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OBL pal gets AL nomination

OBL pal gets AL nomination

Blitz Exclusive

Well known kingpin of Islamist militancy in Bangladesh, friend and close associate of Ossama Bin Laden, Mufti Shahidul Islam has finally got confirmation from Awami League about contesting in the next general election with AL symbol.

It may be recalled here that, Mufti Shahidul was arrested in 1999 by the then Awami League government for his alleged involvement behind the grenade attack on the Ahmedia mosque in Khulna district, killing several innocent members of the religious minority group. Later, being released from prison, he left Bangladesh secretly and was in Afro-Arab countries till Awami League handed over power during mid 2001. On his coming back from unknown overseas hideouts, Mufti Shahid joined Islamic Oikya Jote, which is an ultra Islamist organization, combining several fanatic religious political parties. At that time, it was reported in local press that, since his release from prison in early 2000, Mufti Shahidul Islam was mostly staying in Afghanistan, Pakistan and some of the African countries, where he had several meetings with top leadership of Al-Qaeda.

In 2001, he contested in the general election against Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina in Gopalganj district. During his electoral campaign, Mufti Shahidul gave sermons saying that; casting vote for Awami League was ‘haram’. He declared Awami League as ‘enemy of Islam’. It was alleged that, Mufti Shahidul spent huge amount of money in the election campaign and managed to buy voter’s sympathy. Being elected in the parliament, Mufti Shahidul Islam was busier in cashing his VIP status by engaging in various illegal activities. In 2005, his daughter was arrested along with a Pakistani woman at Dhaka’s down town area with 1.9 million foreign currencies, mostly fake. It was also alleged that, Shahidul’s organization Markajul Islam was funded by Al-Qaeda and it was spending significant amount of money each year in promoting Islamist terrorism in Bangladesh. It may be mentioned here that, Mufti Shahidul Islam fought as a ‘mujahid’ in the Afghan war against Soviet Union and later, he was one of the advisors of Al-Qaeda’s suicide offensives. He also got extensive training in manufacturing various types of bombs by the Al Qaeda bomb squads.

After Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, Shahidul was suggested by Ossama Bin Laden and his close associates of establishing an Islamic NGO in Bangladesh initially and later spread its activities in different countries, especially in the United States and European destinations, to spread the ‘message of jihad’ amongst the people. Accordingly, Mufti Shahidul Islam established Markajul Islam, which is basically an NGO providing free ambulance service and carrying dead bodies. Later, he established a number of clinics, madrassas and other organizations with the financial help of his Afro-Arab donors. In early 1999, Mufti Shahidul Islam managed to open a madrassa in New York City with the ultimate goal to spreading its branches in different other states in five years. Al Qaeda gave significant amount of fund for this project, which although was an Islamic education institution, but, its prime objective was to spread religious hatred amongst the Muslim population in USA as well plan several offensives on US establishments under the direct supervision of OBL. Prior to establishing the branch of the madrassa in New York City, Mufti Shahidul Islam had series of secret meetings with top level kingpins of Al Qaeda as well its contacts in Afro-Arab countries. It is also alleged that, during the entire 2001-2006 period, radical kingpin Mufti Shahidul Islam, by using his privileges as the Member of Parliament (MP), got involved in trafficking in narcotics to western destinations through Bangladesh as well provided various types of support to Islamist militant groups in India, Myanmar (Arakan) and other non-Muslim nations.

It may be mentioned here that, after the arrest of top kingpins of banned Islamist terror group Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB), many of them during interrogation named Mufti Shahidul Islam as their patron. But, the matter was suppressed, as at that time, Shahidul was a member of the Coalition government in Bangladesh. During such interrogations, one of the investigation agencies sought permission to at least interrogate Shahidul for getting more information about the source of fund of these elements. But, the authorities did not respond positively to such proposals.

Commenting of links of Bangladeshi militants with dubious foreign sources, an analyst said, “Islamists in Bangladesh have international links that provide both motivations and monetary support to them. While refusing to admit that the militants have foreign links, the investigators have stated that a few militants have had training in Afghanistan and other places such as Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. They have also revealed that the militants had training on bomb-making in Afghanistan and used Taliban techniques of the trade in Bangladesh. Besides his training in Afghanistan, JMB chief Shaikh Abdur Rahman had training in a number of Arab countries. According to intelligence sources, the JMB has connection with several radical Islamist groups and terror organizations, in different parts of Asia. Doubtful members of Afro-Arab countries have visited Bangladesh at different times in the name of religious activities and some of them gave training to the JMB men. Its most recent proof came out in July 2006 when two foreign militants were arrested in Bangladesh’s Jhalakathi district, the hotbed of Islamist militancy. These arrested foreign nationals were among nine militants detained in the district. One of the men was living illegally in Bangladesh for the past 18 years. They gave their names to the police as Golam Sabbir and Belal Afsar. According to police, those detained said they were members of ‘Dawat-e-Islami (Tablig and Dawat)’ and claimed to be engaged in religious preaching.

Posted on 14 Dec 2006 by Root

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