EXCERPT FROM – The Social Dynamics of Terrorism in Bangladesh: A History


sjmb_head-pic_burberry-smileby Sundar J.M. Brown

Man is the only religious animal.  In the Holy Task of smoothing his brother’s path to the happiness of heaven, he has turned the globe into a graveyard.

-Mark Twain

Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority.

-Koran (3:151)

 

PROLOGUE

Terrorism may be counted amongst Bangladesh’s oldest allies, its social destabilization strategy, and its guerilla warfare tactics, both of note in the country’s struggle for independence.  Terrorism is also Bangladesh’s most contemporaneous nemesis, its flux of violence responsible for the nation’s never-ending political and economic volatility, both evidence of the country’s seemingly permanent absence of any long-term social health.  Bangladesh’s dysfunctional folklore is intimately tied to its inability to escape both the actions, and language, of terrorism.  The term “terrorism” has recently been parlayed into the euphemism “violent political action”, the terrorists themselves now called “violent political actors”; this terminology is especially popular in conventional political and academic circles.  For the terrorists, this is a convenient semantic shift, for it suggests that those who study terrorism, as well as the observers and even the victims of terrorism, should lend some credence or legitimacy to terrorist action, in so much as it should be understood that the violence was politically motivated, i.e., there is potential for its just cause.  This idea has found support at the highest levels of education and government.

Influential leading academics, such as Noam Chomsky and Hannah Arendt, have spoken publicly and forthrightly on the reasonable violence which may be expected in the wake of political injustice[1], suggesting that political recognition could go a long way in ameliorating the violence.  Indeed, in the past several years, the world has witnessed groups originally deemed terrorist organizations- Hamas, The Taliban, and Al Qaeda to name but a few- not only be offered a seat at the negotiation table, but, rise to political prominence, even becoming the (allegedly) democratically elected leadership of a prominent and populous region.

This approach irrevocably binds terrorism and politics, already bedfellows, now evil Siamese twins, to a level of permissible authorization.  One may even argue that the military actions promoted by a nation, if examined absent the attending political aims those same actions are designed to achieve, could easily be deemed terrorism. The explanation of the political goal, through constitutional legislation, is the sole ingredient which makes them relatively palatable on the international stage.  There is, it seems, quite the fine line between the thuggishness of killing for the sake of striking terror into the hearts of an innocent populace as a means of political protest and that of politically justifiable violence on a large scale (this is popularly referred to as “state sponsored terrorism” or may also be popularly referred to as “legal acts of war”) which, despite its legality, remains viewed as the height of injustice by its victims and many international observers; the personal, academic and governmental definitions of terrorism all hover somewhere between the two.  Deeper examination reveals that there are instances in which terrorism is motivated by personal economic and/or social gain, akin to the American experience of minority children from poor neighborhoods joining street gangs to acquire previously unrealizable economic security.  This phenomenon is found particularly amongst pockets of the impoverished, destitute, and uneducated, of which Bangladesh is majorly composed.  Approximately 80% of Bangladesh’s total population lives below the recognized poverty marker of $2 per day.[2]  The addition of a politically motivated religious process, such as Radical Islam, only deepens the complexity- the Siamese twin grows a third head.

The history of Bangladeshi politics and religion, alongside the violent political actions/terrorism which almost always coexist in Bangladesh’s political spheres, is a richly laden example of increasingly sophisticated but blurred adherences to economics, religion, politics and terrorism as methods of sovereign development.  It is also a case-study for the way in which governmental propaganda and mechanizations design violent political action to be acceptably received and digested by both  domestic and international publics.

This writing examines the evolution of those relationships in both historical and contemporary Bangladesh.  As even that precise topic is too voluminous for this project alone, we will confine this discussion to: (1) A history of the extreme violence and political maneuvering leading to Bangladesh’s emergence as an independent nation; (2) Historical and contemporary influences contributing to, and supporting, Bangladesh’s violent Islamic Extremism, and; (3) Profiling the significance of Bangladesh’s most longstanding terrorist group, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh (HUJIB), especially in consideration of its history, its relationships with prominent financiers, Bangladeshi political figures and their associated political parties, and its capacity and acumen for global networking.

 

Setting The Scene

Bangladesh, as a comparatively new polity on the world stage, has, at the very least, a formidable and onerous history.  With the 1971 secession of East Pakistan from the total country of Pakistan, itself also a politically constructed, comparatively new nation and East Pakistan’s subsequent emergence as the independent nation of Bangladesh, the inherent difficulties with language, race and acceptable identity became more pronounced.  The same zeal for political activism, which had been a hallmark of greater Indian Nationalism during the 1945-1947 Partition Era, narrowed in 1971, forming a more localised construct.  That political zeal found compatible voice in the Bengali Language Movements of 1948 and 1952, the Anti-Ayub Mass movement of 1969, and culminated in the Bangladesh Liberation War[3] of 1971.  This was the final precursor and subsequent segue to total Bangladeshi independence.  The Bengal Region[4] had divided yet again.  And, as always, the inherently destructive nature of that divide left significant socio-economic problems in its wake.

If India was the most significant jewel in the crown of the British Empire, the Bengal region was the most polished and well-tended portion of that gem. During the British Raj, Bengal was the epicenter from which radiated the majority of the socioeconomic and political force affecting India at large.  The region’s history offers a veritable conundrum of economic roller-coastering, social elitism, and religious and political scandal.  Such tribulations were not soon forgotten, especially by the conservative members of Bangladeshi society.  As time passed, Bangladesh, in sync with the Bengal region as a whole, adapted itself coherently to the ever-changing face of modernity.  But the memory of the power and glory of the old Bengal coupled with more than a century of instability, eventually snowballed, thus making an ideological shift practically inevitable.

 

A Radical Past

A discussion centered around historical evidences will help to contextualize the above.  We will do well to remember that Bangladesh had been assisted in its fight for independence by the Hindu-majority India.  Indeed, many Bangladeshis had, over the course of a century, converted to Islam though they were descended from Hindu families and maintained relations with their still-Hindu kith and kin.  However, by the time the 1971 emancipation had been rightly achieved, the Bangladeshi passion to solidify a unique political identity merged with a thoroughly homegrown sense of self.  Like Pakistan, the newly formed Bangladesh was, demographically, a Muslim-majority nation.  And now, Bangladesh’s citizens collectively moved to define themselves in opposition to the similarly Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Within the borders of Bangladesh itself, this social thrust created a fervor of intense religio-nationalism.  One primary effect of this heightened emotional state was that it primed and facilitated the ideologies of fundamentalist Islam, already common to the Middle East (or, as it is called by those living in the South Asian Region, ‘West Asia’), to map themselves onto the Bangladeshi experience in a very personalized way.  The history of this anomaly is discussed at greater length, below, in the sections titled, “The Roots of Islamic Extremism”, “The Ferazee”, and, “The Wahabi”.

Just prior to this emergence, a number of former East Pakistani persons-of-influence had, in the name of ‘preserving an Islamic nation’, cooperated with Pakistan by conspiring against the Bangladeshi freedom-fighters during the Bangladesh Liberation War.  These individuals, who would later come to be collectively known as the Collaborators, had fled to Pakistan, the Middle East, or Europe during the war for independence.  By the middle of 1972, the Collaborators had begun to trickle back into Bangladesh.  The public, who came to know of their return, had vivid memories of Pakistani-inflicted genocide still fresh in their minds.  They resisted the Collaborators’ re-entry and demanded justice; the immature Bangladeshi government promised that litigation would be swift and true.

However, a series of contrived, red-tape laden judicatory ‘challenges’ failed to hold the Collaborators truly accountable for their war crimes.  Congruent to this were overt acts of public nepotism in favour of many Collaborators.  There were some among the Collaborators who were related, even if distantly, to those in power in the Bangladeshi government.  Those Collaborators were often granted government positions or were established as business leaders in Bangladesh’s emerging industrial sector via handsome stipends or government subsidies.

All of these elements matriculated into a shared popular experience of intense social injustice, felt most deeply at the grassroots level.  The disadvantaged lower echelons of an already besieged social stratification system, further exacerbated by the battle-torn damage to land, home, and family left in the wake of the conflict- those farmers, merchants, students, villagers, intellectuals and, most significantly, war veterans, began to drop their rigid social walls and communicate with one another, sharing their experiences in exploitation and injustice.  Those sentiments grew to an intolerable level; the direct result was formally organised resistance.  And, the newest target was the Bangladeshi government.

One such resistance movement consisted almost entirely of university-employed intellectuals who maintained a secular agenda by working against the government’s participation in Islamization of the Bangladeshi nation-state.  This movement was met with counter-resistance by non-secular organisations who favoured the government’s Islamization and endeavoured strongly to create a culture of resistance to modernity.  This anti-establishment model rested on the bedrock of perversely interpreted, antiquated Islamic law.  When efforts to enforce those laws failed, those counter-resistance organisations turned to violence to promote their causes.  All at once, Bangladesh saw the rise of what could now only be deemed terrorist groups, all of whom remained dedicated to a return to imagined ideals of archaic Islamic culture.  This imagined construct is the hallmark of fundamentalist Islam and it gained strength and popularity through such institutionalisation.

There are several terrorist groups which have taken their mission quite seriously and thus risen to more prominence than the rest.  These prominent groups have remodeled their corporate structure, if you will, so as to create responsible and accountable internal hierarchies.  They have marketed themselves as functional and self-sufficient organisations, a move which, interestingly, has seemingly converted them, in both public and government eyes, from rogue bands of outlaws into institutions with a great deal of political legitimacy.  Among these successful entrepreneurs, the top three groups are Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh (HUJIB), Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), and Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), JMJB technically functioning as a subdivision of JMB.

These groups sought, and still seek, to accomplish a variety of socially transformative missions, including the conversion of the nation’s political and legal systems to a traditional form of Islamic Law (harkut/sharia).  Citizens en masse, especially children, are targets of intensified propaganda campaigns meant to saturate them with the principles of fundamentalist Islam.  The hope is for this propagandist zeal to graduate into a cooperative socio-political force, one which directly opposes modernisation, secularism, and democracy.  This propaganda is set in lights by punctuated, systematic assassinations of progressive intellectuals.  These three aforementioned terror groups are financially connected to Middle Eastern terrorist cells (such as Al Qaeda) through the funding received from them.  As such, the Bangladeshi groups self-identify as affiliates and they often look to the Middle Eastern cells as prototypes, deriving from them both inspiration and manpower.  The specifics of these groups’ functions and methodologies will be discussed in a later chapter.  At this point in our discussion, it is important to note that these groups are operating as we speak, and with the same agenda as the Middle Eastern cells.  This alone is evidence enough of the tendency, in Bangladesh, for Islamic fundamental ideologies to evolve into globally dangerous terror networks.

It will help the reader to hear historical evidence which connects the activities of contemporary fundamentalist Islamic terror groups to a longstanding affection for radical interpretations of Islam which have been extant in the Bengal region since the late 17th century.  Deeply rooted personal networks were formed during the historical development of that fundamentalist Islamic ideology.  Those same networks persist to this day.  As such, the consistency of social, political, and economic disrepair in contemporary Bangladesh facilitated the formation and rise of Islamic Fundamentalist terrorist organisations therein.

Finally, Bangladesh possesses a unique geographic and political-economic climate which is an ideal breeding ground for the training and development of fundamentalist Islamic terror groups.  As such, Bangladesh is an ideal stage for the fundamentalist-terror voice.  The combination of these forces serves to poise Bangladesh as a major force, and alternative base of operations, in the propagation of violent terrorist action.  Such action could very well have globally epidemic consequences.

 

The Historical Evolution of Islam in Bengal

Islam plays a major role in the history and development of contemporary Bangladesh.  Islam is not merely the religion of Bangladesh’s majority populace- it is a way of life which pervades the sociology of the nation and its people and is, thus, largely indistinguishable from the Bangladeshi identity.  Its roots in the Bengal Region stretch back many centuries, allowing it to have established not only a firm hold on the land, but to evolve naturally alongside its growth.

Islam first entered the Bengal Region via an influx of Sufi missionaries in the 12th century A.D.  It grew steadily through association with the economic and military conquests of Turkish invaders, all of whom were its practitioners.  By 1538, a wave of political and military activity, which had been brewing at India’s Northwestern border with Afghanistan, broke, and Muslim Afghan lords established their ruling seats in Bengal.  They remained for about four decades.  In 1576, those ruling parties were ousted by the great tide of Mughal warlords.  Under their suzerainty, a great number of mosques and madrassas were built throughout the region.  This empire was especially economically powerful, engaging full-tilt in commerce with Portuguese, Dutch, French, and British East India Company traders.

Concurrent with a relationship of conflict which spanned several centuries, there were significant military engagements between the resident Mughals and incoming traders as they struggled for control of the region.  The most notable amongst them was the 1757 Battle of Plassey which saw the British victorious over the Mughals and yielded control of Bengal to the British East India Company.  The Battle of Plassey set the stage for a long-term British investment, something which grew in strength through the 20th century, at which point the British fixed their attention more steadily on the Bengal Region, quite significant for the economic advantage it would lend to a geographical partitioning of its natural and human resources.

The early 20th century saw a British attempt to partition the Bengal Region, an idea soon thereafter abandoned.  Tangible partition of the greater India into India and Pakistan came in 1947.  In the same year, a sub-partition of sorts manifested in the form of Pakistan being divided into West Pakistan (present day Pakistan) and East Bengal; East Bengal was shortly thereafter renamed East Pakistan.  Both were declared as Muslim states.  Also consecutive to the 1947 greater partition of India was a ‘sub-sub-partition’ which separated the Hindu-majority portion of the Bengal Region from the Muslim-majority East Pakistan.  The new Hindu-majority tract became the Indian state called West Bengal.  West Bengal directly bordered the former East Bengal now redubbed East Pakistan.

People who had all shared the common nomenclature of Bengali were now forced to distinguish themselves as either Indian or Pakistani.  East Pakistan and West Pakistan were divided by thousands of geographic kilometers.  There was an equally monumental gap between the two regions’ languages and cultural practises.  These marked differences, coupled with an annually increasing general desire for Bengali autonomy, led to East Pakistan’s secession from West Pakistan in 1971.  East Pakistan became an independent country.  The newly independent East Pakistan was very quickly renamed Bangladesh- the ‘place (desh) of the language called Bangla.’[5]

 

Islamic Distinction

There is immense historical significance in examining the development of Islam in the Bengal Region, particularly as Islam’s practitioners established themselves in oppositional conflict to non-Muslims.  Questions of identity have always been deeply ingrained in the South Asian psyche, if for no other reason than because such a plethora of cultural and religious practices have spanned the subcontinent.  In the period under discussion now, the region had already seen a shift from Hindu to Muslim to British and then back to distinctly Muslim and Hindu, violently separated under British influence.  This bandying about of culture, law, and language left an identity void in the lives of many.  This was, perhaps, resolved to some degree with Partition.  Partition, though, focused exclusively on India and Pakistan, on Hindus and Muslims.  Pakistan had its own touchier identity crisis as it remained divided into East Pakistan and West Pakistan.

While both East and West Pakistan were Muslim polities, the similarity ended there.  A great physical distance existed between the two regions[6] and extreme differences in language, culture, food and daily life were overtly apparent.  The West Pakistanis thought of themselves as wholly Pakistani, a uniquely sovereign Islamic nation, independent of India and the British Raj and self-governing of its own accord.  The East Pakistanis, while primarily Muslim, did not think of themselves as Pakistani at all- they thought of themselves as Bengalis.  It was important, therefore, to the Muslims of East Pakistan to be recognised as Bengali Muslims.  A brief look at both the Mughal and British influence on South Asian Islam will help to shape this distinction.

 

Mughal Influence

Because the Islamic presence in India had come through the introduction of foreigners, Hindus remained the majority population before, during, and after the Mughal period.  The Mughal Islamic rulers were known to be quite diplomatic and, in most instances, acted with deference to Hindu customs.  There were political controls in place however, among them the imposition of the jizya, a personal tax levied on non-Muslims who were living in a Muslim state.  The Islamic government was honor-bound to “support, protect, grant freedom of faith to and treat on a footing of justice and equality with Muslims”[7] all those who paid the jizya.  All those who ascribed to the jizya were officially qualified as dhimmi,  “an inhabitant of a Muslim state who belongs to an officially protected non-Muslim religion.”[8]  However, while all payers of the jizya were dhimmi, not all dhimmi paid the jizya.  What was most important was that the distinction between Muslim and non-Muslim be established.  This effectively created two distinct categories: those who were Muslim- and everyone else.  This identity schema was rigidly imposed, so much so that the term dhimmi remained in common use even after the British presence in Bengal became dominant.

 

Enter the British

When, in 1757, British control of Bengal became official, it did not mean a complete demise of the Mughal culture.  It did mean, however, that English replaced Persian as the official language of the courts.  It also meant a systematic effort by the British to use the new legal system, replete with its confusing new language, unintelligible to most of Bengal’s inhabitants, to gain control of land.  Between 1828 and 1846 massive revenue was generated by British reclamation of rent-free lands, the deeds to which had been carelessly lost or left unpreserved by their Muslim owners.  Muslims landowners hit hardest by this responded by imposing difficulty on the British the only way they knew how- by aggressively resisting the use of the English language.  This, at least, prolonged court proceedings, and, as the British were bound by their own legal system, bought the landowners time to engage in more organised resistance.  Concurrently, large numbers of young professional Muslims took to politics, encouraging the Muslim community to aggressively resist the British.

In response, the British turned to Hindu landlords (zamindars) for support mostly because the Hindu gentry were agreeable to the use of the English language, and, also, because those zamindars were engaged in systematic fiscal exploitation of their Muslim-peasant tenants.  The British, accordingly, excised a tax on the profits turned by the Hindu zamindars therewith.  Muslim religious leaders (mullahs), in turn, preached anti-Hindu and anti-British messages.  The mullahs initiated a revival of a return to the purist principles of traditional Islam by distancing themselves from Hindu festivals and British practises.  Some mullahs went as far as to encourage Muslims to,

violate the sanctity of the caste system by touching Hindu wells and water-pots. […] such developments led to the growth of a new Islamic identity among Bengali Muslims, which in turn led to the social alienation of Muslim villagers from their Hindu neighbours with whom they shared a common pattern of rural life.  The heightening of the consciousness of a separate cultural identity ‘made the Bengali Muslims feel that as Muslims they are required to be distinct from Hindus and to orient their manners, customs, personal and family names in accordance with pan-Islamic norms’.[9]

 

The Roots of Islamic Extremism

The bullying tactics promoted by the mullahs was the catalyst for an abiding culture of organized resistance, through violent adherence to Islamic Extremism, in the Bengal Region.  Riding on that culture’s coattails, two Islamic Extremist movements- the Ferazee and the Wahabi- eagerly inherited the rebel mindset.  The Ferazee were most prominent in the rural areas of East Bengal, the same region which would become today’s Bangladesh.  The Wahabi found a home in the slightly more metropolitan tracts of West Bengal, the same region with which contemporary Bangladeshis would have ethnically and linguistically identified.  A thorough look at the Ferazee is more to our purpose and we will concentrate the bulk of our discussion there.

A theological analysis of the Ferazee and the Wahabi would reveal significant doctrinal differences.  Both movements, though, possessed, at their core, an aggressively rebellious mentality; both were characteristically antagonistic to economically/politically/socially superior authorities, especially authorities who were non-Muslim, a trait very much in line with the behavior of contemporary Islamic Extremists. As these movements rose to prominence throughout the first half of the 19th century, they worked actively to sustain and inflict organized, religiously motivated, violent rebellion.  It will help the reader to hear evidence which connects the activities of fundamentalist Islamic terror groups, both in contemporary Bangladesh and the world over, to the historical behavior of that fundamentalist subculture indigenous to the Bengal Region, which has maintained such longstanding affection for the most radical and violent interpretations of Islam.

In comparing terrorist organizations functioning outside of Bangladesh, we will use Al Qaeda as a model[10].  Al Qaeda is the modern world’s preeminent terrorist organization and their tactics and ideology are held as the gold standard by non-Al Qaeda groups aspiring to achieve the same level of global success.  Al Qaeda was founded by the contemporary world’s most famous terrorist, Osama bin Laden, a very prolific author and one who is known to be punctilious about his adherence to Islamic law and custom.  An Islamic scholar in his own right, bin Laden, along with his mentor, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, also a well-reputed Islamic scholar, is exceedingly careful to do everything, ‘by the book’, that is, by scripture.  Zawahiri and bin Laden’s written declarations are nothing less than a fatwa, “a legal opinion or decree issued by a recognized authority and derived from Islam’s roots of jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh).”[11]  Their words provide deep insight into the theological ideology which underpins all of Al Qaeda’s actions and motives and provide the reader a rare glimpse into the thinking world of violent Islamic fundamentalism.

 

The Ferazee

The Ferazee (derived from the Arabic word Feraizi, meaning, ‘Commandments of God’; the name alone is a strong indication of the beliefs which serve as justification for all of their activities) began, as many religious movements do, with the fervor resulting from one man’s passionate spiritual quest.  The year was 1798.  Fulfilling the haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca prescribed as one of the five pillars of Islam (the other four being nemaz (prayer), roza (fasting), zakat (charity), and jihad (holy war, or, in moderate interpretations, holy struggle, referring to an internalized battle between good and evil), the then 18 year old Shariat-ullah travelled from Faridpur, in his native India, to the Saudi Arabian town of Mohammed’s birth, a distance of some 5,600 kilometers.  While there, he lived and studied under the tutelage of one Tahir Sombal, the leader of the extremely legalistic and authoritarian Shafi school of Islamic jurisprudence. Shariat-ullah remained under Sombal’s authority for 20 years, founding the Ferazee sect in 1804 at only 24 years of age.

His youthful passion not deterred by two decades of aging saw him return home, sufficiently indoctrinated and with a goal of purifying the Bengali Muslims.  This undertaking began with an insistence upon the rejection of any non-Koranic customs or social rituals.  Shariat-ullah shook the Bengali Muslims out of their uniquely Bengali identity and repatriated them as practitioners of a reformed Islam.  No longer were his countrymen primarily Bengalis who were Muslim by birth and religion.  Rather, they were, first and foremost, Muslims who happened to be born in Bengal.  Bengali-ism took second place, in so much as identifying oneself as Muslim surpassed all their other priorities.

The idea that the process of Islam, as exemplified by its practitioners, itself has become contaminated by the world’s progress, and, thus, requires a return to its base principles- exemplified in the Five Pillars and reformist interpretation of the Koran- is no less the idea espoused by Osama bin Laden[12], Al Qaeda, the organization which he so famously founded, and Al Qaeda’s affiliates, whether officially recognized or self-declared.  He is especially keen to deliver this message to the Muslim community, and he makes no secret of classifying Muslims.  Contrary to our identification of bin Laden’s approach as radical, he and Al Qaeda pose a reformed Islam as the Koranic ideal.  By their estimation, a re-identification with the principles of Islam is first needed; all other external considerations come last.  This reformative spirit is precisely the one embodied by Shariat-ullah upon his return from Saudi Arabia.  It is no coincidence that bin Laden, as a Saudi Muslim, is similarly charged.

The reformist view does not believe that those Muslims adhering to fundamental teachings are unnecessarily rigorous; rather, it is that those Muslims ignoring the fundamental teachings are not rigorous enough.  Thus, we have “moderate Islam”, a phrase fondly quoted in contemporary terrorism research and reporting, and one meant to indicate the normal, peaceful Muslims who are not radical or violent in their approach.  In fact, the term “moderate Islam” was coined by bin Laden and, in his rendering, it is the moderates who are abnormal in their Islamic practice.  Moderation is not an esteemed value as viewed through bin Laden’s truly Islamic eyes.  Rather, moderated Islam is self-serving and potentially disloyal, particularly when it involves cooperation with economically/politically/socially superior authorities, especially authorities who were non-Muslim.  Islam in moderation, bin Laden asserts, is not Islam at all.

Such a scenario is epitomized by the economic and political relationship the Saudis maintain with the West.  Despite the obvious fiscal rewards brought about by the oil business, bin Laden sees the yields as exorbitant and thus sinful, material excesses which directly impede the spiritual path of any dutiful Muslim.   The economic relationship must, thus, be disturbed, and both sides are to be held accountable.  This tactic is akin to the Ferazees’ mission to, “save the Muslim peasant population from the tyranny of Hindu landlords,”[13] which Shariat-ullah attempted by, “advocat[ing] non-payment of levies during the Kali and Durga festivals”[14], and, “cow-slaughter during the Muslim festivals regardless of all prohibitions.”[15]  These two acts constituted a three-tiered approach, striking hard and fast on the levels of politics, economics, and social/religious custom.  The political consideration was the power struggle itself and the Ferazees’ willingness to contradict the existing authorities by asserting their own.  The economic attack sought to deprive the Hindu community of their standard income.  It also incorporated a social/religious affront, depriving the Hindus of their funding at a time when they needed it most.  The annual festivals honoring Kali and Durga are easily the most lavish of Bengali Hindu customs, and also serve as an important time for family bonding.  The insult was unbearable for the Hindus; these combined disturbances by the Muslims led to an outbreak of skirmishes, thus undermining the Festivals’ otherwise sanctified mood.

One reason for the success of the Ferazees’ early efforts was that they were so integrated into the community as to be, “impossible to isolate the reform movement from economic and communal problems.”[16]  So concerned were the Hindu zamindars with their economic prosperity that they made themselves primarily dependent on a Muslim community for income.  The integration proved economically catastrophic and, on some level, also served to reinforce the Ferazees’ devotion to Islamic fundamentalism.  Their dedication to Shariat-ullah’s orthodoxy had permitted them to accomplish what the Hindus could not, a defeat from which their Hindu gods did not protect them.

Measured against contemporary Islamic terrorists, Shariat-ullah would be considered a low-level player, perhaps even cowardly, not possessing the chops to take the fight to the enemy with any true semblance of martial force.  By the standards of his day though, and considering his limited scope and resources, it was quite the achievement.  Given that Shariat-ullah, “maintain[ed] his reputation untarnished”, it was even a brilliant machination.  This series of acts would mark the beginning of the Ferazees’ success in resistance, the power to do so concomitant with the growth and development of the movement, even as its leadership changed hands.

As the Ferazee movement aged, so did Shariat-ullah, and, upon his death in 1840, his son Dudu Mia (also known as Mahomed Mohsin Aldin Ahmed[17]) took the reins.  Dudu Mia was a natural successor, not merely because of his biological link.  Dudu Mia had also made the haj, been radicalized abroad and returned home as devoted as his father had been to the preservation of the purity of Islam.   Dudu Mia fits a discernible pattern, one which my own career-based research in terrorism analysis has taught me, in the conversion process of Islamic fundamentalists.  It is almost always the case that they are young and male.  They have occasion, as they grow up, to observe frequent political/economic/social/religious injustice, to which they are sensitively predisposed, however slight.  The naïveté of their youth combines with the passion of their youth, propped up by the perceived injustices, to swear an internal oath to propagate change.  At roughly 18 years of age, they depart their home, often, though not always, to make the haj.  Haj or no haj, they actively seek and obtain the educational and spiritual shelter of an older (though not necessarily elderly), and wiser imam, always one known for social activism or radicalized ideology.  They then typically commit to a period of monasticism, often in a madrassa.  After some years of indoctrination, they return home and form a grassroots organization or movement through which they employ their radicalized education in implementation of fundamentalist ideology, up to and including severely violent acts.  Many of the founders of Al Qaeda affiliates the world over have followed this pattern.  And, as history shows, it is not a newly conceived process.  Shariat-ullah followed this pattern.  His son, Dudu Mia, followed this pattern.  It is a time-tested and effectively proven method, useful in initiating a resistance movement, and especially useful in growing one already extant.

Dudu Mia grew the existing Ferazee along more formally organized lines.  He formed a unified body called the Central Association which managed the Ferazees’ finances and served as an administrative headquarters.  He continued his father’s fight against the oppression imposed by the zamindars and preserved orthodoxy by maintaining his insistence upon the rejection of any non-Koranic customs or social rituals, especially, “forbid[ding] all ceremonies in connection with marriages, births and deaths, considering it sinful to waste money for this purpose.”[18]  When two prominent zamindar families resisted his directives, he shut them down in short order, solidifying his role as folk hero amongst the peasantry.  Enthused by the protections offered to them, the lower social echelons invigorated the Ferazee movement, swelling its ranks so much that, “followers and supporters of Dudu Mia numbered in Eastern Bengal alone between 55,000 and 80,000.”[19]  These numbers were enough to influence the moderate Muslims to at least go along with the Ferazee flow, especially in consideration of the fact that to go against that flow risked violent retribution or, at least, constant harassment.  The principles of Islamic Fundamentalism upon which the movement was founded were alive and well.

Fundamentalist theology played an extremely significant role in designing the code by which the Ferazee lived.  Just as important as the Ferazee oath to absolute truth and honesty was the willingness to deceive a non-Muslim to whatever extent necessary to provide assistance to a follower of Islam.  This principle is derived from the Koranic tenets of taqiyya, literally, “lie, deception” and kitman (lying by omission), both aspects supporting jihad specific to conflict and scripturally authorized in Koran 3:28 and Koran 3:54[20].  The practice of principles underlying jihad led to the consideration of jihad itself, and, for that, one needed an army, which Dudu Mia wasted no time in assembling.

Descending ultimately from a school of jurisprudence, Dudu Mia was never too distant from considerations of Islamic law.  He thus constituted panchayats, which, at the very least, were village councils.  Established panchayats functioned as the highest localized authority and, especially, as an authoritative court of law; panchayats specialized in remediating discrepancies in social and religious custom and thus operated most frequently at the plebeian level, the same strata from which Dudu Mia had gleaned his minions.

The Ferazee movement had now thoroughly amalgamated.  Its military component fused with its court system, all under the umbrella of the larger movement itself, became nothing less than an enforcement machine, a tool of extensive social regulation known as the Ferazee-Khalifat System.  All of this was being administered, and the system’s finances were being managed by, a governing body, the Central Association.  The scale of the movement had grown such that it offered a more-than-sufficient challenge to any authority outside of its own membership.  The Ferazee had become a cohesive, consistent, and legitimate threat.

First in the Ferazees’ sites were the British:

The Ferazees had no love for the British administration. Their rebellious mood, sense of cohesion, obedience to leaders and fanaticism of belief called for constant vigilance on the part of the authorities.  A general impression gained ground among Hindus as well as Muslims of the old creed that the Ferazees’ ultimate object was the expulsion of the British and restoration of Islamic power.[21]

This is, for all intents and practical purposes, the penultimate goal to which Al Qaeda and its affiliates aspire[22], that is, a complete reestablishing of the Islamic Caliphate.  While the creation of a singular Islamic state seems untenable, its eventual formation would be best born from the widespread success of localized efforts.  The Ferazee were the first in the Bengal Region to cross the line from terror machine to legitimate political entity, in effect creating a microcosm of the Caliphate.  Ferazee integration with existing bureaucracy greatly serviced that end, and, their influence with the local courts, through systematic, “corrosion of local government machinery”[23] lent them increased political power.  Such integration is a feature of modern Bangladeshi terrorism where official investigations have unearthed concrete relationships between Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh, Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), one of the two main political parties of Bangladesh, and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI), Bangladesh’s largest Islamist political party.[24]  Like the Ferazee, these groups have provided militarized services for hire at the behest of legitimate political parties, although they were clandestinely employed.

In the case of the Ferazee, the integrated relationships were quite open, such to the extent that a Ferazee system might trump local government’s effectiveness.  Peasants and farmers of the Ferazee era who wished to resolve their differences were often long delayed by the local British-run courts, buried under ever-compounding cases.  However, in submitting themselves to the panchayat system, any parties to a dispute would find expedient and fair resolution.  Further to this aim, the Ferazee made it publicly known that any person avowing their followership of Dudu Mia could expect the panchayat’s rulings to fall in their favor.  In this way they not only trumped official government entities, but, also converted their own version of the court system into a tool for growing Ferazee ranks.  This move delegitimized the British and European officers, the wealthy and powerful plantation owners, and also the Hindu community as well as the traditional Muslims.  The Ferazee’s exploits quickly gained them a plethora of enemies, spanning the breadth of the social and cultural spectrums.  Everyone wanted the Ferazee gone.

This attitude only increased Ferazee indignation.  Characteristic of radicalized Islamists, the Ferazee thumbed their nose at the local law, utterly disregarding any statutes legally constituted by local government.  Their contempt led to swift sanctions[25] from the collective authorities, beginning with banning and jailing Dudu Mia, followed by round-the-clock surveillance of all his lieutenants and soldiers.  Government officials encouraged all non-Ferazee citizens to deny jobs to Ferazees, landlords were told to refuse to rent land or domiciles to Ferazees, and debtors were instructed to deny all Ferazees any payments owed to them.  In exchange for this backlash, all citizens demonstrating non-cooperation with the Ferazees would be protected from Ferazee wrath.

Ordinarily, the egregious civil rights violations imposed on the Ferazee, by the government, through the people, including privacy violations, employment discrimination, gentrification, economic disengagement and intentional creation of poverty, would have been enough to catalyse a massive Ferazee uprising.  However, the Ferazee position already weakened by the sanctions, the government then proceeded aggressively with several court cases against the Ferazee, including the serious charges of murder and breach of the peace.[26]  Any acquittals or victories on appeal merely led to a refiling of newly created charges.  By the time these cases worked their way through the system, the Ferazee movement had sufficient wind knocked from its sails.  With Dudu Mia’s death in 1862, the already depleted Ferazee zeal quickly degenerated, finally fading into oblivion.  Another charismatic leader, though, had, only 35 years earlier, begun a similarly construed movement, one possessing far more bellicose tendencies.  The void left by the Ferazee was quickly filled by the fanatical Wahabis.

 

The Wahabis

The Wahabi sect traces its roots to 18th century Saudi Arabia.  Wahabiism’s place in the India of the early to mid-19th century was guided by one Syed Ahmed[27], the de facto commander in chief who returned, fresh from his haj, with a passion for spreading its ultra-conservative teachings.  Ahmed’s primary thrust was to purify Islam through the abolition of degenerative influences brought about by a Muslim’s association with Hindus.  He constituted a strict dress and grooming policy.  All men were to wear clean white cloth, their beards were to be cut in a precise and uniform fashion, and, Wahabis were to eat together, pray together and form domiciled communities centralized around defined geographies.  Any contradicting forces could be met with violence, enough as was necessary to maintain the Wahabi standards.  That is to say, the Wahabi were a uniformed gang, who established turf and were immediately physically aggressive in the face of conflict.

The culture of roughness was a comfortable place for Ahmed’s Bengali successor, Titu Mir[28].  From 1827-1831, under Mir’s direction, the Wahabi movement, though its membership was drawn from mostly peasant and weaver villagers, functioned in the slightly more metropolitan areas of West Bengal.  With his early years spent as an enforcer and debt collector for landed gentry, Titu gained valuable experience in thuggery on the streets of Calcutta and the surrounding districts and villages, finally landing in jail for his antics.  Upon his release in 1822, Titu, like his mentor, made the haj, repeating that now well-known pattern of radicalization: submitting himself to a fundamentalist mentor, returning home, and implementing a perverted ideology through violent means.  Titu’s extended personal association with Syed Ahmed, whom Titu had met and studied extensively under while on haj, enhanced his reputation in his native India to the tune of 1,500 early followers.  By the end of his tenure, that number had grown to nearly 15,000.

Mir pushed forward Ahmed’s anti-Hindu agenda and, given the Wahabi propensity for the same, violence quickly ensued.  When, in June of 1831, a Hindu landlord named Kishen Deb Ray imposed a 2.5 rupee tax only on, “all bearded Muslims”[29], Mir and his band sprang into action  at once.  From June through November of 1831, the Bengali Wahabis engaged in regular violent resistance against all taxes imposed by Hindu landlords and their European supporters.  Not exempt were traditional Muslims, outside of the Wahabi movement, who had agreed to pay the tax and were, thus, considered detractors from true Islam.  The skirmishes escalated beyond reconciliation when Ray’s, “party of 300 armed men attempted to set fire to a mosque where the [Wahabi] ryots (farmers) had assembled.”[30]  The Wahabi swiftly routed Ray’s forces, only to be persecuted severely by the local courts who, naturally, ruled in favor of the Hindu majority.  The Wahabi responded by indiscriminately slaughtering cattle, in violation of both local law and Hindu custom.  An ensuing battle on November 10th found at least one of the Hindu fighters dead and many more severely injured.  Declaring a state of emergency, government officials called in the British troops.  Note that a multi-national effort was necessary to successfully counter Mir’s Wahabis.  More than a century later, we still face the same challenges as the West’s ongoing fight against terrorism is almost always dependent on extensive cooperation amongst allied nations.  On November 17th, 1831, Titu Mir and his Wahabi fighters faced a joint force of Indian infantry and British cavalry.  The results were devastating for the Wahabi:

Titu Mir was killed in battle along with 50 men, 33 were injured and 250 taken prisoner.  Fearing a hero’s burial for Titu Mir, the dead bodies were burnt the same day.  In the trial of the prisoners which followed, Fakir Gholam Masum, commander of the Wahabi forces, was sentenced to death.[31]

The immediate disposal of the bodies calls to mind a similar strategy employed by the government of the United States in the days immediately following the death of Osama bin Laden.  Rather than bury bin Laden and risk the creation of a martyr’s shrine gravesite, his corpse was disposed of at sea.  With the passing of time, and without a site of pilgrimage to him, it was hoped that his memory would fade and his importance diminish.  Other than bin Laden’s death itself, this may well have been the one action which put a legitimate dent in Al Qaeda’s terrorist ideology.  The British of Mir’s time also understood the necessity of destroying the symbols of leadership as a viable strategy for destroying the institution.  However, just as in the wake of bin Laden’s death the world witnessed a brief surge in enthusiasm amongst his followers, the Bengali Wahabis of 1831 were not yet finished.

The Wahabi response was to seek justice by an instantaneous declaration of jihad.  Justice, of course, is an arbitrary term in this context, and, it matters not whether the jihad was morally or ethically just, only that the Wahabi believed it was.  The fact that jihad is an essential one of the Five Pillars of Islam, to which the Wahabi in their ultra-conservative orthodoxy were beholden, lent the effort immense spiritual authenticity, a feeling which only reinforced the justification.  The force driving their fanaticism was a deep faith in their ideology; so much so that the violence which materialized as a result may almost be counted as a side effect.  More killing ensued, but, the prime objective of the Wahabi was to, “openly [proclaim] themselves masters of the country, assuring that the Muslims, from whom the British had usurped authority, were the legitimate rulers.”[32]  No one was exempt from this declaration, not Hindu, not Muslim, not British.  Anyone who vocalized objection came under attack.

 

Enemies Near and Far

Mir’s willingness to target local Hindu civil authorities, their European supporters (the majority of them industrialists) and the traditional Muslim civilian is reminiscent of bin Laden’s two-pronged depiction of a “near enemy” and “far enemy.”[33]  Al Qaeda’s veins flow with Wahabi blood, the organization being the creation of a Saudi with deep ties to Wahabiism, and, Wahabiism itself being the preeminent form of Islam practiced in contemporary Saudi Arabia.  A near enemy is any Muslim deemed an apostate for lack of Wahabi-esque adherence.  The primary intention is conversion to fundamentalist principles, as was the case with the Ferazee and Wahabi, or, failing that, to distinguish oneself in opposition, up to and including eliminating the apostate for the sake of purifying Islam.  The near enemy is held to standard on the basis of establishing religious homogeneity.  A far enemy is, in the literal sense, any non-Muslim foreign entity who maintains an economic relationship with the apostates and by whose economic engagement the apostate is supported; a far enemy may also be any member of a foreign polity who resides in the Islamic land but is distant (“far”) by dint of cultural, religious and social practice.  As was the case with the 19th century Wahabi, and as was, and remains, the case with the 20th century Wahabi-inspired Al Qaeda, the far enemy is dealt with by much harsher, militant means.  The strategy in far enemy engagement is massive destabilization, to the extent that the far enemy is completely disengaged from its economic ties to the apostate, and/or that the far enemy is entirely expelled from Islamic lands.

The notion of Islamic lands is an antiquated idea, traceable to the geographies which fell under the sword of the once great Persian Empire[34].  It has little to do with and, in fact, stands in great contrast to, one of the innate problems in terrorism analysis, that of statelessness.  While the goal of restoring Islamic lands to the sole authority of the Caliphate is an aspiration for the Islamic terrorist, it is not an aspiration of the sovereign nation constituting the equivalent geography.  Saudi Arabia is the nation from which bin Laden hails.  To bin Laden, that nation is, “the [Arabian] Peninsula of Muhammad”[35] and thus belongs to the Caliphate.  The government of Saudi Arabia, however, does not share this sentiment.  Rather, it publicly disavows bin Laden and Al Qaeda[36] and cannot, thus, be the subject of military retaliation for acts of war propagated by one of its citizens (albeit, former).  This is an ideal defensive strategy for the terrorist groups; how and where can or does one strike back against them if they are so loosely organized as to be stateless while remaining cohesive enough to strike?  Where shall the victim nation send its missiles or bombs?  Where shall it deploy its troops?  This is a problem, the advantages of which are not lost on bin Laden.  In their fatwa titled, Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places[37] (first written in 1996 and then reissued in 1998 after a reformatting to correct legal and technical errors), bin Laden and his cohorts openly encouraged all Muslims to individually take up the personal mission of killing anyone, anywhere who interferes with Islam.  The 1996 edition requests:

My Muslim Brothers of The World:

Your brothers in Palestine and in the land of the two Holy Places are calling upon your help and asking you to take part in fighting against the enemy –your enemy and their enemy– the Americans and the Israelis. they are asking you to do whatever you can, with one own means and ability, to expel the enemy, humiliated and defeated, out of the sanctities of Islam. Exalted be to Allah said in His book: { and if they ask your support, because they are oppressed in their faith, then support them!} (Anfaal; 8:72)[38]

Again, in 1998:

We — with God’s help — call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan’s U.S. troops and the devil’s supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson.[39]

The fatwa does not request these actions on behalf of any contemporary polity, wishing only to liberate, “the land of the two[40] Holy Places” or, even more broadly, to remove the enemy from, “the sanctities of Islam”, a space with no known geographic specificity.  Any violent action inspired by the fatwa necessitates an idiosyncratic response; no single nation may be held fully accountable.  It is only at the fatwa’s end that we catch a glimpse of significance, a clue which, at least tells us where to look, and, one quite suited to our purpose here.  The fatwa’s fifth and final author has apended his signature therein.  His name is Fazlur Rahman.  He identifies himself as the, “Commander of the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh”.

 

Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh (HUJIB)[41] , [42], [43], [44]

Here is our definitive link to the significance of Bangladesh as a region worthy of analysis, particular in the scope of its usefulness in facilitating the training and execution of both domestic and international Islamic terrorism.  The founder of Al Qaeda is personally and inextricably linked to Fazlur Rahman, a prominent figure in Islamic terrorism in Bangladesh, indeed, the founder of the nation’s longest standing terror organization, the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh (HUJIB).  HUJIB is the Bangladeshi branch of the Pakistani-based parent organization, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (HUJI), originally founded in 1984.  The Bangladeshi arm was established by Rahman in 1992, its seed money provided by the International Islamic Front (IIF), a Saudi-based Islamist terrorist coalition founded in 1990 and led by Osama bin Laden.  HUJIB having come into being at the height of the Soviet-Afghan conflict, many of its seminal members eagerly journeyed to Afghanistan, as mujahideen, to fight alongside bin Laden as compatriots.  For those who survived, the combat experience was invaluable, and, they returned to Bangladesh seasoned veterans, with a renewed enthusiasm for jihad of both the intellectual and martial variety.

April 30, 1992 saw HUJIB going public when several of its leaders organized a press conference at Dhaka’s Jatiya Press Club al Dhaka, at which they not only formally identified themselves as HUJIB officers, but then demanded that Bangladesh be converted into an Islamic State.  No militancy of violence was threatened, and, though HUJIB leadership was composed of combat veterans, the group remained only socially and politically active for its first seven years.[45]  This was to change, when, on March 3rd, 1999, HUJIB made its public terror debut, attacking a large group of citizens attending a Bengali cultural show in the city of Jessore, Khulna Province.  Grenade-wielding Islamists successfully deployed two munitions.  Eight were killed and 150 were wounded.  HUJIB’s bloodlust would grow exponentially.

HUJIB’s underlying motive of establishing state-mandated Islamic orthodoxy led it to refine its targeting.  Rather than waste precious resources on the general public, HUJIB honed in on those individuals who threatened that ideal most, namely, members of Bangladesh’s progressive intellectual community.  First in HUJIB’s sites was Shamsur Rahman, the unofficial poet laureate of Bangladesh, and an outspoken critic of religious fundamentalism and excessive nationalism.  On January 19th, 1999, a small group of men attacked Rahman at his home.  The perpetrators were apprehended by local law enforcement, and the subsequent investigation revealed that HUJIB had recruited, trained, and tasked them with the assassination.  It also revealed a hit list of 28 of Bangladeshi’s leading intellectuals.

Though Rahman survived the attempt on his life, the attack had set a tone.  HUJIB was aggressively pursuing targets whose way of thinking was precisely antithetical to their cause.  HUJIB is known to have,

two wings: military and non-military.  The military wing is often referred to as the jihad wing.  The activists of the jihad wing are those who provide training and are ready to engage in violent acts anywhere in the world.  The non-military wing of the organization has two sections: Dawat and Irshad.  These sections are responsible for motivating people and creating a support base through publication and organization of seminars.[46]

HUJIB, then, does not restrict itself to violent jihad.  It is also an organization dedicated to progressive education, to propagating the ideas of resistance amongst the populace, even doing so through organized seminars.  Dawat may be translated as “feast” and Irshad as “guidance” or “direction”.  These are terms common in Arabic and Islamic usage, idiomatic in the vernacular of the Bangladeshis, who speak a heavily Arabicized form of Bangla.  The terms suggest that the impoverished life of many Bangladeshi’s, who are wanting for food, may be nourished at the dawat of HUJIB propaganda.  Additionally, HUJIB will care for these people, providing them the irshad so desperately needed to clamor out of poverty.  Feeding the hungry, providing them clothing, shelter, education and health care, all are tactics that have been in use for countless years in South Asia, most often at the hands of colonizers like the Dutch or the British.  The social welfare relationships are even expected to a degree, and, they are not met without gratitude.  HUJIB’s acumen in deploying social welfare in the creation of a willing platoon of soldiers for jihad underscores its savvy.  Despite the violence, HUJIB’s mission remains a war of ideologies.

Summarizing this intent, HUJIB soon produced a slogan, “Aamra shobai hawbo Taliban, Bangla hawbe Afghanistan: We will all become Taliban! Bangladesh will become Afghanistan!”  By HUJIB’s thinking, the transformation of one nation into another would begin with the removal of the Bangladeshi leadership.  This they did by designing a year 2000 plot to assassinate then Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina.

Hasina, as the country’s sovereign, was an obvious target.  But she is also very symbolically significant, if for no other reason than because she is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh’s founding father and creator of the still active Awami League, of which Hasina was chief.  Rahman and his family were mercilessly slaughtered en masse in a military coup on August 15th, 1975; not even women or children were spared.  Hasina escaped death on that terrible day only because she was abroad in West Germany.  On completing her education she took an active political role in Bangladeshi politics, eventually taking the Awami League’s helm.  The 2000 plot on Hasina’s life was discovered before it could be put into action, but, its implications are extensively condemnable.  Most significant is that the plot against Hasina was ideologically linked to the assassination of her father, killed by Bangladeshi military members who were loyal to Pakistan.

The 2000 plot on Hasina again shone light on the significance of HUJIB’s Pakistani roots, linking the early stages of its planning to the Pakistani diplomatic mission in Dhaka, through Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI).  It also demonstrated HUJIB’s reach into the business and industrial community.  The most prominent of the explosives which had been set to lie in wait for Hasina’s arrival in her hometown of Gopalganj was made by a HUJIB operative at Sonar Bangla Chemical Industries Limited, a large soap-manufacturing plant on the outskirts of that district.  The explosive was 76 kilograms in weight- hardly a device the scoping, manufacturing, and transport of which would have gone unnoticed, and, certainly not possible to assemble without on-site cooperation.

Failing the 2000 attempt, HUJIB made another attempt in 2004, this one far more successful, not only because it was operationalized, but for the extensive physical and psychological damage it wrought. The simple crudeness of guerilla tactics are often the very thing that make them so effective and the 2004 attack was nothing if not simple and crude.[47]  On August 21st of that year, a political rally had been staged outside the Awami League’s Central Office, on Bangabandhu Avenue in Dhaka.  Sheikhh Hasina was there representing her party’s leadership.  Hasina was there, more specifically, to speak in support of Awami League employees working in Sylhet, where they had been the victim of recent attacks.  The rally was well attended, with the crowd estimated at 15,000.  Hasina was completing her speech to the enthusiastic crowd.  The time was 5:23pm.  All at once, and without warning, terrorists appeared on the rooftops of the Ramna Hotel and surrounding buildings and, rather indiscriminately, rained at least 13 live grenades down on the assembly, one after another.  At least one of the grenades landed on or near the platform from which Hasina was speaking.  Because it landed there several seconds after other explosions had occurred, those on the platform had already sought cover.  Despite this, blood was found trickling from one of Hasina’s ears- the eardrum had been shattered and she would suffer permanent hearing loss on that side as a result.  Miraculously, though, that was the extent of her injuries as she was largely shielded from the blast by objects and people around her.  Found to be whole, her security team expediently rushed her to an armored SUV.  Rooftop militants fired seven rounds at the SUV as it made its hasty and confused retreat. Though not all of the grenades detonated, those which did left 23 attendees dead and injured over 200.  It was 5:28pm.  The entire attack had taken less than six minutes.

The attack set off a whirlwind of emotions, accusations, and political conspiracy theories, not the least of which were propagated and participated in by political leaders themselves.  Perhaps most intriguing among the talking points was the very factual statement that, in a country known for its politically affiliated violence, there was an unusually low provision of security.  Neither local police nor military forces made a significant showing.  Such lacking is a severe deviation from the standard protocols and, of course, highlights the conspicuousness of their very necessary absence.  One may logically assume that it belies cooperation amongst the HUJIB terrorists and the government branches, a matter which cuts to the very core of the political corruption the rally had formed to protest.

Sheikhh Hasina, alluding to the longstanding history of attempts on the lives of her extended family, accused the ruling party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by Khaleda Zia, of the same, loudly proclaiming the government’s desire to kill the remaining members of Sheikhh Mujibur Rahman’s descendants.  BNP leaders took offense and accused the Awami League of orchestrating the attack on its own rally for the sake of political divisiveness.  Even HUJIB’s military operations commander, Mufti Abdal Hannan, joined the fray, first denying his involvement, then, two years later in 2006, confessing to the crime.

Subsequent investigations definitively linked Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, a minister in BNP leader Khalida Zia’s cabinet, to burying evidence and diverting political attention from HUJIB during the investigation.  It was later revealed that Chowdhury had made those assurances of protection to Hannan prior to the attack.  The investigation ran all the way up the flagpole, hitting on several BNP officials along the way, and landing, finally, on Khaleda Zia’s son, Tarique Rahman, the BNP’s Senior Vice President.  Rahman and 29 other BNP-affiliated players were formally indicted for their involvement on March 18th, 2012,[48] an investigation having revealed their cooperation with Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, the country’s largest Islamic political party, in masterminding the attack. Jamaat-e-Islami, of course, firmly denies any and all connection.

And so, the pendulum swung, to and fro, a maelstrom of world jugglery, the truth growing murkier by the moment.  In any event, HUJIB’s actions had severely destabilized the working relationships amongst the leading political parties.  It had also wreaked havoc within individual parties, thoroughly broken the trust of the people in their political leaders, illustrated gaping holes in security and intelligence, killed a number of innocent people and sufficiently struck terror into the hearts of the public.  For HUJIB, a mission accomplished.

The most recent intelligence gathering has unearthed HUJIB’s complex network of financiers and money laundering operations, all in the service of maintaining and growing HUJIB’s militant and non-militant operations.  Drawing monetary contributions from as far away as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan, HUJIB washes its cash flow through organizations thought to be benign, including Adarsa Kutir, the Al Faruk Islamic Foundation and the Hataddin. Tracing the Pakistani connections to its formation, it goes without saying- though, has yet to be officially proven to a wide extent- that HUJIB is handsomely supported by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency.[49]

Intelligence work has also revealed the existence of six HUJIB training camps in Chittagong’s hill regions.  Another six camps were soon discovered near Cox’s Bazaar.  A word, here, on the particular geography of those two regions of Bangladesh:  In addition to the roughness of the terrain which makes Chittagong’s hills an ideal place to train in guerilla warfare, the denseness of its forest canopy makes it virtually impenetrable to SIGINT, intelligence gathered by interception of electronic communications and, especially, to satellite photography.[50]  Cox’s Bazar, though also in Chittagong is a well-known port, situated on the coast of the Bay of Bengal.  Though quite open from above, the lack of sufficient Bangladeshi infrastructure to allow for extensive monitoring of the waterway makes it an ideal place for the import of money and recruits from India.  New Moore Island, just off the Indian coast, is a straight 200 kilometers-and-then-some shot across the Bay[51], and, a convenient rallying point for the pickup and delivery of cash, sundry, and human cargo.  HUJIB operatives are also known to enter India through low-monitored portions of the coast, via the Bay of Bengal, spreading inland and establishing bases of operation in West Bengal and as far Northeast as Assam.  Northeast India-based terror groups such as the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) are an important part of HUJIB’s extended Indian network, and, ULFA has been found to maintain terrorist training camps in Chittagong which fall under HUJIB’s protection and management.  These are particularly common in areas where the Bangladeshi-Indian border is porous, most notably, along the state of Tripura.

The majority of HUJIB’s estimated 15,000 members are recruited from the innumerable network of Bangladeshi madrassas.  It is significant to note, for an understanding of the sheer numerical force of potential recruits from which HUJIB may draw that, “From 1986 to 2005, the number of madrassas in Bangladesh is thought to have increased from approximately 4,000 to 64,000.”[52]  In crossing borders for members, HUJIB’s ranks are filled out significantly by destitute Myanmarian (Burmese) refugees, but, India remains the most accessible source of regular contact for the organization.  HUJIB has found monetary profit and ideological usefulness in expanding its operations beyond Bangladeshi borders.  There is money to be made in exporting terrorists for hire to Afghanistan, even to Chechnya, and, especially to the ever-contested state of Jammu and Kashmir, a long-standing sore spot in the never-ending rivalry between India and Pakistan.  Given HUJIB’s Pakistani roots, the presence of HUJIB operatives there not only makes good sense but is near-inevitable.  Pakistani’s clout as a major player in the South Asian region is significant enough cause to encourage an international response.

 

The Western Response

Bangladesh requires international attention for many reasons, not the least of which is its significance as an ideal staging area for the recruitment, training, facilitation and propagation of global jihad.  On August 17th, 2005, approximately 400 homemade bombs exploded within 30 minutes of one another in 63 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts.  The blasts killed at least two people, and injured over 125 more.  Targets were primarily government buildings, courts, and journalist associations[53], places at which heightened levels of security are the norm.  Near-identical leaflets, calling for a return to sharia and bearing the name and insignias of the banned terrorist group Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were found at the scene of each blast.

Such breadth of scope and precision of execution was never before seen, rare even on a global scale.  The operation’s success had far-reaching effects: (1) It revealed the ability of the domestic terror networks to strike on a large scale, entirely at will, even against structures with sophisticated security protocols.  This also revealed the complacent attitude in which bureaucratic security measures were being approached; (2) Given the number of moving pieces and cooperative parties needed to execute the operation within the given time constraints, it revealed the frightening breadth of Islamic terrorists and sympathizers in every region (save for one) of the Bangladesh polity; (3) It demonstrated the deepness of connectivity amongst Bangladeshi terror networks, one which allowed them to operate clandestinely, in absolute secrecy, not one piece of information which could have prevented the operation ever having come to significant light, and; (4) This was all executed despite the extremely depraved social and economic infrastructure which is a hallmark of daily life in Bangladesh.  This last point is, perhaps, a contributing factor to the operation’s success, in so much as the lack of infrastructure does not allow for sophisticated law enforcement or intelligence resources.  If such an event, though, was possible in a place as economically dysfunctional and as socially divided as Bangladesh, what did it say about the propensity of the Bangladeshi operatives to support and execute terrorist operations throughout the rest of the world?  That, “rest of the world” wasted no time in sitting up and taking notice.

Historically Bangladesh’s BNP government had,

denied the presence of significant terrorist elements in the country and reportedly had even expelled BNP lawmaker Abu Hena from the BNP for speaking out against extremist activities at a time when the official view was such that extremists did not exist.[54]

Further detail was provided in,

A 28 November 2005 Agence France-Presse (AFP) news article reports that Abu Hena, a lawmaker with the ruling Bangladesh National Party (BNP), was expelled from the BNP in November 2005 after blaming the party for the rise in Islamic extremism.  Hena stated that the extremists in Bangladesh, “want to establish Allah’s law” (AFP 28 Nov. 2005). He also warned that the extremists would, “demolish courts, kill judges and those who frame laws” and claimed that some members of the BNP were sympathetic to their cause.[55]

After the events of August 17th, 2005, this apologist view taken by the BNP became impossible to rationally justify.  When BNP officials took their time in making a hard response, Western heads snapped attentively towards Bangladesh and remained riveted there.  The Bangladeshi political machine’s propensity for denial was weighty enough to cause British, Canadian, and American officials to divert significant resources to intelligence analysis of terror threats in Bangladesh.  Studies have been undertaken, reports have been commissioned, and government representatives have publicly aired their concerns that Bangladeshi terrorist groups are linked to sympathetic terrorist groups in their home nations.

In 2008, British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith expressed well-publicized concerns regarding the, “links between British and Bangladeshi terror networks…but refused to divulge [the] specific name of any militant group in either country.[56]” Smith, “When asked if her government feels that Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami, Bangladesh (Huji-B) is a threat to Britain, answered, ‘Yes.’ ”[57], a sentiment gained largely through British readings of American intelligence analysis.  In keeping with diplomatic norms, Smith pledged assistance in the matters of counter-terrorism and growth of democracy and announced the creation of a joint (British-Bangladeshi) commission to further those aims.  Smith dedicated the rest of her discussion to the importance of Bangladesh establishing durable and sustainable democracy and democratic processes, such as free, untainted elections and connected this idea to Bangladesh being favorably received and assisted by Western governments, even going so far as to say, “Britain has always been more comfortable working with democratic governments.”[58]

Turning our gaze northwestward, Canada’s  Research Directorate of the Immigration and Refugee Board commissioned a report on the rise of religious fundamentalist groups and the nature of their relationship with the authorities in Bangladesh.[59]  The report details a number of significant terrorist events in Bangladesh, tracing the rise of religious extremism therein from 2001.  It points to 2004 as a golden year for Bangladeshi terrorists, one in which, “The number of ‘extremist’ and ‘terrorist’ incidents… is estimated to have exceeded the total number of such incidents over the previous five years.”[60]  And, as the British have done, the report turns to the goldmine of U.S. analysis, quoting the 2005 Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom which states, “Bangladesh’s high levels of political violence and instability have… provided opportunities for religious and other extremists to expand their influence.”[61]

While linking the membership of militant Islamist groups to the heavy recruitment from madrassas was of note, the hot topic for Canada remained the willingness, or lack thereof, of the Bangladeshi government to acknowledge the problem of terrorism in their own country.    As the Canadian report tracks the increase in Islamic extremism from 2001, it notes that this is the same year since which the BNP ruling party has denied Islamic terrorism’s existence.  The report notes that the primary opposition party, Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League, “has reportedly accused the government of denying the growth of extremism because its coalition includes two Islamic political parties, Jamaat-i-Islami (sic) and Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ).”[62]  Even if it were nothing more than a suggestion, hinting that Bangladesh’s leadership has been caught in bed with the ruffians does not bode well for the BNP’s reputation.  Particularly in consideration of Bangladesh extremist groups’ talent for exporting their services abroad, very real concern abounds.  It is one thing if a struggling nation has difficulty managing its domestic terrorism problem within its boundaries.  It is quite another when that domestic terrorism problem becomes a significant threat beyond that nation’s borders.

Ever cognizant of the terrorist threat to its own borders, particularly since 9/11, the United States Congress commissioned a report[63] through its Congressional Research Service (CRS) on terrorism in South Asia.  The CRS report was published on August 31st, 2005 and included a dedicated section on terrorism in Bangladesh[64], already on the U.S.’s intelligence radar post-9/11 as it was, “thought that some Al Qaeda elements fled to Bangladesh”.[65]  The report was published a mere 14 days after the August 17th bombings, yet included a reference to them as a notable event.  Ancillary to the report, the United States aagressively inserted itself into the Bangladeshi situation, offering investigative assistance, and deploying a team of FBI agents to Dhaka.

Just three months prior to the August 17th attacks, in May of 2005, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca had paid a diplomatic visit to Bangladesh.[66]  While there, Rocca spared no semantic diplomacy as she encouraged Bangladesh to address their domestic terrorism problem by, “go[ing] after those who would undermine its long tradition of tolerance, moderation and peace.”[67]  This stands in strong contrast to Bangladesh’s actual history, a nation born in blood and having grown politically by repeatedly feasting on its passion for the same.  Diplomacy aside, the U.S. was very concerned and seemed to find solace only in the fact that the BNP had very recently succumbed to quiet international pressure and issued a ban on two prominent terror organizations: Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), and Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), both believed to be involved in a spate of bombings earlier that year.

Later in May 2005, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Morshed Khan visited the United States, hosted by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in Washington, D.C.  The CRS paper reports that, “Minister Khan reportedly described the U.S. view of Bangladesh as ‘an unavoidable partner’ in bridging religious divides across the world.”[68], perhaps subtly implying that were it possible and politically viable to avoid the relationship, the BNP would do so.  Secretary of State Rice, meanwhile, described Bangladesh as “a democratic force and a voice of moderation”[69], an odd description in light of evidence that the BNP was anything but invested in the democratic process and that their political views, alongisde their evidentiary collaboration with Islamic extremist groups, were anything but moderate.

There, then, are a few evidences that the Western response is also grounded in the propagation of an ideology, that of the planting, nurturing, and limitless growth of democracy, to which terrorism originating in Bangladesh is seen as a major obstacle. Jacqui Smith indicated that the damaging effects of extremist ideologies nurture division, fear and suspicion.  To the Islamic terrorist mind, forced adoption of democracy is also an extremist ideology.  In so much as Smith stressed the need for the restoration of a democratic process in curbing terrorism, the public is often left wondering where in the world such a democratic process has been successful.  Far from curbing the outbreak of terror acts, the Western world’s engagement with terrorism has most often come after a terrorist act against their nation’s assets, be it at home or abroad.  Smith did not elaborate on the specifics of the democratic process for curbing terrorism, but, contrary to her assertions, an overwhelming body of research has shown that the Western, democratic response often facilitates and encourages terrorism on a global scale.

The number of “high-level” targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low—estimated at just 2%.  Furthermore, evidence suggests that US strikes have facilitated recruitment to violent non-state armed groups, and motivated further violent attacks. As the New York Times has reported, “drones have replaced Guantánamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants.” Drone strikes have also soured many Pakistanis on cooperation with the US and undermined US-Pakistani rel­ations. One major study shows that 74% of Pakistanis now consider the US an enemy. [70], [71]

The Centre for Research on Globalization, a Montreal think tank, released their analysis of data from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism’s (START) Global Terrorism Database, housed at the University of Maryland, showing that the United States’ War on Terror (WOT) has steadily increased the occurrence of global terror acts.[72]  There exist former U.S. government officials who are quick to agree, making claims as bold as, “As an alleged post 9/11 defense, the War on Terrorism is a gigantic fraud.”[73]  If the United States, in its role as foreign affairs trend-setter for the Western world, engages with Bangladeshi terrorism through the same methodology utilized by the WOT, there is a statistically supported and suggestible chance that the approach would serve only to increase the potency of the Bangladeshi terror networks, both in Bangladesh and abroad.  Policy makers must determine whether that is a chance worth taking.

Terrorism analyst Wilson John wrote, in 2005,

In many ways, Bangladesh seems an excellent place for Al Qaeda to find sanctuary in the decisive years ahead. It is an impoverished Islamic nation, politically weak and backward in its economic development. Its ports have been active hubs for transnational crime, including weapons running. More significantly, it has a formidable presence of religious groups, some noticeably extreme, jostling in the political space often left vacant by frequent bouts of political instability and military intervention since the country’s violent birth in December 1971.[74]

This is the Bangladesh which the pragmatic intelligence analyst knows.  This is the Bangladesh borne out by its own history.  It is the Bangladesh with a network of 64,000 madrassas, full of indigent and passionate youth, ripe for radicalization and ready to be ‘rescued’ into a violent life of jihad.  It is the Bangladesh of a network of internationally financed terrorist training camps buried deep in the forests, impenetrable to electronic intelligence gathering and satellite surveillance, what to speak of human infiltration.

It is the Bangladesh from which, in 63 out of its 64 districts, enough Islamic extremist sympathizers and operatives were gathered to cooperatively launch a simultaneous nationwide bomb attack, all without an information leak.  It is the Bangladesh fanatically committed, perhaps in a way which the Western mind will never understand, to a radical view of Islam which grew up alongside the nation and is rooted in the life and breath and blood of the land and its people.  It is the Bangladesh that, in spite of its outward struggles, is poised as an ideal staging area for the recruitment, training, facilitation and propagation of global jihad.  It is the Bangladesh of which the world now takes notice.

___________________________________________________________________________

Appendix A[75]

By Incident: Terrorist Activity in Bangladesh, 1976 – 2010

 Image 764 Known Incidents

___________________________________________________________________________

Appendix B[76]

By Attack Type: Terrorist Activity in Bangladesh, 1976 – 2010

 Image

9 Attack Types

___________________________________________________________________________

Appendix C[77]

By Target Type: Terrorist Activity in Bangladesh, 1976 – 2010

Image

16 Target Types

___________________________________________________________________________

 Appendix D[78]

By Weapon Type: Terrorist Activity in Bangladesh, 1976 – 2010

Image

 7 Weapon Types

___________________________________________________________________________

 Appendix E[79]

Image

By Fatalities: Terrorist Activity in Bangladesh, 1976 – 2010

___________________________________________________________________________

 Appendix F[80]

By Injuries: Terrorist Activity in Bangladesh, 1976 – 2010

Image

___________________________________________________________________________

 Appendix G[81]

Satellite Photograph of Hill Region, Chittagong Division, Bangladesh, 2013

Image

 Photograph at full resolution and zoom.  Note, the only available detail is the extensive forest canopy and rough approximations of altitude.

___________________________________________________________________________

 Appendix H[82]

Map detail: Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh & New Moore Island, India, 2013

Image

___________________________________________________________________________

 Appendix I[83]

Photos detailing aftermath of HUJIB’s Attack on Awami League Rally Dhaka, Bangladesh, August 21st, 2004

Image

Clockwise from bottom left: Awami League Chief, Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Mujibur Rahman and primary target of the attack; Some of the 15,000 strong crowd; A grenade which failed to deploy in the attack; Attendees seek cover in the immediate aftermath of the attack; The bodies of some of those who were instantly killed; A man attends to Awami League Women’s Affairs Secretary, Ivy Rahman, who lost both legs in the attack and later died from her injuries; Center: A group of men in bloodstained clothing attend to an injured woman.

___________________________________________________________________________

References

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Brandon, James.  The Caliphate: One nation, under Allah, with 1.5 billion Muslims.  Published online at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0510/p01s04-wome.html, Amman, Jordan: The Christian Science Monitor, May 10, 2006.

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___________________________________________________________________________


FOOTNOTES

[1] cf., “The Legitimacy of Violence as a Political Act? Noam Chomsky debates with Hannah Arendt, Susan Sontag, et al., December 15, 1967, Published online at: http://www.chomsky.info/debates/19671215.htm

[2] Cf., p. 2, “Vaughn, Bruce.  Bangladesh: Political and Strategic Developments and U.S. InterestsCRS Report for Congress.  Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, April 1, 2010.”

[3] Called muki juddha (“liberation war”) in the Bangla language, this was an armed conflict between West Pakistan and East Pakistan lasting from 26 March – 16 December, 1971.  The conflict resulted in East Pakistan’s secession from West Pakistan as an independent polity henceforward to be known as Bangladesh.  The word Bangladesh means, “the place (desh) [of the language called] Bangla”.

[4] For purposes of this discussion, the terms “Bengal Region” and “Bengal” mean the collective geography comprising contemporary West Bengal and contemporary Bangladesh (historically known as East Pakistan).

[5] The Bangla language is more commonly known as Bengali.

[6] Dhaka, the capital of modern Bangladesh, is 2,641 kilometers from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

[7] Hiranmay Karlenkar, Bangladesh: The Next Afghanistan? (New Delhi, India/Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2006), p. 60.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid., p. 30

[10] All reference material specific to Al-Qaeda will be sourced from the published collection of Osama bin Laden’s and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri’s writings, namely, “Ibrahim, Raymond.  The Al-Qaeda Reader.  New York: Doubleday, 2007.”

[11] Ibid, p. XVIV

[12] Ibid., “Moderate Islam is a Prostration to the West”, pp. 17-63.

[13] Cf., p. 43 in, “Chattopadhyay, Dilip Kumar.  The Ferazee and Wahabi Movements of Bengal”.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid., p. 44

[20] All Koranic references are sourced from, “Dawood, N.J., trans.  The Koran.  London, England:  Penguin Books, 1956.”

[21] Cf., “Chattopadhyay, Dilip Kumar.  The Ferazee and Wahabi Movements of Bengal”, pp. 44-45.

[22] Cf., “Ibrahim, Raymond.  The Al-Qaeda Reader.”, esp., I Am Among the Muslim Masses, pp. 226-228; Brandon, James.  The Caliphate: One nation, under Allah, with 1.5 billion Muslims.  Published online at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0510/p01s04-wome.html, Amman, Jordan: The Christian Science Monitor, May 10, 2006.; Hall, Allan.  Al-Qaeda chiefs reveal world domination design.  Published online at: http://www.theage.com.au/news/war-on-terror/alqaeda-chiefs-reveal-world-domination-design/2005/08/23/1124562861654.html, Berlin, Germany: The Age, August 24, 2005.

[23] Cf., “Chattopadhyay, Dilip Kumar.  The Ferazee and Wahabi Movements of Bengal”, p. 45.

[24] Further details on these relationships will be provided in the sections profiling Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh, and, Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh.

[25] Cf., “Chattopadhyay, Dilip Kumar.  The Ferazee and Wahabi Movements of Bengal”, p. 46.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Cf., “Graham, Lieutenant-Colonel George Farquar, I.  The Life and Work of Syed Ahmed Khan.  London, England: William Blackwood and Sons, 1885.”

[28] Cf., “Devi, Mahasveta and Rimi K. Chaterjee.  Titu Mir.  Kolkata, India: Seagull Books, 2000.”

[29] Cf., “Chattopadhyay, Dilip Kumar.  The Ferazee and Wahabi Movements of Bengal”, p. 47.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid., p.48

[33] Cf., “Gerges, Fawaz A.  The Far Enemy: Why Jihad went Global.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.”

[34] Cf., “Kennedy, Hugh.  The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In.  Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2007.”

[35] Cf., “Osama bin Laden’s Oath to America”, p. 194 in “Ibrahim, Raymond, trans. & ed.  The Al-Qaeda Reader.  New York: Doubleday, 2007.”

[36] On bin Laden being banished from Saudi Arabia and subsequently exiled to Sudan, cf., “Assassinating bin Laden: Right or Wrong?” by Priya Dixit, in, “Carter, Ralph G., ed.  Contemporary Cases in U.S. Foreign Policy: From Terrorism to Trade, 5th Edition.  Thousand Oaks, California: CQ Press, © 2014.”

[37] bin Laden, Sheik Osama bin Muhammad, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Yasir Rifa’i Ahmad Taha, Sheikh Mir Hamza and Fazlur Rahman.  Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places.  London, England: Al Quds Al Arabi Newspaper, August, 1996. 1996 edition published online at: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/terrorism/international/fatwa_1996.html; Cf., 1998 edition, full text, pp. 11-14 of, “Ibrahim, Raymond, trans. & ed.  The Al-Qaeda Reader.  New York: Doubleday, 2007.”

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] (1) Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem; (2) Masjid al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

[41] US Department of Homeland Security.  Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.  Accessible online at: http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/, College Park, Maryland: University of Maryland, 2009-Present.

[42] US Department of State.  Designations of Harakat-ul Juihad Islami (HUJI) and its Leader Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri.  Published online at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/08/145779.htm, Press Release, August 6, 2010.

[43] Karlenkar, Hiranmay.  Bangladesh: The Next Afghanistan?.  New Delhi, India/Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2006.

[44] Kronstadt, Alan K. and Bruce Vaughn.  Terrorism in South Asia: CRS Report for Congress.  Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, August 31, 2005.

[45] Though HUJIB activists were arrested for possession of illegal firemarms as early as February 19th, 1996, no evidence was found for the weapons ever having been used or the possessors having engaged in armed conflict.

[46] Cf., p. 117 in, “Riaz, Ali.  Islamic Militancy in Bangladesh: A Complex Web.  UK, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2008.”

[47] Cf., Appendix H.

[48] Deccan Herald News Service.  Dhaka Court Indicts Ex-Premiers Son for 2004 Grenade Attack.  Published online at: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/235430/dhaka-court-indicts-ex-premiers.html, Dhaka, Bangladesh, March 18, 2012.

[49] Cf., p. 82 in, “Riaz, Ali and C. Christine Fair, eds.  Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh.  UK, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2011.”

[50] Cf., Appendix G.

[51] Cf., Appendix H.

[52] Canada Immigration and Refugee Board.  Bangladesh: Rise of religious fundamentalist groups and nature of their relationship with the authorities (2005-2006).  Published online at:

http://www.justice.gov/eoir/vll/country/canada_coi/bangladesh/BGD101505.E.pdf, Ottawa, Canada, August 8, 2006

[53] Ibid., p. 1

[54] Cf., p. 9, “Vaughn, Bruce.  Bangladesh: Political and Strategic Developments and U.S. InterestsCRS Report for Congress.  Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, April 1, 2010.”

[55] Cf., p.3 , “Canada Immigration and Refugee Board.  Bangladesh: Rise of religious fundamentalist groups and nature of their relationship with the authorities (2005-2006).  Published online at:

http://www.justice.gov/eoir/vll/country/canada_coi/bangladesh/BGD101505.E.pdf, Ottawa, Canada, August 8, 2006.”

[56] The Daily Star of Bangladesh.  Bangladesh, British Terrors Have Links Says UK Home Secy.  Published online at: http://archive.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=31584, Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 10, 2008.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Canada Immigration and Refugee Board.  Bangladesh: Rise of religious fundamentalist groups and nature of their relationship with the authorities (2005-2006).  Published online at:

http://www.justice.gov/eoir/vll/country/canada_coi/bangladesh/BGD101505.E.pdf, Ottawa, Canada, August 8, 2006

[60] Ibid., p.1

[61] Ibid.

[62] Ibid., p. 2

[63] Kronstadt, Alan K. and Bruce Vaughn.  Terrorism in South Asia: CRS Report for Congress.  Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, August 31, 2005.

[64] Ibid., p.44

[65] Ibid., p. ii, Summary

[66] Cf., “Daily Star, The.  Rocca Concerned Over Ahmadiyya Incidents, Extra-Judicial Killings.  Vol 5, No. 430.  Published online at: http://archive.thedailystar.net/2005/05/13/d5051301022.htm, Dhaka, Bangladesh: May 13, 2005.”

[67] Ibid.

[68] Cf., p.6, “Kronstadt, Alan K. and Bruce Vaughn.  Terrorism in South Asia: CRS Report for Congress.  Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, August 31, 2005.”

[69] Ibid.

[70] Cavallaro, James, Stephan Sonnenberg, and Sarah Knuckey, et al.  Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan.  Stanford School of Law, Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic (IHRCRC) and New York University School of Law, Global Justice Clinic, Published online at: http://www.livingunderdrones.org/report/, December, 2012.

[71] Ibid.; Pew Research Center.  Pakistani Public Opinion Ever More Critical of U.S.: 74% Call America an Enemy.  Published online at: http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2012/06/Pew-Global-Attitudes-Project-Pakistan-Report-FINAL-Wednesday-June-27-2012.pdf, 2012.

[73]Interview with Terry Arnold, former Deputy Director, Office of Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning, U.S. State Department. Published online at: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2009/02/leading-counter-terrorism-expert-and-former-high-level-official-slams-war-on-terror-and-questions-911.html

[74] Cf., p.1, “John, Wilson.  Roots of Extremism in Bangladesh.  New Delhi, India.  Published online at: http://orfonline.org/cms/sites/orfonline/modules/analysis/AnalysisDetail.html?cmaid=2628&mmacmaid=951, January 18, 2005.”

[75]http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?country=19.  US Department of Homeland Security.  Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.  Accessible online at: http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/, College Park, Maryland: University of Maryland, 2009-Present.

[76]http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?charttype=bar&chart=attack&casualties_type=&casualties_max=&country=19.  US Department of Homeland Security.  Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.  Accessible online at: http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/, College Park, Maryland: University of Maryland, 2009-Present.

[77]http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?charttype=pie&chart=target&casualties_type=&casualties_max=&country=19 US Department of Homeland Security.  Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.  Accessible online at: http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/, College Park, Maryland: University of Maryland, 2009-Present.

[78]http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?charttype=bar&chart=weapon&casualties_type=&casualties_max=&country=19.  US Department of Homeland Security.  Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.  Accessible online at: http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/, College Park, Maryland: University of Maryland, 2009-Present.

[79]http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?chart=fatalities&casualties_type=&casualties_max=&country=19.  US Department of Homeland Security.  Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.  Accessible online at: http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/, College Park, Maryland: University of Maryland, 2009-Present.

[80]http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?charttype=pie&chart=injuries&casualties_type=&casualties_max=&country=19.   US Department of Homeland Security.  Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.  Accessible online at: http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/, College Park, Maryland: University of Maryland, 2009-Present.

[84] 1996 edition published online at: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/terrorism/international/fatwa_1996.html; Cf., 1998 edition, full text, pp. 11-14 of, “Ibrahim, Raymond, trans. & ed.  The Al-Qaeda Reader.  New York: Doubleday, 2007.”

[85] References of interest within this report include: “Concerted Bombs Hit 100 Bangladesh Sites,” Associated Press, Aug. 18, 2005; “US Offers FBI Support for Probe Into Blasts,” New Nation (Dhaka), Aug. 29, 2005. / “Dhaka Hopeful of U.S. Help for Capacity Building,” Asia-Pacific News Agencies, May 12, 2005. / “Dhaka, Washington Discuss Roadmap for Bilateral Relations,” Asia Pulse, May 13, 2005. / “Top US Diplomat Ends S Asian Tour Urging Action on Terrorism,” Agence France Presse, May 14, 2005. / “Morshed-Condoleezza Talks,” United News of Bangladesh Limited, May 20, 2005. / “Bangladesh Unavoidable Partner of America,” United News of Bangladesh, May 29, 2005. / “Bangladesh Assumes BIMSTEC Chair,” United News of Bangladesh, June 3, 2005.

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