Monday, July 25, 2016

Terror Attacks in Germany - A Wake-up Call for Merkel

Having opened the doors to migrants from conflict zones particularly Syria and Iraq, terror attacks were only inevitable. It is anybody's guess how the people of Germany would react to the spate of attacks and what steps the German government takes to thwart future attacks.

Munich Olympia Mall Shooting
After about 44 years, terror re-visited Munich. In September 1972, Palestinian gunmen belonging to the Black September Organisation killed 11 Israeli athletes who were staying in the Olympic Village at Munich.  On 22 July 2016, an 18-year-old German of Iranian descent Ali David Sonboly opened fire in the vicinity of the Olympia Shopping Mall (Olympia-Einkaufszentrum, OEZ) in the Moosach district of Munich. Incidentally the Munich mall is near the stadium for the 1972 Olympics and the athletes' village. The German police said that at least 9 people were killed in the shooting that was carried out by a lone gunman who is then reported to have committed suicide around 1 kilometre from the scene of the attack. The shooting began in Hanauer Straße and then shifted to the Riesstraße — streets close to the Olympia shopping center — before moving into the mall itself shortly before 6 p.m., according to the official Facebook page of the Munich police. 

The shooter had lived in Munich for at least two years. Munich police chief Hubertus Andra told a press conference it was “totally unclear” whether the incident was an act of terror, though eye witnesses reported that the shooter screamed “Allahu Akbar” while firing.

Twenty-one people, including several children, were taken to the hospital. Police reported that 16 were injured and three were in a critical condition.

The Würzburg Attack

The attack came just days after a 17-year-old asylum seeker Muhammad Riyad went on a rampage with an axe and a knife on a train on Monday near Würzburg, also in Bavaria, injuring five people before being shot dead by the police.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere had said that assailant was believed to be a "lone wolf" who appeared to have been "inspired" by Islamic State group but was not a member of the jihadist network.

The train attack triggered calls by some politicians to impose an upper limit on the number of refugees coming into Germany, which accepted a record 1.1 million migrants and refugees last year, many through Bavaria.

On 24th July 2016, a knife-wielding attacker sparked panic, after killing a woman near a Turkish fast-food kiosk in downtown Reutlingen, according to German mass-circulation newspaper "Bild".

Five people were reportedly wounded in the attack and brought to the hospital. A car driver spotted the attacker running away from the scene and hit him with his vehicle, allowing police to grab hold of the suspect and make an arrest, according to a police spokesman cited by the DPA news agency. Police stated that the suspect was a 21-year-old male refugee from Syria known to authorities for previous acts of violence.

Ansbach Bombing

On the night of 24th July 2016, a 27-year-old Syrian man who had been denied asylum in Germany a year ago died when a bomb he was carrying exploded outside a music festival in Ansbach, Germany. Twelve people were wounded in the attack. Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann said the man, carrying a backpack, had apparently been denied entry to the Ansbach Open music festival shortly before the explosion. A large area around the site of the explosion, in the city of around 40,000 people, was still sealed off hours after it occurred outside a restaurant called Eugens Weinstube. More than 2,000 people were evacuated from the festival after the explosion, police said. The bomber was known to police in Ansbach for previous offenses, including drug crimes, Herrmann said. He had also twice attempted suicide before the bombing. 

Ansbach is home to a US army base and the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade with around 5,000 members of the military living there along with civilians, contractors and retirees. There are three military installations in the Ansbach area, according to the garrison's website. A spokesman at the base said the base had no information about the explosion.

[Update: BBC - The Syrian man who blew himself up in Ansbach, Germany, on Sunday made a video pledging allegiance to the leader of so-called Islamic State, Bavaria's interior minister says.

Joachim Hermann said two phones, multiple SIM cards and a laptop were found with the body of the 27-year-old asylum seeker or at his accommodation.

The man threatened a "revenge attack" on Germans in the video, he said.

IS has claimed it was behind the attack and the Syrian was an IS "soldier".

The attacker announced in the video "in the name of Allah that he pledged allegiance to [IS chief] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi... and announced an act of revenge against Germans because they were standing in the way of Islam," Mr Hermann said.

Further bomb-making equipment was found at the asylum seeker accommodation where the man was living, including a fuel canister, hydrogen peroxide and batteries]. 

The mall shooting occurred just eight days after 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel used a truck to mow down 84 people, including children, after a Bastille Day fireworks display in Nice, the third major attack on French soil in the past 18 months.

In March 2016, Islamic State claimed suicide bombings at Brussels airport and a city metro station that left 32 people dead.

In May, a mentally unstable 27-year-old man carried out a knife attack on a regional train in Bavaria, killing one person and injuring three others.

Tensions between native and immigrant Germans have been on the rise since Germany accepted nearly one million refugees during last year's migrant crisis, in which Bavaria was on the front line.

Although it has been France and Belgium that have been hit by recent atrocities, Germany shares many of the same vulnerabilities.

Just like France and Belgium, Germany has seen significant numbers of its residents join the flow of international jihadists to Iraq and Syria. The most recent figures estimate more than 700 men and women from the country may have left to join extremist groups such as Islamic State and many are likely to have later returned home.

Last month, the German justice ministry admitted the federal prosecutor was conducting 120 investigations into more than 180 suspects and defendants "in connection with the Syrian civil war for their membership or support of a terrorist organisation".

Germany's links to Islamist terrorism go back decades, long before the current troubles.

A small group of radical Middle Eastern Islamists formed in the 1990s known as the Hamburg cell produced three of the 9/11 hijackers.

More recent incidents have included an alleged plot by four suspected Islamic State members last month to launch suicide bombings in the city of Dusseldorf. 

Intelligence agents last year reportedly foiled a plot to detonate three bombs inside a Hanover football stadium during an international friendly.

But social tensions arising from the large influx of refugees have also fuelled a sharp rise in popularity for extreme and sometimes violent far-Right groups.

The police and the German government have repeatedly claimed that except for the July 18 axe attack, none of the other attacks bore any signs of connections with the Islamic State or any other terrorist groups. The Munich shooter apparently had a history of mental illness. However the Syrian responsible for the machete attack in Reutlingen did not have any psychiatric problem. The question that must logically follow is why is that in most of the recent attacks that have taken place in Europe and in Germany, the attackers or the accomplices have always been Muslims either from North Africa or the Middle East and followers of the radical Salafi Islam propagated by the ISIS. Are the governments in the West blind to this fact? Did they try to determine how and where the attackers were radicalized? 

The answer to this question partially lies in the report published in the German daily newspaper "Die Welt" wherein the German Criminal Police Office (BKA) reported a significant increase in Islamist threats. The agency tracked almost 500 threats in the past year. It had tracked 497 instances of "threats" or individuals with extremist views who could be suspected of carrying out terrorist attacks. The agency added that an additional 339 Islamists were also being tracked as "relevant persons," or individuals who may assist and sympathize with terrorist causes.

The report said that the development marked a significant increase from numbers dating back to January 2015, when only 270 potentially violent Islamist individuals were registered in Germany.

Austria's domestic intelligence agency also reported that the number of suspected Islamists in the country had risen, citing increased activity within the "Muslim Brotherhood" terrorist group. The "Kleine Zeitung" daily newspaper examined a particular increase in the state of Styria.

Focus must be on Radical Islam and not Islamophobia

The editor-in-chief of the French satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo," Gerard Biard, said that too much tolerance was partly to blame for the rise in Islamism across Europe, accusing the political left of being complicit. He said it was "scandalous" that leftwing movements were more interested in defending "Muslims wearing the Burka than in equal pay."

"Islamic propaganda has managed to convince us that criticizing Islamism equates to criticizing Islam itself and therefore qualifies as racism," Biard wrote in a speech cited in Berlin.

European governments need to start acknowledging the fact that they have made a colossal blunder by allowing all and sundry to enter Europe under the garb of refugees. Strangely criminals, drug peddlers and terrorists have made their way to Europe, thanks largely to Angela Merkel’s myopic policy. They need to further acknowledge that these so-called ‘refugees’ pose a very serious threat to European security and its liberal values and freedom. The Ansbach bomber was a Syrian refugee whose application for asylum was rejected, the machete-wielding Syrian who killed a pregnant woman at Reutlingen and the axe wielding teen Muhammad Riyad who attacked passengers at Würzburg will do little to convince Germans that ‘refugees’ don’t pose a serious security risk. Trying to pass off every terror attack as a hate crime or the attacker/s had history of mental illness will undermine West’s war against the ISIS inspired terror attacks at home. (It is reported that from the Orlando shooter to the Nice attacker Bouhlel and the Ansbach bomber had mental problems. Some analysts such as Max Abrahms have termed them "loon-wolves). Europe must start focusing on the domestic jihadi threat posed by its own citizens and those who have entered the continent posing as refugees and stop worrying about Islamophobia.  

 The biggest threat to Europe is radical Islam, not Islamophobia.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Bangladesh - From Secularism to Talibanization

(This post was originally written in 2007. It has been updated in the light of the recent terror attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery and O Kitchen, an upscale eatery in the wealthy Gulshan neighbourhood of Dhaka on 1st July 2016)

Holey Artisan Bakery Attack

On Friday 1st July 2016, around 21:20 local time, about 6 to 8 terrorists opened fire on the Holey Artisan Bakery and O Kitchen, an upscale eatery in the wealthy Gulshan neighbourhood of Dhaka, Bangladesh which houses several diplomatic missions. They also threw bombs and took several dozen hostages and killed at least four police officers in shootouts with police. They reportedly chanted “Allahu Akbar” at the time of the attack. The assault was similar to the one carried out by Pak-based LeT terrorists in Mumbai in November 2008 when two of the ten Pakistani gunmen fired indiscriminately on diners in Leopold Café. According to one witness, the terrorists executed foreign hostages akin to the terrorists who executed ‘kufar’ in the September 2013 Westgate Shopping Mall attack in Nairobi.

According to one account at least six attackers entered the restaurant armed with bombs, guns and one attacker had a sword. They opened fire and detonated several of the bombs before taking many hostages, almost all foreigners.

Friday's attack took place near the Nordic Club, where expatriates usually gathered. French ambassador Sophie Aubert said the restaurant was "very popular" with diplomats and other foreigners in Dhaka. Though no group claimed responsibility for the strike, the Bangladeshi government blamed home-grown terror for the attack.

After planning and waiting through the night, armed forces joined RAB and police in the morning to launch the assault.

Around 7:30am, security forces stormed the café and five hostages, including women and children, were freed minutes after the offensive began, a witness told

Heavy firing and explosions continued for at least for an hour after the operation had begun to free the hostages.

According to Brig General Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury 20 people were executed by Islamist terrorists long before the commando operation commenced at 7:40 am.


During the British rule, the Wahabis led by one Syed Ahmed declared India 'Darul Harb'[1] and locked themselves in a war against the Sikhs in Punjab and against the British in a bid to establish the 'Darul Harb' brand of Islam. The brand of Islam that had been preached by the Sufis in the sub-continent was by and large liberal. The Sufis were very tolerant towards other faiths and adopted certain elements from Hinduism, Buddhism and the local culture, which helped spread Islam all over India.

In 1947, Pakistan emerged as an independent state as a consequence of the partition of India. Pakistan was divided into the Punjabi-dominated West and a Bengali-speaking East. The Indian land mass divided the two wings of Pakistan. The Bengali-dominated East Pakistan emerged as the independent state of Bangladesh in 1971 after facing ruthless military repression at the hands of the Pakistani Army. An indigenous nationalist movement, the Mukti Bahini with active Indian assistance helped the people of East Pakistan achieve statehood.

In its infancy, religion had very little role to play in Bangladesh polity, primarily because the founding father of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, following the Indian model, had sought to make the state a secular democratic republic. However, even during the turbulent period preceding the birth of Bangladesh, certain sections of the East Pakistani society, especially members of the Jamaat-e-Islami actively supported the Pakistani Army in perpetrating atrocities and were subsequently accused of complicity in the massacres that took place. Hence they were marginalised after the formation of Bangladesh. Before democratic institutions could take roots, Sheikh Mujib was assassinated and his regime overthrown in August 1975. In November 1975, General Ziaur Rehman seized power. Gen. Ziaur Rahman and his followers met in Kurmitola cantonment and drew the blueprint for a nationwide transformation from democratic secularism to nationalism. Gen. Ziaur Rahman was abetted by many intellectuals including newspaper editors, lawyers, barristers, educationists, businessmen, etc., when the Pakistani trained military man had consolidated his power. He sowed the seeds of radicalism by encouraging return of Islamist elements who had collaborated with the Pakistani Army and built ties with the Jamaat. This was done with a view to legitimizing his rule. General Ziaur Rehman was assassinated in May 1981. There was a brief period of civilian rule under a former Supreme Court Judge, Abdul Sattar. He was also overthrown in a military coup in March 1982. General H.M. Ershad took over the reins of Bangladesh. During his tenure, both society and state continued to be Islamicized. General Ershad amended the constitution and declared Islam the state religion. Bangladesh limped back to civilian rule after the military ruler was ousted as a result of mass popular uprising. However, by this time the "Military-Islamist Complex" had taken roots in Bangladesh. Bangladesh had embarked on a journey to becoming Islamicized or more precisely 'Talibanized'. 

The Militant Islamist Groups

In January 2005, a Bangladeshi human rights group had claimed that 31 Islamic militant outfits were operating in the country targetting non-Muslims and seeking to establish a "greater Islamic nation" including parts of some adjacent Indian states. 

Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) – The Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) is reported to be the youth front of Al Mujahideen, the parent organization that began working in the mid 1990s and which has continued to remain obscure even today. Other organizations, such as Jama'atul Jihad, JMB, Ahle Hadith Andolan Bangladesh (AHAB), Ahle Hadith Jubo Shangha, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HuJI), Hizbut Tawhid, Tawhidi Janata, Islami Jubo Shangha, Islami Shangha, Al Falah A'am Unnayan Shanstha and Shahadat-e al Hiqma are believed to be part of the Al Mujahideen network. JMB was reported to have been formed in 1998 in the Jamalpur district. While the exact origins of this group is not clear, its existence became known on May 20, 2002 with the arrest of eight Islamist militants at Parbatipur in the Dinajpur district along with 25 petrol bombs and documents detailing the outfit's activities. Subsequently, on February 13, 2003, the JMB is reported to have carried out seven bomb explosions in the Chhoto Gurgola area of Dinajpur town in which three persons were wounded. The Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (Party of the Mujahideen) aims at establishing the rule of Islam in Bangladesh through an armed struggle. The outfit is opposed to the establishment of democracy and calls for the conduct of government under Islamic law. Thus the JMB's aim is to replace the current state of Bangladesh with an Islamic State. The JMJB follows the ideals of the Taliban militia and propagates a movement based on Jihad.

On March 30, 2007, six top militants of the JMB, including its 'supreme commander' Maulana Abdur Rahman and second-in-command, Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai were executed in different jails in Bangladesh. The other senior leaders of the outfit who were hanged were Majlish-e-Shura (the highest decision-making body) members Abdul Awal, Khaled Saifullah and Ataur Rahman Sunny and suicide squad member Iftekhar Hasan Al-Mamun. All of them had been pronounced guilty by the Supreme Court of involvement in the killing of two judges in Jhalakathi in November 2005.

Prior to the March 30, 2007 execution, JMB was led by a triumvirate consisting of its ‘supreme commander’ Abdur Rahman, a former activist of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai of the Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) and Muhammad Asadullah al-Ghalib, an Arabic language lecturer at the Rajshahi University and chief of the Ahle Hadith Andolon Bangladesh (AHAB). Of these, Maulana Rahman was projected as spiritual leader of the organisation while Bangla Bhai functioned as the second-in-command and the outfit’s 'operational chief'. The outfit is known to maintain about 10,000 fulltime and 100,000 part-time cadres. 

According to the Bangladesh government, it was this group which was responsible for the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in June 2016.

Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HuJI) – The Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HuJI) meaning Movement of Islamic Holy War was established in 1992, reportedly with assistance from Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front. It is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist organization whose activities extend not only within Bangladesh but also in India. On April 30, 1992, several of the HuJI leaders addressed a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka and demanded that Bangladesh be converted into an Islamic State. The HuJI is led by Shawkat Osman alias Sheikh Farid. Imtiaz Quddus is the general secretary of the outfit. HuJI aims to establish Islamic Hukumat (rule) in Bangladesh by waging war and killing progressive intellectuals. It draws inspiration from bin Laden and the erstwhile Taliban regime of Afghanistan. The slogan, Amra Sobai Hobo Taliban, Bangla Hobe Afghanistan (We will all become Taliban and we will turn Bangladesh into Afghanistan) itself speaks volumes about the radicalisation of Bangla society and polity. 

With an estimated 2,000 dedicated fighters among 15,000 odd members, HuJI is closely affiliated with Al Qaeda and is a member of Bin Laden’s International Islamic Front. 

The coastal area stretching from the port city of Chittagong south through Cox's Bazaar to the Myanmarese border, notorious for piracy, smuggling and arms running, is the principal area of activity of the HuJI. 

The madrassas have been a major source of recruits for HuJI. The group reportedly maintains six camps in the hilly areas of Chittagong, where its cadres are trained in the use of weapons. Unconfirmed reports have also indicated that it maintains six training camps near Cox's Bazaar. 

The HuJI cadres allegedly also infiltrate frequently into the eastern corridor of India to maintain contacts with terrorist and subversive outfits of the region. 

Although there is no authoritative information on the actual cadre strength, most reports mention it to be around 15,000. Several of these recruits were trained in the Kormi and Kasia areas of Bangladesh. Further, many hundred recruits were reportedly trained at various training camps in Afghanistan, primarily during the reign of the Taliban. 

The HuJI reportedly receives financial assistance from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan through Muslim Non-Governmental Organisations in Bangladesh, including the Adarsa Kutir, Al Faruk Islamic Foundation and Hataddin. 

Since 2002, some of the major terrorist strikes that have been carried out in India (outside Kashmir), have been attributed to HuJI. It is reported to have the backing of some sections of the Bangladesh polity, the army and intelligence agencies and may have been engaged by ISI and other Pakistan based groups to carry out terrorist activities within India.

Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) – Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) meaning Awakened Muslim Masses of Bangladesh is an Islamist vigilante outfit that espouses the ideals of the Taliban. It has been reported in the Bangladeshi media that the JMJB is an outgrowth of the Islamist militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). 

When the JMJB first came in the news in April 2004, it was also known by other names like Mujahidin Alliance Council, Islami Jalsha and Muslim Raksha Mujahideen Oikya Parishad.

JMJB does not approve of the prevailing political system in Bangladesh and that it aspires to "build a society based on the Islamic model laid out in Holy Quran-Hadith." Its stated objective is neutralizing the left-wing extremists, especially the cadres of the PBCP and its professed long-term goal is to usher in an ‘Islamic revolution’ in Bangladesh through Jihad.
The JMJB reportedly has a three-tier organisation. The first tier of the outfit consists of activists called Ehsar who are recruited on a full-time basis and act at the behest of the leadership. The second tier, known as Gayeri Ehsar, has over 100,000 part-time activists. The third tier involves those who indirectly co-operate with the JMJB.

The JMJB created strong bases mostly in north-west Bangladesh, in the districts of Rajshahi, Satkhira, Naogaon, Bagerhat, Jessore, Chittagong, Joypurhat, Natore, Rangpur, Bogra, Chittagong, and Khulna. It has allegedly spread its network to most Madrassas (seminaries) and other educational institutions in these districts. 

The outfit also established at least 10 camps at Atrai and Raninagar in the Naogaon district, Bagmara in Rajshahi district, and Naldanga and Singra in Natore district. There have been reports of JMJB recruits being given training through recorded speeches of Osama bin Laden and the video footages of warfare training at the Al Qaeda's Farooque camp (now defunct) in Afghanistan. 

Some JMJB leaders reportedly stated that the outfit is headquartered in Dhaka. However, media reports indicated all activities of the organisation revolving around Jamalpur.

JMJB is reported to have 300000 activists across the country and has about 10,000 full-time activists.

JMJB cadres during their vigilante operations in 2004 were seen with firearms. They also reportedly wielded swords, other sharp weapons, hammers and hockey sticks. JMJB also had access to crude explosives.

Purba Banglar Communist Party (PBCP) – Purba Banglar Communist Party (PBCP) headed by Mofakkar Chowdhury is one of the many Maoist splinter organizations in Bangladesh. It was formed in 1968 after splitting with the Bangladesh Communist Party (BCP). It has been outlawed since the military regime of Zia-ur-Rehman. However, there has been a spurt in the activities of the PBCP since 2002. 

Like Maoist groups around the world, the objective of the PBCP is capturing state power through armed struggle. Its draws inspiration from the Chinese revolution. In the opinion of the PBCP, oppression by the people of the then West Pakistani was the principal reason that lead to the liberation war in the territories of the then East Pakistan following which Bangladesh was formed. The PBCP is strongly opposed to the presence of feudal elements in Bangladesh. Ideologically, it is closer to the Marxist-Leninist groups of India and desires to launch a joint movement along with progressive parties in India, particularly the Naxalites of West Bengal. The PBCP is hopeful that China would, at some time in the future, provide significant assistance in realising its goals. The PBCP operates in south-west Bangladesh, bordering the Indian State of West Bengal. Its presence can be noticed in districts such as Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Magura, Meherpur, Narail, Kushtia, Jessore, Jhenidah, Chuadanga and Pirojpur.

PBCP cadres have reportedly been involved in acts of murder, robbery, extortion, land grabbing and abduction for ransom. Like the mafia, they are allegedly involved in settling land disputes in rural areas. In the process of adjudicating disputes, PBCP cadres collect money through their strong-arm tactics from both the parties to a dispute. In its strongholds, the PBCP levies a ‘tax’ on civil contractors who undertake construction works such as laying roads and bridges and constructing culverts and schools. This has resulted in impeding development work in southwest Bangladesh. The PBCP also publishes a journal Purba Bangla, meaning East Bengal.

Islami Chhatra Shibir  - Islami Chhatra Shibir is the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, which came into existence in 1941.

A person at the time of joining the organisation is considered as Karmi, meaning worker. When a Karmi meets a predefined standard of knowledge, rituals, moral status and leadership quality, he is promoted to a Shathi meaning comrade. When a Shathi is able to meet a higher standard of knowledge, rituals, moral status and leadership quality, he is promoted to a Shadashawa meaning member.

Nurul Islam Bulbul is the Central President of the ICS. Mohammed Nazrul Islam is the Secretary General of the outfit. Other important leaders are: Kamal Ahmed Sikder, A S M Faruq, Muhammad Mujibur Rahman Manju, Muhammad Raisul and A S M Ashraf Mahmud Uzzal. The Executive Council is the highest decision-making body of the outfit.

The group's objectives, inter alia, are to change the existing system of education on the basis of Islamic values, to inspire students to acquire Islamic knowledge and to prepare them to take part in the struggle for establishing Islamic way of life. A very important aim of the outfit is to establish an Islamist regime on the Taliban model in Bangladesh similar to the one that existed in Afghanistan. Consequently, the outfit is opposed to forces of modernization, secularism and democracy. The group is one of the strongest student fronts in the Universities of Chittagong, Dhaka, Rajshahi and Jahangirnagar. It is also emerging as a dominant group in the Khulna and Sylhet Universities. Within the vast madrassa (religious seminary) structure in Bangladesh, this group is reported to be a dominant and uncontested organisation.

The Shibir also been maintaining close links with the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and has been working to support Islamist subversive agenda particularly in areas bordering Bangladesh. It is also reportedly has close links with various terrorist outfits operating in South Asia and Afghanistan.

Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) – The Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) also known as Ansar Bangla is an extremist organisation which has been claimed to be linked to the Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami party. The members of the organization have been implicated in brutal attacks and murders of bloggers from 2013 to 2015 and a bank robbery in April 2015. It was outlawed by the Bangladesh government in May 2015. The members were allegedly involved in the killing of Ahmed Rajib Haider in February 2013. Four other members were arrested for the attack on blogger Asif Mohiuddin. They were also involved in the murder of three bloggers – Avijit Roy, Oyasiqur Rahman Babu and Ananta Bijoy Das and murder of Professor of Sociology AKM Shafiul Islam. According to the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, the group is an al Qaeda inspired extremist group which started its activities around 2007 as the Jama’atul Muslemin. When funding by NGOs ended, it re-emerged during 2013 as the ABT.

The ABT’s ultimate goal has been to take control of Bangladesh through an armed jihad and implement Sharia rule. In August 2013 Bangladeshi authorities arrested radical cleric Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani, an ideological leader of ABT, along with dozens of his followers in Barguna, a south western district of Bangladesh. Rahmani and the ABT have established a strong presence on the Internet and have engaged in not just spreading the group’s propaganda but also translating and distributing material produced by Al-Qaeda and the American-Yemeni ideologue Anwar Al-Awlaki  who had been killed in October 2011 in Yemen by a drone strike.
1. South Asian Terrorism Portal
2. Wikipedia 
3. Bangladesh: an Emerging Centre for Terrorism in Asia by Sajjan M Gohel (Terrorism Research Initiative - Perspectives on Terrorism Vol 8, No 3 (2014)