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Indian-origin Islamic State militant designated by US

Siddhartha Dhar, who is known as Abu Rumaysah al-Britani, is said to be the masked man who appeared in a January 2016 Islamic State video in which several prisoners were executed.

world Updated: Jan 23, 2018 23:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
Indian-origin,Siddhartha Dhar,Islamic State
Dhar left the United Kingdom in 2014 to travel to Syria and join IS. (Reuters File)

Siddhartha Dhar, an Indian-origin man who was born and raised in Britain, was among two members of the Islamic State named as a “specially designated global terrorist” by the United States on Tuesday. The other individual was Abdelatif Gaini.

The designation would lead of loss of assets and properties owned by him in the US, if any, and Americans will be prohibited from carrying out any transactions with him.

Dhar, who is known as Abu Rumaysah al-Britani, is said to be the masked man who appeared in a January 2016 IS video, in which several prisoners accused of spying for Britain were executed.

The US, in its announcement, said Dhar was a leading member of the now-defunct terrorist organization Al-Muhajiroun. He left the United Kingdom in 2014 to travel to Syria and join IS.

“He is considered to have replaced ISIS executioner Mohammad Emwazi, also known as ‘Jihadi John’, the masked man who appeared in videos of the slaying of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff,” the announcement said.

Dhar was born into a Bengali Hindu family in London. He converted to Islam as a teenager and began calling himself Saiful Islam. Abu Rumaysah , his nickname, means “Father of Rumaysah”.

“Now that we have this caliphate I think you’ll see many Muslims globally seeing it as an opportunity for the Koran to be realised,” he had told BBC, shortly after joining IS. “As a Muslim I would like to see the UK governed by the Sharia. It is far superior to democracy. I don’t really identify myself with British values. I am Muslim first, second and last.”

First Published: Jan 23, 2018 22:29 IST