IS Releases First Propaganda Video Filmed Inside Bangladesh

BenarNews staff
Dhaka
2016-09-27
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160926_BD_IS_video-620.jpg This screen grab shows one of five men who carried out a deadly terrorist siege at a Dhaka café speaking in an online propaganda video.
BenarNews

Updated at 11:22 a.m. ET on 2016-09-28

A propaganda video that features footage of five men who carried out an Islamic State-claimed terrorist attack in Dhaka in July was filmed in Bangladesh, officials there acknowledged, with one think tank suggesting that the terror group had expanded its influence in the South Asian nation.

The video was released online on Sept. 24, two days after the five slain militants were buried in Dhaka, according to a statement sent to BenarNews by the Singapore-based International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research.

“This is the first official IS Bengali video released by a media unit identified as Bengal,” the statement said.

Senior Bangladeshi officials, who have long denied an Islamic State (IS) presence in Bangladesh, repeated that claim even while acknowledging that footage in the 15-minute film was recorded on home soil.

“This is an old video. It was made of some small pieces of videos freely available. The video was made in some parts of Bangladesh, and they sent it abroad. What I always say is that these militants are home-grown, not foreign. The IS is from Syria and Iraq. Can anyone show a Syrian or Iraqi fighting in Bangladesh?” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told BenarNews.

“Our investigators have been examining the video and we have yet to find out who filmed it,” the home minister said.

“We have not eliminated all the militants; some of them are still active. They released the video to cheer up the militants who are still out of our net,” he said, adding that the government had blocked circulation of the video.

Consolidating

The new video calls for Bangladesh’s democratically elected government to be toppled and replaced with an Islamic caliphate. It includes graphic images of the butchered remains of hostages who were among 20 slain during an overnight siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery café in Dhaka on July 1.

“They urged Muslims to join IS and kill infidels wherever they find them, and threatened Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, and the anti-terrorism unit Rapid Action Battalion,” the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research statement said of the video’s soundtrack.

“With IS facing mounting territorial losses in Syria and Iraq, the establishment of an IS Bengali media unit suggests that IS is consolidating its influence and strength in Bangladesh, asserting that it remains strong and capable of spreading its ideology and terror internationally in the face of setbacks,” it said. The center is part of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University.

The men who appear in the video are the same ones pictured in images of the alleged attackers released by Islamic State’s propaganda wing shortly after the attack. They have since been identified by police and through DNA testing as Rohan Ibn Imtiaz, Mir Sameh Mobashwer, Nibras Islam, Khairul Islam Payel and Shafiqul Islam Ujjal.

These men were members of Neo-JMB, a faction of home-grown militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh that espouses IS ideology, according to officials.

Second Bengali video

The video is the second Bengali-language IS propaganda video to appear online since the attack.

In the older video, released in July, three men praised the attack, warning of more terrorist acts to come. That video was shot in Raqqah, the group’s Syrian stronghold, according to SITE Intelligence, a U.S.-based group that monitors jihadist material online.

Retired Brig. Gen. Shahedul Anam Khan, a security analyst, said the new video was shot in a rural location inside Bangladesh to show IS leaders in the Middle East that supporters had been active in Bangladesh.

“The recent video was filmed at an isolated place. It was recorded much before the Holey Artisan attack. The militants had the plan to stage a massacre, escape the scene and later claim the responsibility through the video message,” the analyst told BenarNews.

“The newly recruited members of the JMB are very highly educated. The government may deny that IS presence. But it is a harsh truth that they [IS] have attracted … some educated youths from Bangladesh,” Khan said, referring to some of the slain café attackers who came from well-to-do families.

“The Muslims, the Hindus and other faiths have been living in Bangladesh for centuries. But they want to destroy the multicultural heritage of this land. They have brainwashed the youths through wrong interpretation of Islam,” said Khan, referring to IS and JMB.

The new video also threatens some Bangladeshi Muslim clerics who have spoken out against militant groups. These include Maulana Farid Uddin Masud, president of the Bangladesh Jamatul Ulema, who spearheaded a fatwa against extremism in Bangladesh.

“Islam has not come into being to kill people. The militants’ Islam is not Islam,” Masud told BenarNews in commenting on the new propaganda video.

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