Al Jazeera journalist Mehdi Hasan’s jihadist connection exposed


For past few weeks, a controversial article published in the terror network Al Jazeera and another interview of Dr. Gowhar Rizvi, Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Bangladesh Prime Minister had accorded scope to several anti-Bangladesh and pro-Islamist elements including a sacked military officer who along with his family had obtained immigrant status in the United Kingdom with dirty money. The man named Md. Shahid Uddin Khan, along with his wife Farjana Anjum and daughters namely Shehtaz Munasi Khan and Parisa Pinaz Khan had smuggled out millions of dollars from Bangladesh and invested in various dubious business ventures in United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. In 2009, the family invested two million pounds in the United Kingdom in exchange of obtaining immigrant status under Visa Tier 1, vide VAF No. 511702. Later the family had laundered an unknown amount of money and brought that into the United Kingdom.

On January 17, 2019, Dhaka residence of Md. Shahid Uddin Khan was raided by the members of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Bangladesh Police. CTTC, based on secret information, raided House No. 184, Road No. 2, Baridhara DOHS in Dhaka, Bangladesh on January 17, 2019. This house is owned by Md. Shahid Uddin Khan and was allegedly used as a warehouse for arms, explosives and propaganda materials of Islamic State (ISIS). During the raid, large volume of weapons, detonator, counterfeit Bangladesh currency notes and jihadist materials of ISIS were recovered by the CTTC unit.

Following this recovery, three separate cases against ISIS-funder Md. Shahid Uddin Khan, his wife Farjana Anjum, daughters and other accomplices were lodged. The cases are: Cantonment PS, Case no 10, Section-6(2)/7/11/12 of Anti Terrorism Act 2009 (amendment 2013); Cantonment PS,  Case no 11, Section-25-A,  Special Power Act 1974; and Cantonment PS, Case no 12, Section-19-A of Arms Act 1878.

It is learnt from credible sources, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan has been providing financial assistance to several ISIS brides, while he has been actively pushing the agenda of establishing Caliphate in Bangladesh. He has also funded the recent blasts in Sri Lanka during the Easter Sunday.

A marriage between anti-Bangladesh forces:

Ever since he fled Bangladesh in August 2018, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan and his family members were afraid that their connections with the Islamic State might be exposed as Bangladeshi security agencies were extremely vigilant in tracking any of the movements of the jihadists. Being a sacked military officer on charges of corruption and moral turpitude, Mr. Khan also was greatly concerned of his criminal and militancy activities being exposed and his entire family was afraid of legal consequences, as Bangladesh adopted a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards corruption and militancy. Md. Shahid Uddin Khan and his family members were aware of the anti-militancy drives conducted by the Directorate of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). For this reason, they had adopted an agenda of tarnishing the image of this organization by manufacturing fictitious allegations. They had ready-support from a British journalist who connected this ISIS funder family to another journalist named Mehdi Hasan.

Mehdi Hasan, a British citizen is also the editor of the UK version of Huffington Post is trying to get some propaganda materials published in the prestigious news outlet against Bangladesh and DGFI. Sitting in Britain, he and another British journalist also are trying to promote Shahid Uddin Khan’s plot of ousting the democratically elected government in Bangladesh through Venezuela-type civil-military revolt.

Who is Mehdi Hasan?

A Shia Muslim, Mehdi Raza Hasan, during a sermon delivered in 2009, quoting a verse of the Quran, said to an audience: “The kuffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Koran; they are described in the Koran as “a people of no intelligence”, Allah describes them as not of no morality, not as people of no belief – people of “no intelligence” – because they’re incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In this respect, the Koran describes the atheists as “cattle”, as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world.”

In response to criticism over the use of the term “cattle” to describe non-believers, Hasan wrote in his New Statesman blog: “The Quranic phrase ‘people of no intelligence’ simply and narrowly refers to the fact that Muslims regard their views on God as the only intellectually tenable position, just as atheists (like Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris) regard believers as fundamentally irrational and, even, mentally deficient.” Hasan returned to this issue in August 2012 following criticism from the columnist Peter Hitchens. Hasan wrote: “the entire 45-minute speech is primarily an attack on Muslim extremists who try and justify violence against non-Muslims on an ‘ends justify the means’ basis”, but noted of his 2009 comments that his “phraseology was ill-judged, ill-advised and, even, inappropriate”.

Hasan has made several statements in opposition to the Saudi government, including challenging a statement made by Donald Trump, in which he claimed that he himself had no financial interests in Saudi Arabia, an allegation which Trump called “fake news”. Hasan challenged Trump’s statements in a video essay published by The Intercept in October 2018.

In February 2019, during a debate organized by Intelligence Squared in London, Hasan stated that the West should cut ties with Saudi Arabia, saying

“It’s time we make clear that the West needs to cut its ties with Saudi Arabia, especially military ties, arms exports, weapons, bombs,”

Mehdi Hasan, by termingThe kuffar, the disbelievers, the atheists” as “cattle” has indirectly legitimized their slaughter by the Islamist militants. On the other hand, his bias against Saudi Arabia and Donald Trump evidently proves his loyalty towards terror-patron Iran.  

Mehdi Hasan’s habit of twisting facts:

Recently, a pregnant woman was killed during a rocket attack by mega-terror outfit Hamas. Immediately after this incident, although Palestinian Islamic Jihad in a news item catered by Hamas’ Al Risala news via Telegram said ““A leak from the heroes of the [Islamic Jihad’s] Sarayat al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigades) on the circumstances of the death of the baby Saba Abu ‘Arar indicates that a rocket of the resistance exploded inside the family’s home due to a technical failure, and prematurely exploded.”

It added, “There is a claim that the technical failure was caused by low-grade explosives in the rocket. There is no doubt that the baby’s death has nothing to do with the enemy’s [Israel’s] planes”.

But twisting this fact, Mehdi Hasan, as part of his vendetta, tweeted “A pregnant Palestinian woman and her baby niece were killed in Gaza – do you condemn their deaths and their (Israeli) killers, Senator? If not, why not?” He further tweeted “I see the Israeli army is blaming an alleged Hamas ‘misfire’ in this particular incident. The IDF has a long history of covering up war crimes in Gaza. But even if they’re correct, wider point stands: why are US senators not condemning Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians?”

This is a crude example of mischievous ‘journalism’ of Mehdi Hasan. The reason of his vendetta against Israel is because of its continuous struggle against radical Islamic militancy. This man has the same reason for having grudge against DGFI, because this organization has been effectively confronting religious extremism and militancy.

Clearly, there is a conspiracy against Directorate General of Forces Intelligence and Bangladesh, where notorious nexus of rogue journalists like Mehdi Hasan and ISIS funders like Md. Shahid Uddin Khan would try to mislead people with their concocted stories. Before anyone gives credence to anything this nexus says against Bangladesh, it would be wise to cross-check the past track records of these individuals.

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Damsana Ranadhiran
Damsana Ranadhiran
Damsana Ranadhiran, Special Contributor to Blitz is a security analyst specializing on South Asian affairs.

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