The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Dhaka is working round the clock to uncover the truth behind the circumstances that got 23-year old Foyzur Rahman Faizul involved in militancy.
In search of answers, officials concerned have interrogated the youth multiple times.
CTTC Additional Deputy Police Commissioner MdSaiful Islam said: “Faizul belongs to a devout Muslim family. His behavior began changing from 2016, as he started reading material from the Ahl-e Hadith sect of Islam.
“During that period, Faizul turned into a fundamentalist, and then he got radicalized. Users of the DawahIlallah online forum motivated the youth after he volunteered to murder Professor Zafar Iqbal.”
DawahIlallah forum is run by members of notorious terrorist groups Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) and Ansar Al-Islam.
Also Read - Faizul followed Dawah Ilallah forum’s guidance to attack Zafar Iqbal
CTTC official Saiful Islam has been questioning Faizul for the past three days.
During interrogation the youth had claimed that he was the only one involved in the attack on Zafar Iqbal, which took place on March 3. However, police officials have a strong suspicion that more people were directly involved in the attack.
Several other CTTC officials, who interrogated Faizul, his parents and uncles, are determined to unearth every single detail of the attack on Zafar Iqbal.
Learning about the mechanism behind radicalization would help the law enforcers in the long run to curb militant activities on Bangladesh soil.
Radicalization began from home
A CTTC official, on condition of anonymity said: “Faizul was influenced by his paternal uncles, both of whom are followers of the Ahl-e Hadith sect of Islam. In the last two years, he acquainted himself with many other followers of this particular sect.
“Faizul got admitted at Sylhet Alia Madrasa in 2016, but later abandoned his studies claiming that the path is not right. He later worked at two organizations- Moin Computers and Quran-Sunnah Research Centre, and both of the owners were followers of Ahl-e Hadith.”
Also Read - Zafar Iqbal’s attacker Faizul remanded for 10 days
On Thursday, law enforcers detained Faizul’s brother Enamul from Gazipur. On the same day, Faizul was taken placed on a ten-day remand.
Police are collecting information from Faizul’s mobile phone and tablet computer, which was recovered from Enamul.
What is the correlation between extremism and Salafism?
According to several CTTC officials, who are working to prevent the rise of militancy for years, many followers of Ahl-e Hadith or Salafi sect have a penchant for getting involved in extremist activities.
In Bangladesh, there is significant evidence that majority of the members belonging to banned militant groups Jama’atulMujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), its new faction (New JMB) and Ansar al-Islam are also followers of Ahl-e Hadith or Salafi sect.
Salafism is an ultra-conservative reform movement within Sunni Islam that developed in Arabia in the first half of the 18th century.
The movement advocated a return to the traditions of the salaf, who are the first three generations of scholars after the Prophet Muhammad.
Two Ahl-e Hadith organizations are currently active in Bangladesh- JamiatAhle Hadith and Ahle Hadith Andolon Bangladesh.
Family received invitation to militancy
A CTTC official revealed that after getting involved with militancy, Faizul invited his family members to join him as well.
Quoting a statement given by Faizul’s father Atiqur Rahman, the official said: “Atiqur told his son to follow his own belief. Faizul’s father refused to be a part of militant activities.
“However, Faziul wanted his sister to marry Sumon, an associate who also followed the Ahl-e Hadith sect. Sumon is currently on the run from the law.”
Also Read - ‘I attacked Zafar Iqbal because he is an enemy of Islam’
According to CTTC sources, Faizul’s brother Enamul Hasan is also suspected of being involved in militancy.
Soon after the attack on Zafar Iqbal, Enamul took Faizul’s mobile phone, tab and computer and escaped to his native home in Sylhet.
The attacker’s parents had surrendered to the police, but Enamul tried to remain into hiding.
On March 3, Zafar Iqbal was speaking at a two-day long fair organized by the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He was stabbed at the back of his head by an assailant armed with a knife during that event.
The attack occurred around 5:40pm. The attacker, a youth identified as Faizul, was immediately taken down and detained by authorities after a severe thrashing.
Zafar Iqbal is currently undergoing treatment at the Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com