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| Dhaka, Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Kawsar Azam

Staff Correspondent

Al Qaeda won’t gain ground in Bangladesh: Politicians

2014-09-04 21:23:45
Al Qaeda won’t gain ground in Bangladesh: Politicians

Kawsar Azam, thereport24.com, Dhaka:

International terrorist outfits like Al Qaeda would not be able to gain ground and popularity among the peace-loving people of Bangladesh, said leaders of different political parties in their instant reaction to a video message of Al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri which was released on Wednesday announcing launching of its operation in South Asia, including Bangladesh.

The political leaders of different parties said, Bangladesh is basically a peaceful country and its people are moderate Muslims who are actually peace-loving too. So the militant outfits even in the recent past failed miserably to operate their activities and spread their root in Bangladesh despite numerous such move and efforts.

In an instant reaction to Zawahuri’s message State Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said, “The government is scrutinizing the Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahri's video message that gives hints of the presence of the Islamic militant force on the ground of Bangladesh.”

The minister said on Thursday, “Nothing to be worried about the alleged message of Al Qaeda leader Zawahri, as the law enforcement agencies have always been put on alert against all sort of militancy,” he said while talking to newsmen at his Secretariat office.

“Now, we are examining the alleged message of Zawahri. If existence of al-Qaeda is found in the country, it will soon be eliminated,” he also said.

When contacted over phone, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Hassan Mahmud Khandker echoed the same, saying, “We are always on hot pursuit against militancy.”

In a 55-minute video posted online, Zawahri announced the formation of an Indian branch of his militant group. Al Qaeda would spread Islamic rule and “raise the flag of jihad” in Bangladesh and other South Asian countries, Zawahri said.

Even leaders of most of the Islamic parties said, Muslims or Alems never believe in militancy or terrorism. Even the announcement by Zawahiri to launch branches in Bangladesh is basically a threat to the moderate Muslims and their beliefs and they would not let Al Qaeda operate in Bangladesh soil. Bangladeshis having deep sense of humanity and conscience would not support militancy and terrorism.

Bangladeshi political leaders said this in instant reactions to thereport24.com on the video posted on Jihadist forums features the 63-year-old Al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri saying the new force would "crush the artificial borders" dividing Muslim populations in the Indian subcontinent, including Bangladesh.

Al Qaeda is active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where its surviving leadership is thought to be hiding, but Qedat al Jihad would operate in India, Bangladesh and Burma - also known as Myanmar.

Zawahiri said in his 55 minute long video: "This entity was not established today, but is the fruit of a blessed effort of more than two years to gather the mujahedeen in the Indian subcontinent into a single entity."

He called on Muslims "to wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty and to revive its caliphate".

BNP Standing Committee member Lt. Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman told thereport24.com, “For containing the militancy and terrorism, all the political parties including ruling Awami League and BNP should work together. Despite political differences, all the political parties should work together in containing militancy in the country.”

Ameer of Khelafat Majlish Principal Maulana Mohammad Ishak said, “Al Qaeda is a terrorist group. It has been engaged in different terror activities defaming Islam. We are against all such terror activities. We condemn the announcement of Zawahiri. The terror outfit would not get support from Bangladeshis and people having conscience can no way support Zawahiri and his terror activities.”

Islami Oikkyajote chairman Maulana Abdul Latif Nezami said, “We are engaged in democratic movement and we do not believe in armed revolution. We are clearly and unequivocally against the announcement of Zawahiri in launching terror outfit’s operation in Bangladesh.”

Hefazat-e-Islam’s organizing secretary Maulana Azizul Haque Islamabadi said, “There is prevailing a congenial and peaceful environment in Bangladesh. People are living in peace and in such a situation the announcement by Al Qaeda chief Zawahiri has made the people fearful and worried. Bangladesh had experienced earlier militant activities and terrorism by Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh and Harkat-ul Jihad. But they could not emerge successful and Al Qaeda would not come out successful in Bangladesh despite their announcement.”

Khelafat Anodolon secretary general Maulana Zafrullah Khan told thereport24.com, “We are basically peace-loving people. There were no terrorist in Bangladesh and the people along with Alems and Ulemas have been living in peace. None want the Al Qaeda to operate in this area because if the Al Qaeda could operate in Bangladesh then the situation and environment would turn the worst as the America would then turn country like Iraq and Afghanistan using it as a pretext of containing militancy and terrorism. And we do not want any such situation and we urge the government to stop repression on the Alems and Ulemas in the pretext of containing militancy. We are in no way involved in militancy or do not even support them. There is no place for militabcy and terrorism in Bangladesh.”

President of Islami Andolon Dhaka City Professor Maulana ATM Hemayet Uddin told thereport24.com, “In no way we could accept the announcement of Zawahiri. This is actually a threat to Bangladesh and its peaceful environment. So we condemn it from our heart.”

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri launched the new branch of the militant Islamist group in Asia in a video message posted on jihadist forums saying the new force would "crush the artificial borders" dividing Muslim populations in the Indian subcontinent.

Zawahiri said: "This entity was not established today, but is the fruit of a blessed effort of more than two years to gather the mujahedeen in the Indian subcontinent into a single entity."

He called on Muslims "to wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty and to revive its caliphate".

Since the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, al Qaeda has been eclipsed by its own offshoots in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and now by the Islamic State fighting in Iraq and Syria.

Qedat al Jihad will be led by senior Pakistani militant Asim Umar.

The 55-minute video features Zawahiri and Umar, along with a new group spokesman identified as Usama Mahmoud.

It was produced by al Qaeda's As Sahan Media Foundation and has been widely distributed, according to the US-based SITE terrorism monitoring group.

Zawahiri said the regions of Assam, Gujarat and Kashmir, which all have large Muslim populations, would be targets for the new organisation.

"In the wake of this al Qaeda video, we will be on a higher alert," S.K. Nanda, the senior bureaucrat in the home department of Gujarat, said.

"We will work closely with the central government to tackle any threat posed to the state."

Gujarat is also the home state of India's new prime minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist criticised over riots in 2002 that left hundreds of Muslims dead.

Kashmir has an active armed insurgency against Indian rule and there have been terrorist attacks in other areas - including the 2008 Mumbai attacks which saw 166 people killed.

Zawahiri remains America's most wanted fugitive. The State Department "Rewards for Justice" programme has a $25m bounty on his head.

(This report has been translated and edited by Md Al-Amin for thereport24.com/English)

Ends/thereport24.com/KA/AMA/Sept 04, 2014

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