|Great White North|
|Al Qaeda-linked charity helps Canadian Mosque fundraising|
|[Jpost] An al-Qaeda-linked Kuwaiti charity helped a Canadian Islamic organization fundraising to buy a former Church to convert into a mosque, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) reported on Wednesday.|
The Toronto area Abu Huraira Center describes itself in its website as a "diverse & unique community" that attracts over 1000 regular attendees, running a wide range of programs and services including a full-time Montessori Islamic school and evening Islamic classes.
According to their website, the total property cost for the church amounted to $ 8,800,000
As revealed by Kharon Brief, a media platform that covers topics at the intersection of global security and commerce, and reported by IPT, the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS) participated in the fundraising effort.
In 2008, the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, which operates under the auspices of Kuwait's Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, was designated by the US Department of the Treasury for providing financial and material support to al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The ties between the charity and the terror organization were also denounced by the UN.
Al-Maneese has repeatedly expressed murderous Moslem and antisemitic positions, including inciting violence against Jews.
Kharon Brief shared a screenshot of the fundraising campaign for the event set by the RIHS on their website.
At least six former attendees of the Abu Huraira Center left Canada to join the a terrorist group in Somalia.
|Germany needs to respond to state-sponsored Salafism, experts say|
|[DeutscheWelle] Policy toward may have to change after an intelligence report found that the Saudi government directly supports fundamentalist Islamic groups in Germany. One focus could be arms sales to Riyadh.|
Berlin's relations with some of its main partners in the Middle East were under critical scrutiny on Tuesday after a leaked intelligence report linked the governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and with Salafist movements in Germany.
Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, declined to confirm the accuracy of the leaked excerpts or give any further details from the report, saying that it only provided information to the government. But experts say that the warning about state-sponsored Salafism should be taken seriously.
"I think these reports are credible," Sebastian Sons from the think tank German Council on Foreign Relations told Deutsche Welle. "It's well known that for decades Saudi Arabia has been launching missionary initiatives throughout the world, both by using private foundations and by sending clergymen abroad. Saudi Arabia wants to present itself as the leader of the Sunni Islamic world."
The report says that it's impossible to distinguish between missionary work and support for jihadist violence in one of the organizations, the Kuwaiti Revival of Islamic Heritage Society. The latest estimates put the number of in Germany at slightly below 10,000 - politicians agree that they represent a potential risk.
"The danger is real and shouldn't be underestimated," says Social Democratic Member of Parliament and Middle East expert Rolf Mutzenich. "For quite some time we've had indications and evidence that German Salafists are getting assistance, which is approved by the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, in the form of money, the sending of imams and the building of Koran schools and mosques."
And there's one group some observers fear could be particularly susceptible to radicalization:
Worries about refugees
Germany took in some 900,000 refugees from crisis regions, most prominently Syria, in 2015, and if significant numbers of them grow frustrated, they could represent potentially fertile ground for Islamic fundamentalism. Insiders say that Syrian refugees are sometimes surprised at how conservatively Islam is interpreted by some imams in Germany.
"The danger exists, and we need to vigorously counteract it," Mutzenich told Deutsche Welle. "The best way of preventing refugees from being radicalized is speedy and successful integration. To achieve that we need professional prevention and de-radicalization programs. Concretely that means more money and resources for specialists in schools, government administration, police, youth welfare organizations, prisons and reform schools."
The Saudi Arabian royal family has been allied with Wahhabism, the Saudi form of Salafism, since the late 18th century. But although the German intelligence report concludes that support for missionary movements is part of a long-term foreign policy strategy of Saudi Arabia, Sons doesn't think that Riyadh particularly has its sights set on Germany.
"While we shouldn't underestimate the Saudi influence, I don't believe that Germany is the primary target of Wahhabist proselytizing," the Middle East expert said. "In the past that was always the Islamic world, in Asia, in the Balkans and in Africa. And I think those are the areas where this will prove increasingly relevant in the future."
The BND, however, has been tracking what it calls growing Saudi "interventionism" since the beginning of the year. And the leaked report is increasing pressure on the German government to counteract it.
A well-timed leak
Berlin has never been keen about attempts from within Saudi Arabia to promote Islamic fundamentalism in Germany, and many people object to Germany providing weapons to Middle East allies with questionable records on democracy and Could the two issues become linked in the wake of the leaked report?
"The German government and the Foreign Ministry have called upon the governments in question to stop their support [for German s]," Mutzenich says. "In this context, the concrete question arises as to whether we should keep supplying arms to these countries and other crisis regions. I think the German government should send a clear signal."
Indeed, sources within the security community, who asked not to be named, think that the timing of the leak may be anything but accidental. Opposition to Germany providing Saudi Arabia with weapons seems to be growing within the intelligence community, and perhaps releasing parts of the report is an attempt to force the hand of politicians in Berlin.
Sons, too, thinks the time may have come for an arms embargo.
"The government has to show that it has a clear strategy for how to deal with a difficult partner like Saudi Arabia," Sons says. "In my eyes, weapons shipments should be off the table. And on state visits, it's important to raise the topics of human rights and Wahhabist proselytizing."
All the same, there is little chance that Berlin will risk complete estrangement from a powerful ally in the Middle East.
"We can't forget that Saudi Arabia is the most important Arab force in the region," Sons added. "There's no way we can do without this country, whether we like it or not."
|Home Front: WoT|
|U.S., Saudi Slap Sanctions on 'Terrorist' Financing Fund|
|[AnNahar] The United States Treasury said Tuesday it and were imposing sanctions on a charity fund alleged to provide financing to "terrorist" groups including al-Qaeda, the Taliban and The sanctions aim to disrupt the financing and operations of al-Furqan Foundation Welfare Trust, a charity group based in , Pakistain.|
The Treasury said al-Furqan is the successor to the Pakistain branches of the Afghan Support Committee and Revival of Islamic Heritage Society.
Both were designated as global terrorist entities and listed on the 's al-Qaeda sanctions list in 2002.
The Treasury said the operation had changed its name to skirt sanctions and "continue its terrorist financing activities."
Some of the funds for the group came from individuals in the Gulf, it said.
Saudi Arabia designated al-Furqan under its Law of Terrorism Crimes and Financing and the Royal Decree A/44, the Treasury said in a statement.
The sanctions freeze any assets of al-Furqan under the jurisdiction of each country and generally bars Americans and Saudis from doing business with it.
"Today's joint action reflects the strength of U.S. and Saudi cooperation on countering the financing of terrorism," said Adam Szubin, the Treasury's acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in the statement.
"We are committed to exposing terrorist financiers, especially those who masquerade as charities."
The U.S. alleged that al-Furqan is a major pipeline of financial and material support for terrorist groups and their activities in Pakistain and Afghanistan.
As of November 2013, it was providing funding for the U.S. designated terrorist training center Ganj Madrassa, which was controlled by al-Qaeda Shaykh Aminullah. And as of mid-2014, Al-Furqan provided tens of thousands of U.S. dollars to the leaders of the Pak group Lashkar-e-Taiba, the department said.
|Bangladesh And The Money Train|
|In Bangladesh, Islamic terror organizations such as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Harkat- ul Jihad al-Islami (HUJI), though banned for years, have survived several changes of government. Some training camps continue to impart both ideological and arms training. It's all because of money.|
Survival is made possible by some twenty local and foreign Islamic charities, including al Qaeda's International Islamic Front (IIF), which have been financing radical Islamic groups JMB and HUJI. Much of the money arrives from Pakistan via hawala (underground banking) channel. Other sources include the Saudi based World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), Rabeta-al-alam-al-Islami, Kuwait based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, International Federation of Islamic Organizations, Islamic World Committee, Qatar based Charitable Society and UK based Muslim Aid. In a single transaction in 2008, for instance, JMB received $42 million, again through 'hawala'.
Bangla is a dog's breakfast of a place, but from where I've been sitting it's about 900 percent improved over the Khaleda regime. The August 21st grenade attacks seemingly had the coppers "stumped" until the election turned the BNP and their allies out. JMP ran wild, with Bangla Bhai and his bad boyz seemingly impossible to run down. HUJI operated with impunity. Even though part of the motive behind it is the fact that the Battling Begums despise each other, I think the war crimes prosecutions have provided a wedge to take out the Jamaat-e-Islami leadership, the corruption trials and the arrests in the Chittagon Arms Shipment fiasco are providing a level to dump some of the more odious BNP partisans, and the recent revelations of the ISI's ownership of BNP will help postpone their comeback for awhile. Because it's a Moslem country they'll be back in power eventually, but until then and in spite of the Awami's League's own problems with corruption things have definitely been getting better.
|NGOs under scanner|
|The Bangladesh government has started scrutinising activities of NGOs approved during the rule of the BNP-led four-party alliance government to see if they have any involvement with funding militant activities.|
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith has charged certain NGOs with funding militant outfits and named the former Social Welfare Minister, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, who is also secretary-general of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, as the possible "culprit."
Mr. Muhith told reporters on Wednesday that there were some investments in Bangladesh "that patronise militant activities," but he did not identify them.
After the massive countrywide bombings in 2005 carried out by the banned Jamaat'ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, intelligence agencies reported that certain West Asia-based NGOs were funding terrorism in Bangladesh. They recommended banning the Kuwait-based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society and taking action against a number of other West Asian organisations found to have links with Islamist extremists.
|Militant kingpin Galib freed on bail|
|Asadullah Al Galib, chief of Islamist militant outfit Ahle Hadith Andolan Bangladesh (Ahab), was freed on bail yesterday from Bogra Jail. The High Court (HC) granted him bail in two cases as the trials could not be held within the time set by the HC six months ago.|
Since his arrest on February 23, 2005, a total of ten cases were filed against the militant kingpin and a close ally of executed Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) chief Shayekh Abdur Rahman. However, during the then BNP-Jamaat alliance government, Galib was relieved of charges in six of the cases and was granted bail in another case.
On July 26, during the term of the present government, a Gaibandha court declared him not guilty in an explosives case. Six months back, the HC ordered that Galib would be awarded bail in two other cases (one for explosions in Shahjahanpur and the other for murdering a person in the explosions) unless the trial of the murder case is completed within three months and the trial of the explosion case in six months.
Galib was released on bail at around 5:30pm yesterday following the HC order as both the trials could not be held in time.
GALIB'S MILITANT TIES
In 1978, Galib formed Ahab's youth wing Ahle Hadith Jubo Shangha (AHJS), said AHJS workers. While forming the AHJS, Galib argued that they needed to engage in Jihad against Islamic fallacies including the mazar culture to bring an Islamic rule in the country.
The mainstream organisation Ahab was formed in late 1994. With Galib's help and funds from Revival of Islamic Heritage Society>Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), the JMB militants used 700 mosques across the country. The bank accounts of RIHS in Pakistan were seized after the 9/11 incident.
Galib toured Afghanistan, India and Pakistan with fake travel documents. He had close relations with Islamist militants in Kashmir. He visited India in 1998 with a business passport. Police and intelligence sources said Ahab is just a cover-up of the JMB and most of the Ahab members are involved in JMB activities. Militants arrested in Thakurgaon, Joypurhat, Bogra and Natore told police that Galib was their leader and he used to meet with them at Ahle Hadith mosques.
JMB chief Rahman and Ahab Amir Galib were well-known to each other. Rahman studied at Medina University in Saudi Arabia on Galib's recommendation and after completing his course, he joined with Galib.
|U.S. freezes Kuwait charity over Al-Qaeda ties|
|The United States Treasury Department on Friday froze the assets of a Kuwait-based charity for allegedly supporting and funding Al-Qaeda, the government said in a statement. |
The decision applies to the Kuwaiti headquarters of the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), and specifically to any assets the group holds under U.S. jurisdiction. It also bars US persons from any transactions with the group.
"RIHS has used charity and humanitarian assistance as cover to fund terrorist activity and harm innocent civilians, often in poor and impoverished regions," said Stuart Levey, under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
The U.S. government applied similar measures to RIHS offices in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2002 "based on evidence of their support for Al-Qaeda," the Treasury statement said.
"At that time, there was no evidence that the Kuwait-based RIHS headquarters knew that RIHS-Afghanistan and RIHS-Pakistan were financing Al-Qaeda. Since that time, however, evidence has mounted implicating RIHS-HQ in terrorism support activity."
The U.S. government said that the group's senior leadership, which managed daily activities, was "aware of both legitimate and illegitimate uses of RIHS funds."
RIHS offices have also been closed or raided over suspicions of terror ties by the governments of Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, and Russia.
|Kuwait speaker attacks US over charity freeze|
|KUWAIT - A US decision to freeze the assets of a Kuwaiti charity could harm its relations with its key Gulf Arab ally, Kuwait's parliament speaker said on Sunday. The US Treasury Department said on Friday it has decided to freeze the assets of the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, accusing it of financing terrorist activities.|
Jassem Al Kharafi, a pro-government politician and former minister, criticised the decision and said such charities were under state scrutiny. We wish that the United States respects the sovereignty of Kuwait and it should not take actions that would harm this (U.S.-Kuwaiti) relationship, Kharafi told reporters. Who has a house of glass should not throw stones against others, he said, adding that the United States should first solve the problem of its prison at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba.
Kuwaiti officials rarely criticise the United States in public.
|Kuwaiti Charity Investigated For Terror Links|
|Sarajevo, 29 June (AKI) - Investigators are probing the Bosnian branch of the humanitarian organisation Revival of Islamic Heritage Society Kuwait (RIHSK) for possible terrorist links and financing of an Islamic terrorist organisation, Bosnian daily Nezavisne vovine reported on Thursday. RHISK channelled some 14 million euros to its sister organisation in Bosnia from January 1, 2002 to December 2005, the paper said, quoting unnamed prosecution sources. The Bosnian organisation - registered under the same name as RIHSK and translated into Bosnian - hasnt kept records on how the money was spent, the paper said. Nor has it ever submitted final accounts to the authorities. |
The organisation has branches in four Bosnian cities Sarajevo, Zenica, Travnik and Kljuc and is headed by Othman al-Hajdar, who has Bosnian documents, according to Nezavisne vovine. RHISK has been placed on the United Nations list of organisations which have links to the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
The Bosnian authorities are reviewing some 1,500 citizenships granted to foreign mujahadeen who fought on the side of local Muslims in the 1992-1995 civil war. The authorities have so far revoked the Bosnian citizenship of a total 38 individuals from Muslim countries and last week announced they will be expelled. Thousands of such individuals fought in the civil war and many remained in the country after the war, often marrying local women, and some were operating training camps and recruiting local youths for the terrorist organisations, according to intelligence reports.
Bosnian prosecution spokesman Boris Grubesic neither confirmed nor denied the newspaper report on the ongoing investigation. "As a rule, we never comment on investigation procedures, especially in such sensitive matters," Grubesic said
|JMB supremo profile|
|Self-styled as shaekh (spiritual leader), Abdur Rahman is the chief of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), erstwhile Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) that has been operating in the country secretly since 1998.|
Born in Charshi Khalifapara village of Jamalpur Sadar upazila, Rahman, aged around 50, joined Islami Chhatra Shibir and later Jamaat-e-Islami when he was a student.
He studied at Madina Islami University in Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s and later worked at the Saudi Embassy in Dhaka for five years from 1985. He has travelled to many countries including India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Malaysia.
Rahman's father, late Moulana Abdullah Ibne Fazal, was a member of Jamiatul Ahle Hadith, lately led by arrested Rajshahi University teacher Asadullah Al Galib. Fazal was accused of collaborating with the Pakistani occupation forces during the Liberation War in 1971.
Rahman runs Al-Madina Islamic Cadet Madrasa and a mosque in Jamalpur. Saudi NGO Rabeta-e-Islam and Kuwait-based NGO Revival of Islamic Heritage Society provided him with the financial assistance to establish those institutions.
Rahman's existence as a militant lynchpin came to light when he came forward in 2004 in support of JMJB operations commander Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai as the latter's anti-Sarbahara operations in some northern districts gave rise to controversy due to media reporting.
Bangla Bhai, allegedly sheltered by several ruling BNP lawmakers, led a spate of killings in Rajshahi, Natore and Naogaon in early 2003 and 2004.
In an interview with The Daily Star last May, Rahman admitted that he has been secretly operating the JMJB since 1998. He also said the headquarters of the JMJB is in Dhaka.
He also said the JMJB has trained up some 10,000 full-time activists across the country and it spends up to Tk 7 lakh on them per month. Majlish-e-Shura is the highest decision making body of the organisation.
The members and supporters of JMJB were divided into three tiers: Ehsar--full-timers who act at the directive of the higher echelons, Gayeri Ehsar--part-timers, and a third one consisting of those who indirectly cooperate with the outfit.
The organisation divided the country into nine organisational divisions.
The JMJB was renamed Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh after a fight between Rahman's disciples and the police at a secret training camp in Joypurhat in August 2003.
Following the "encounter", the police arrested Rahman's brother Ataur Rahman alias Sunny and son-in-law Abdul Awal along with 17 other militants.
A few days later, however, they were released while the higher authorities transferred several police officials reportedly for making the arrests.
In a press note issued on February 23 last year, the home ministry announced the JMJB and JMB banned, accusing Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai of carrying out bomb attacks and killings in recent times to create anarchy in the country.
When newspapers started reporting on the activities of Bangla Bhai and JMJB in the northern region of the country about a year ago, the government said it was false. It even blamed the media for "creating" the "fictitious" character of Bangla Bhai.
"We do not know officially about the existence of the JMJB. Only some so-called newspapers are publishing reports on it. We do not have their constitution in our records," State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar told the BBC radio on January 26, 2005.
Even Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, while exchanging views with editors in August last year, said there is no existence of Bangla Bhai.
Ruling coalition partner Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer and Industries Minister Matiur Rahman Nizami on July 22 last year said, "Bangla Bhai has been created by some newspapers."
Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman on February 23 last year dubbed the onset of Islamist militancy across the country as nothing but a "foul propaganda" by a section of the media.
On the same day, however, after the government banned the JMJB, Babar told the BBC, "We are embarrassed as it is not being possible to arrest Bangla Bhai...We have put extreme pressure on the police to hold him."
On May 15 last year, a cabinet committee meeting on law and order ordered the police to arrest Bangla Bhai and his followers. A week later, the JMJB operatives staged a showdown in Rajshahi and met the deputy commissioner, superintendent of police (SP) and deputy inspector general of police (DIG).
Masud Mia, the then Rajshahi SP who had been suspended a few days ago, welcomed the JMJB team, saying, "We [the police] hail you as you are helping us eliminate the Sarbaharas from Rajshahi. We will cooperate with you in the coming days so that people can rest without fear."
Rajshahi range DIG Noor Mohammad on June 23 said there is no existence of "so-called Bangla Bhai" in the region.
Zahirul Haque, director general of external publicity wing of the foreign ministry, on January 25 this year quoted US Embassy officials in Dhaka about the non-existence of Bangla Bhai. The US embassy, however, refuted his comment.
|Bangla hard boyz maintain vast NGO network for financing purposes|
|Any organisation having mission of waging an arms-struggle with its countrywide grassroots level network and thousands of workers needs huge funding, reports BDNews.|
Apart from spreading their organisational network, the Jama'atul Mujahedin Bangladesh, also amassed huge fund during their clandestine activities since its inception.
Although JMB kingpin Shaekh Abdur Rahman comes from a upper middle class family but did not have any known source of huge income needed for operating a militant organisation like JMB, while the members of Majlish-e-Shura also the members of lower middle class families.
Besides, the activists and supporters recruited mainly from Madrasa students are from poor families.
They have no ability to provide huge funds required for meeting the costs of the activists in the payroll, procurement of arms and ammunition and their travel costs.
According to sources, thousands of full-time JMB members (Ehsar) are in the pay roll and used to get Tk 2000-5000 per month.
The JMB was learnt to have recruited about 2000 members in their suicide squad who were promised to be given Tk 50 thousand per family.
Maulana Abdul Latif, publicity secretary of grilled Dr Asadullah Al Galib-led Ahle Hadith Andolan, said some Islamic NGOs and financial institutions provided money to the militant organisation.
There are some 200 Islamic NGOs registered with the Social Welfare Affairs Department. Of them, about 34 Islamic NGOs are registered under the NGO Affairs Bureau who got fund from abroad.
According to sources, after getting the Social Welfare Ministry, Jamaat gave registration to huge Islamic NGOs operating in remote areas.
Abu Taher, MP, former president of Islami Chhatra Shibir, was the first general secretary of the World Young Muslim Association (WYMA). The organisation was black listed by the USA for providing money to the militants in Bangladesh.
The WYMA is also blamed for supplying funds to different madrasas reportedly the breeding grounds of militants.
Besides these, the Rabeta al Islami is also accused and Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS) were also blamed for providing money to militants. The Kuwait-based Al Haramain had to wrap up its activities for their alleged link with the militancy.
On September 12, the law enforcers detained RIHS's director Akramuzzaman and interrogated him but later released him a day after.
According to sources, after the nationwide August 17 bomb blasts the intelligence agencies beefed up vigilance on the movement and activities of the RIHS, a non-government organisation funded by Kuwait and other Middle East countries.
Sources said, police and different other agencies also were looking for the activities, funding, the sources of funds and the way of distribution of funds of RIHS located at House 40, section â7 of Lake drive road In Uttara.
Police also detained Ikra Bangladesh chief Moulana Masud for receiving fund from abroad for funding the militants.
On December 1 last year, Communications Minister Nazmul Huda at a seminar said that the Islamic NGOs are battling suspicion over their links with terrorism.
"Some NGOs' involvement in terrorist financing has led to the such thinking," he said while speaking at a seminar on building partnership between Muslim NGOs and the international community.
He also said that little control over the organisations, lack of transparency in their financial statements and weak governance had resulted in creating bad impression.
Addressing the seminar, State Minister for Religious Affairs Mosharraf Hossain Shahjahan expressed dissatisfaction over the activities of some Islamic NGOs working in Bangladesh, as they are interested to build mosques rather to work for reducing poverty.
"I was an activist of Chhatra Shibir from where I joined the HuJI-B and went to Kashmir at the invitation of Lasker-e-Taiyeba," said Saif (a pseudonym), who is now in prison.
"Like Saif, hundreds of activists of Shibir, who used to cut tendons of opponents, joined the JMB and HuJI-B," said Maulana Abdul Latif, publicity secretary of Ahle Hadith Andolan.
Saif along with 25 other Bangladeshi youths, went to Indian Kashmir when he was an activist of HuJI-B. He gave interview to BDNews at Baipail in Savar on October 10 and 13 on condition that his real name will not be disclosed.
According to police sources, JMB suicide squad member Mamun, who conducted attack on judges in Jhalakathi, was also the activist of Islami Chhatra Shibir.
Arrested Shamim, chief of IT wing of JMB, is a son of a Jamaat leader in Sylhet. Regional JMB Commander of Khulna division Sabbir Ahmed is also a Shibir leader.
Besides, many other suspected JMB activists now in detention are also the members of the student wing of Jammat.
Besides Jamaat, the Islami Oikya Jote also made tie with the HuJI since 1992. The then IOJ leaders Maulana Ahmad ullah Ashraf, principal of Kamrangirchhar madrasa and Maulana Habibur Rahman of Sylhet, in separate interviews with BDNEWS admitted that they went to Afghanistan and fought against Soviet invasion in late 80s at the invitation of Talibans.
"I went to Karachi in 1989 when I was the chief of Khelafat Andolan. There, I was introduced with the then Mujahid Commandar Abdur Rasul Syed. Following his (Rasul) invitation I joined the Afghan war," said Maulana Ashraf.
Maulana Ashraf also said that like his son Rahmatullah, who was killed in Afghan War in 1988, hundreds of youths from Bangladesh had joined the Afghan war.
According to police sources, the militants made the plan of nationwide bombings on mid April last year. Grilled JMB militants disclosed this to the law enforcers.
The sources also said that some Islamic NGOs and an Imam of a UK mosque provided the money to the militants. Before the bombings, the militants held separate preparatory meetings at Naogaon, Joypurhat, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Chittagong, Barisal, Satkhira and Dhaka.
The date of nationwide bombings was finalised after the visit of Ataur Rahman, imam of a mosque in UK and also the director of Ahle Hadith Library and Information Centre in Nageswari in Kurigram. He held meeting with Shaekh Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai several times, sources said.
|Militant outfit Ahab demands Galib's release|
Categorically blaming Jamaat-e Islami for militancy in the country, the Ahab leader said, "There is no need to find out who are behind militancy. They (Jamaat) themselves confessed to such crimes. Has Nizami (Jamaat chief and minister Motiur Rahman Nizami ) been arrested although most people and organisations are holding him responsible (for militancy)?" In an oblique reference to Jamaat, he said political vengeance of an Islamic party was responsible for arrests of Galib and other Ahab leaders.
Muslehuddin, a Madina University scholar and teacher at Chittagong Islamic University established by the suspect Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), said false propaganda by some expelled Ahab leaders, newspaper reports and wrong intelligence reports also led to arrests of Ahab leaders. "Intelligence agencies of our country appear to be ever asleep , we doubt if they are alerted even after August 17 (countrywide blasts," he said.
The press conference was attended by, among others, Ahab General Secretary Abdul Wadud, Galib-run Al Tahreek editor Dr Sakhawat Hossain, Ahle Hadith Jubo Sangha (AHJS) acting President Kabirul Islam and Rajshahi Ahab President Abul Kalam Azad.
Asked how he can deny Ahab links to Al Qaeda when Osama Bin Laden's close associate Sheikh Abdullah Nasser Al Rahmani of Pakistan was welcomed at an Ahab conference, Muslehuddin said, "We invited him as a famous alem (Islamic scholar)." Criticising the US, Muslehuddin said, " Someone's being on America's list of terrorists does not mean one is a terrorist." At a 1997 Ahab conference, Galib named a number of guests from India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, including Nasser Al Rahmani, an alleged leader of Saudi Hizbullah. US Federal Bureau of Investigation announced rewards of $5 million for his arrest. On the presence of Abdul Matin Salafi from India, who was expelled from Bangladesh in 1988 for militancy, Muslehuddin said, "We invite people irrespective of ideologies and anyone can address our annual conference." He kept mum when asked how Matin Salafi can be 'anyone' when Galib had a joint account with him at Motijheel Branch of Islami Bank Bangladesh between July 1989 and May 1990 (after his expulsion). Matin Salafi helped Galib collect funds and establish links to militants abroad, especially in the Middle East and South Asia, investigators said.