore announced that it was beefing up security and counter-terrorism measures to protect the city-state from a threat posed by IS’s rising influence in Southeast Asia.

“ISB poses a security concern to Singapore because of its support for ISIS and its readiness to resort to the use of violence overseas,” the MHA said.

The ministry noted that another five Bangladeshi workers who were investigated under the Internal Security Act for possible links to Islamic State Bangladesh were sent home.

“Investigations showed that they were not involved in ISB but nevertheless possessed and/or proliferated jihadi-related materials, or supported the use of armed violence in pursuit of a religious cause,” the ministry said.

In Dhaka on Tuesday, Bangladesh’s police chief acknowledged that five Bangladeshis had been expelled from Singapore, but he did not say when they were sent home.

“They are in the custody of the detective branch, and we will question them extensively about their links with the militant groups. We have cooperation with Singapore on counter terrorism issues,” Police Inspector-General A.K.M. Shahidul Haque told BenarNews. (BenarNews)

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Will prohibiting Burqa result in freedom from under house arrest or religious bias?

According to Islam, it is not necessary to cover the face.

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Due to Burqa women can go and vote multiple times. This increases corruption in the election. Wikimedia Commons
Due to Burqa women can go and vote multiple times. This increases corruption in the election. Wikimedia Commons

In recent years there have been several incidents involving the Burqa. In 2009, a state college in Karnataka told a student she was not allowed to attend classes wearing a Burqa. It was later reported that the young girl reached a “compromise arrangement” with the college but did not continue in the same college. Days later, violent protests sparked in Hyderabad after a college principal allegedly told students not to wear a Burqa.

But opposite episodes have also occurred. In July 2010, a teacher at Kolkata’s Aliah University, which has a focus on Islamic studies, was not allowed to teach without a Burqa. The report followed an official notice released in April 2010, in which the university dismissed suggestions it enforced a dress code, mentioning specifically the use of the Burqa within its campus.

There is steep rise in the cases related to crime against burqa clad women. Wikimedia Commons
There is a steep rise in the cases related to crime against Burqa-clad women. Wikimedia Commons

At some point imposing a ban on Burqa will be beneficial…
Point 1:
According to Islam, it is not necessary to cover the face. Hands and face can be uncovered. So banning won’t conflict freedom of practicing religion. And it will not be against any religion.
Point 2:
There are security issues. Imagine man/women under burqa leaves a bag in a public place which later blasts. Now, what do police have? CCTV cameras, forget face they cannot determine if is it male or female due to Burqa. It is the biggest security Loophole.
Point 3:
Many Muslim women do not have a bank account because they are not allowed to cover their face in bank premises. If you didn’t know then yes you cannot cover your face with bank premises and ATM.
Point 4:
It’s easy to have multiple voters ID. Due to Burqa women can go and vote multiple times. This increases corruption in the election.
Point 5:
Crimes under Burqa are on the rise. Murder, kidnapping, robbery are been carried out using Burqa. It’s the biggest advantage for criminals.

What Noorjehan Safia says…
Noorjehan Safia Niaz, a founding member of Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, a movement which works to improve the status of Muslim women in India, said security concerns have not been a major issue when it comes to dressing. “Muslim women in India comply with all the laws. They are active participants when it comes to elections and has their photos on their passports. So identification and security have never been an issue as such,” she said.
Discrimination, however, has sometimes caused problems, said Ms. Niaz. “There are cases when women are not considered for a particular job because they wear a Burqa. In such cases, women have negotiated. They do not wear Burqa while at work but before and after it they put it on.” Overall, Ms. Niaz said that women themselves – not the law – should decide what to wear. “Let each woman decide what she wants to wear. Neither can you enforce a ban on Burqa nor can you force women to wear it.”