Bangladesh Spread of McJi­had

There could be a pos­si­bil­ity of the two war­ring be­gums to come to­gether to com­bat the rise of ISIS in BD.

Southasia - - CONTENTS - By S. Mubashir Noor

Is­lamist mil­i­tant groups are find­ing new ways to make in­roads into the Bangladeshi so­ci­ety.

Sum­mer has ended in Bangladesh, but ter­ror­ism con­tin­ues to heat up the coun­try. On Oc­to­ber 24, bombs went off out­side a Shia shrine in Dhaka on the day of Ashura, leav­ing one dead and over a hun­dred in­jured. A few weeks ear­lier, un­known as­sailants had gunned down Ku­nio Hoshi, an el­derly Ja­panese cit­i­zen, in Rang­pur dis­trict.

Hoshi’s mur­der came a few days af­ter Ce­sare Tavella, an Ital­ian aid worker, was sprayed with bul­lets in Dhaka’s diplo­matic neigh­bor­hood. Po­lice sources re­ported that five home­made bombs were used in the Ashura rally, while both Hoshi and Tavella fell to “three masked men who came by mo­tor­cy­cle and used a pis­tol.”

The SITE In­tel­li­gence Group, a ji­hadist watch­dog fo­cused on on­line snoop­ing and some­times em­ployed by the US gov­ern­ment, re­vealed


that Is­lamic State (ISIS) mil­i­tants had claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for all three at­tacks. Bangladeshi au­thor­i­ties, how­ever, were re­luc­tant to ac­cept its find­ings.

Dhaka Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Asaduz­za­man Mia voiced his skep­ti­cism to the press, say­ing, "Given the na­ture of at­tacks, I think this was done to cre­ate chaos in the coun­try." In short, he did not be­lieve th­ese at­tacks walked or talked like ISIS and may be po­lit­i­cal in na­ture.

Why does Mia feel this way? Pos­si­bly be­cause he has a solid pro­file of ISIS to work with, like most other law en­force­ment of­fi­cials around the world. For starters, the mil­i­tant group rev­els in the­atrics and is a care­fully chore­ographed cult, sell­ing po­tent Is­lamic sym­bol­ism to post­colo­nial Mus­lims.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Bagh­dadi’s in­ge­nious brand strat­egy drives its me­te­oric rise in the Mid­dle East and Maghreb. His af­fil­i­a­tion sys­tem is sim­ple and based on the fran­chise idea used by big multi­na­tion­als like McDon­alds. Is­lamic ex­trem­ists any­where can be­come a rib in the ISIS um­brella upon pledg­ing their al­le­giance to caliph alBagh­dadi and swear­ing to up­hold the group’s patent bar­barism.

This is a win-win sit­u­a­tion for both par­ties. The in­ductees gain a pow­er­ful new re­cruit­ing tool and monies, while al-Bagh­dadi’s global stock keeps ris­ing. It is no co­in­ci­dence that es­tab­lished ji­hadist groups like Nige­ria’s Boko Haram and Abu Sayyaf in the Philip­pines have jumped at the chance to ally them­selves with ISIS. Al-Bagh­dadi’s “McJi­had,” then, is ide­o­log­i­cal fast food for ex­trem­ists crav­ing pur­pose af­ter Al-Qaeda’s slide from sig­nif­i­cance.

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