In mid-2022, Bangladeshi police stumbled upon a burgeoning Islamist militant conglomerate called Jamaatul-Ansar-fil-Hindal Sharqiya (Assembly of the Helpers in the East of India, or “Jamaatul Ansar”) while investigating youth disappearances in the country. More than 50 youths have reportedly left their homes to join Islamist groups under the pretext of religious migration (hijra) in the last two years (Parthom Alo, September 25, 2022).
As Rohingya refugee camps near the Naf river (which partially separates Bangladesh and Myanmar) become hubs for organized crime and militants, Bangladeshi authorities fear spillover effects for Bangladesh and for the region more broadly. Refugee camps have mushroomed along Bangladesh’s southeastern border since August 2017 as a result of the Rohingya exodus from Myanmar’s Rakhine State. However, now these refugee camps are becoming havens for crime, replete with gang violence, targeted killings, and the trafficking of drugs, firearms, and counterfeit currency.
Abstract: This article examines Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent’s (AQIS) extremist propaganda in Bangladesh and how this South Asian affiliate of the Transnational Jihadist group- Al Qaeda- has dominated the extremist narrative against Bangladesh. The analyses draw on primary data from AQIS supporter channels on encrypted social media platforms such as Telegram and various “cloud-platform” websites that serve as repositories for the group’s propaganda.
The Rohingyas, as described by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, are "one of, if not the most discriminated people in the world." Native to Myanmar's Rakhine state, Rohingyas are a stateless Muslim minority. Myanmar does not recognize them as citizens and considers them illegal immigrants. According to the Human Rights Watch, various laws in place discriminate against them, including prohibitions on their freedom of movement, education, and employment.
In late December 2021, Bangladeshi counter-terrorism agencies warned about the possible resurgence of Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh (AIB), which also functions as an official wing of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and staunchly supports the Afghan Taliban’s Islamic Emirate. According to these agencies, AIB has been recruiting and training in the hinterlands of Bangladesh.
In early May 2020, the Bangladeshi police counter-terrorism unit arrested 17 members of the banned terrorist group, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), in Dhaka. At the time of the arrest, the JMB operatives planned to join Imam Mahdi, the spiritual redeemer of Islam, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Rohan Kumar Gunaratna and Mohd Aslam (ed), COVID-19 Pandemic: The Threat and Response, Routledge, 2022.
On May 5, Bangladeshi police arrested Mohammad Shakib and Ali Hasan Osama, two members of the al- Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Islam terrorist group. They were arrested for “planning and instigating” an attack on the National Parliament (also called the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban) in the capital Dhaka. Shakib was arrested with a sword and black flag near the parliament while Ali Hasan Osama was apprehended in the Rajbari area of Dhaka (BDNews24.com, May 6).