COUNTER-TERRORISM PERSPECTIVES (CTP) deals with Armed Insurgencies, Islamist Violence, Jihad and Radicalisation issues and other forms of Asymmetric Conflicts and policy responses in South Asia and beyond.
The transnational Islamist political movement Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) has increased its India-centric propaganda. HT is often described as a non-violent extremist group seeking to unite the global Muslim community under one Islamic caliphate. The arrests of several HT operatives from Central and South Indian states, including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, confirmed HT’s shadowy presence in the country. HT is attempting to revive the group’s past pro-Islamic state and anti-India discourses through its preaching campaigns.
Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Canadian businessman originally from Pakistan, was convicted in a US court in 2011. Rana was charged with providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Pakistan and for conspiring to attack the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten’s offices in Copenhagen and Aarhus. This followed their publishing of controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed in 2005. In 2013, Rana was sentenced to 14 years in a US prison.  Rana, however, was acquitted of a third charge, which had alleged his involvement in the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
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).
In mid-December 2022, the Maldivian Presidential Commission on Deaths and Disappearances (DDCom) submitted its final report on the disappearance of a prominent progressive journalist, Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla. Almost eight years after Rilwan mysteriously vanished from the capital Male’s suburb of Hulhumale in August 2014, the investigating agencies have connected several missing dots to reveal how he was harassed, abducted, tortured, and decapitated (Sun, December 15, 2022).
On February 17, the Indian government banned the Kashmir-centric Islamic militant group called the Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force (JKGF) (egazette.nic.in, February 17). A relatively new entrant in the Kashmir landscape, JKGF emerged as a hybrid strike unit comprised of highly trained cadres of Pakistan-based Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TuM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM).
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.
Islamist terrorism is not a novel phenomenon in the Southeast Asian region and can be traced to a myriad of indigenous and transnational factors. From the Bali bombing (2002) in Indonesia by Al Qaeda and its regional affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah to the siege of Marawi (2017) by Islamic State (IS) linked local groups in the Philippines, Islamist violence in Southeast Asia has come a long way in the last couple of decades. Two broader categorizations often dominate the academic and policy discourse.
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.