The Islamic State intends to use its fighters in Pakistan and Bangladesh to mount “guerrilla attacks inside India” and create fear and chaos by working with local mujahideen, the head of the terror group in Bangladesh has said.
Shaykh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif, the ‘amir’ of IS fighters in Bangladesh, made the remarks in a lengthy interview to the group’s online magazine Dabiq that was released on Wednesday.
Bangladesh, referred to by the IS as “Bengal”, is an important region for the IS’s so-called caliphate and the global jihad due to its “strategic geographic position”, al-Hanif said.
“Bengal is located on the eastern side of India, whereas Wilayat Khurasan is located on its western side. Thus, having a strong jihad base in Bengal will facilitate performing guerrilla attacks inside India simultaneously from both sides and facilitate creating a condition of tawahhush (fear and chaos) in India along with the help of the existing local mujahidin there...,” he said.
This would allow IS fighters to “enter with a conventional army and completely liberate the region from the mushrikin (disbelievers), after first getting rid of the ‘Pakistani’ and ‘Afghani’ regimes”, he added.
The IS had announced its expansion into Khurasan, the historic name for the area encompassing Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of India, in January last year.
Al-Hanif said IS fighters in Bangladesh “are able to connect and cooperate with the mujahidin in the various wilayat (branches) of the Khilafah (caliphate), including the brothers in Wilayat Khurasan”.
The cover story of the 14th issue of the propaganda magazine focussed on Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and there was an article on the four IS fighters who carried out the Brussels attacks. A significant portion is dedicated to the group’s operations in Bangladesh.
Besides claiming several attacks in Bangladesh, including the killing of a Hindu priest and a Hindu businessman, the magazine contains an article on a Bangladeshi jihadi named Abu Jandal al-Bangali, who died fighting at Ayn Issa in Syria.
Al-Hanif described the jihad in Bangladesh as “a stepping-stone for jihad in Burma” or Myanmar.
He claimed the Hindus of Bangladesh and India “have always been waging war against Islam and the Muslims. The only difference is that the Hindus in India show their animosity towards Islam and the Muslims openly whereas the Hindus in Bengal do it in a more deceptive and covert manner due to them being a minority sect here”.
He further claimed that many high-ranking positions within the police and intelligence agencies in Bangladesh are “occupied by the Hindus” and the secular government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina “sees these filthy pagans as die-hard party loyalists”.
Al-Hanif said the Hindus of Bangladesh had backed India’s RAW intelligence agency against Muslims “since the days of the so-called ‘Bangladesh Liberation War’ in 1971”.
“Thus, we believe Shariah in Bengal won’t be achieved until the local Hindus are targeted in mass numbers and until a state of polarisation is created in the region, dividing between the believers and the disbelievers...,” he added.