Even radical Islamist parties and groups including Hefazat-e-Islam that eye Shariah law in the country have condemned the fresh threat of brutality by Syria-based Salafist outfit Islamic State (IS).
“We think an ideal society cannot be established through bomb blasts and suicide attacks. In reality, these activities are harmful for Islam and Muslims,” Allama Shah Ahmad Shafi, the ameer of Qawmi madrasa-based platform Hefazat, said on Wednesday.
“We do not support anything that harms people in a society,” Shafi said in a written statement when asked by the Dhaka Tribune to comment on the latest IS video.
Also Read- Man in latest IS video is Neaz Morshed Raja
Hefazat and its components also held demonstrations across the country after the July 1, 2016 Gulshan terror attack that shocked the world. IS claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted foreigners reportedly to avenge the US-led coalition strike in Syria.
Shafi said that they had a major ideological difference with the Salafists.
“We in no way support Ahle Hadith or Salafism. They are creating confusion among Muslims by giving a wrong explanation of Islam in terms of rituals and socio-political issues. We have long been campaigning against them through sermons and books,” he said.
In the latest video that features Bangladeshi youth Neaz Morshed Raja, IS has asked its followers to sacrifice their life like Raja did during an attack on Shia Muslims in Tikrit of Iraq in October 2015.
[caption id="attachment_52742" align="aligncenter" width="800"] A screenshot of an apparent bombing scene in a latest Islamic State video which featured a Bangladeshi terrorist from Chittagong, Neaz Morshed Raja
The video “Words Mixed with Blood” is the third from IS to focus on Bangladesh and was first released via the terrorist group's hidden service on TOR network and Telegram channels early on Wednesday. It was later published by IS websites in Bangla including At-Tamkin.
[caption id="attachment_53169" align="alignleft" width="298"] Chormonai Pir Sayed Rezaul Karim
The group's supporters carried out a gun and bomb attack on police near Sholakia Eid ground on July 7 last year, the Eid Day, only a day after the first video was released hailing the Gulshan cafe attack.
Since September 2015, IS has claimed 26 attacks in Bangladesh in which around 50 people including foreigners, non-Muslim and non-Sunni preachers, and law enforcers have been killed.
Floated in 2010, Hefazat drew huge support in 2013 after they launched a radical movement against the Shahbagh activists, calling them atheists, and demanded a law with the provision of death penalty for hurting the religious sentiment of Muslims.
Also Read- AQIS supports Hefazat on SC statue removal
Youths began converging at the Shahbagh intersection in Dhaka on February 5, 2013 to demand the death penalty for all war criminals and a ban on Jamaat. The movement soon spread throughout the country while Bangladeshis from abroad also took part in solidarity with the month-long demonstrations.
In opposition to this, Hefazat’s 13-point programme included a ban on Ahmadiyyas and on the mingling of men and women, and the removal of statues. Jamaat-e-Islami, BNP and HM Ershad's Jatiya Party supported their movement.
Inspired by the violent movement, militants linked to Ansarullah Bangla Team have carried out at least 13 attacks killing a dozen of war crimes trial campaigners, secularists, science writers and LGBT rights activists since 2013.
[caption id="attachment_53170" align="alignright" width="251"] BIOJ chief Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury
Chormonai Pir Sayed Rezaul Karim, also the ameer of Islami Andolon Bangladesh, has echoed Allama Shafi regarding IS activities, and blamed anti-Muslim groups for destroying the image of Islam.
“They are hatching conspiracy against Islam and the Muslims,” he told the Dhaka Tribune. “Bangladeshi Muslims are peace loving. They never tend to engage in any type of militant activities."
Also Read- Bangladeshi suicide bomber calls for ‘lone-wolf’ attacks
Hefazat and Chormonai Pir are now campaigning for the removal of the statue of Lady Justice from the Supreme Court premises, terming it anti-Islamic.
Another leader of a religion-based party, Bangladesh Islami Oikya Jote Chairman Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury, said that he did not believe the IS had any organisational base in Bangladesh.
“But the people need to remain careful when such groups issue any statement,” he said, adding that the IS wanted to create panic.
His party, BIOJ, is a component of the ruling 14-party alliance.
"I do not think Bangladeshi people will respond to their [IS] call for suicide bomb attacks,” Misbah added.