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New details emerge on Bangladeshi Islamists’ Upcoming Visit to Washington

Counterterrorism

New details emerge on Bangladeshi Islamists’ Upcoming Visit to Washington

Abha Shankar 

violent South Asia Islamist group reportedly is part of a secret plot to undermine Bangladesh’s government and pave the way for the country’s former supreme court chief justice to take control.

Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (JIB) has a “secret verbal agreement” with Surendra Kumar Sinha to fund a campaign “getting Justice Sinha international media exposure,” the Weekly Blitz reports. Sinha, the first Hindu to occupy Bangladesh’s top judicial post, left the country following allegations of money laundering and graft and later tendered his resignation from overseas.

The report comes in advance of a visit to Washington, D.C. next month by JIB assistant secretary Abdur Razzaq, a Bangladeshi lawyer living in self-exile in the United Kingdom. As I reported along with Middle East Forum’s Sam Westrop earlier this week, Razzaq is expected to meet with members of Congress and with think-tanks.

According to the Blitz, Razzaq planned to use Sinha’s recently published autobiography to trigger a “mass revolt” against the Bangladeshi government which ultimately would force it from power, opening the door for Sinha’s return.

“JIB policymakers are considering Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha as their ‘tramp (sic) card’ and would use him in appraising American policymakers and top jurists on the ‘current situation’ in Bangladesh. Members of JIB in the US also are trying to buy airtime in several television channels for airing interview of Justice Sinha,” the Blitz said.

The article also detailed ties between a former top Jamaat financier Mir Quasem Ali and Islamist NGOs, including the Saudi-funded Rabita al-Alam al-Islami (Muslim World League), a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated quasi government religious organization established in 1962 to propagate Saudi “Wahhabi” Islam.

Ali helped set up Bangladesh’s first Sharia bank, the Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) and is the founder of Ibn Sina Trust that runs several hospitals and diagnostic centers in Bangladesh.

Ali was hanged in 2016 after Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal convicted him of crimes related to Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence, including abducting and killing a teenager who supported independence. Razzaq had helped Ali hire a lobbying firm for an upfront payment of $500,000 to influence American lawmakers against the war crimes tribunal. Razzaq promised to pay an additional $2.5 million once Ali was released from prison.

Ali’s brother, Mir Masum Ali, is an executive board member for the JI-tied Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA). A 2010 picnic hosted by MUNA featured Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, JI’s then-assistant secretary general, as the guest of honor. Kamaruzzaman was sentenced to death in 2013 for his role in the murder of 120 unarmed farmers.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism

Blitz’s Editorial Board is responsible for the stories published under this byline. This includes editorials, news stories, letters to the editor, and multimedia features on WeeklyBlitz.net

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