Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Following jihadist attacks in Sri Lanka, while the entire world is closely checking pros and cons of this notorious incident and the parameter of Islamic State (ISIS) in South Asia, a Bangladeshi man, who has been funding ISIS for years is actively pushing forward his agenda of forming a new jihadist front named ‘Astha’ (Faith) with the violent agenda of unseating democratically elected government and replacing it with Caliphate. Sitting in London, this man, along with his wife and daughters has been openly propagating ‘Astha’ through social media with the active collaboration of terror-network Al Jazeera and few pro-jihadist and anti-Semitic individuals in the West. According to information obtained from the social media account of this ISIS funder, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan has assigned a number of individuals including M. Sajjad Hussain, a man residing in Houston, Texas, United States for preparing the constitution of ‘Astha’, based on Qur’anic rules. Sajjad has been a handler of Pakistani espionage agency Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) for many years.
Md. Shahid Uddin Khan (Army No: BA002428, Course: 8-BMA, Commission Date: 10-06-1983) and his wife and daughter currently are continuing activities sitting in 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.
In 2009, he 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.
According to media reports, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan has been coordinating ISIS activities in a number of South Asian nations including Bangladesh. It was also reported in the media that weeks before the Sri Lanka attacks, Shahid Uddin Khan sent few thousand dollars from Dubai to his jihadist contact in Colombo.
London is the capital of laundered money:
Although last year, Robert Barrington, Executive Director of Transparency International UK in an article said London has become the money laundering capital, no one yet are putting emphasis on even much crucial issues such as, Britain is being already used by some notorious individuals in promoting jihad. The case of Md. Shahid Uddin Khan and his family clearly prove – militancy outfits like Islamic State are using British soil for spreading jihadist activities in the West as well as in the Asian continent.
Due to failure or intentional ignorance of the issue of huge inflow of black money and dirty money into Britain, London truly is now becoming the epicenter of black money. While we know about Jeremy Corbyn’s or many of his party comrade’s direct affiliation with anti-Semitic forces, very surprisingly, dodging the law enforcing and security agencies of the country, the United Kingdom is currently a safe haven for corrupt individuals looking launder the proceeds of their illicit wealth, enjoy a luxury lifestyle and cleanse their reputations. Surprisingly the UK economy sees trillions of pounds flow through it every single year. Inevitably most of this money is corrupt wealth – stolen public funds and bribes – which are given a seal of approval by passing through the UK.
According to media reports, the UK’s professional services industry plays a central role, unwitting and complicit, in this money laundering process. They help make corrupt wealth appear clean before it is invested into the UK or elsewhere.
Before corrupt wealth is laundered through the UK it is often moved through complex corporate structures based in secrecy jurisdictions. This includes the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, such as the British Virgin Islands and Jersey.
There are no public records of companies based in secrecy jurisdictions, which helps conceal the origin of their funds and information about their owners.
Once illicit wealth has been cleansed, the UK offers a range of opportunities for corrupt individuals to enjoy it: high-end property, sports clubs, legitimate businesses, residency visas, expensive cars, yachts, jewellery and art can all be purchased with impunity. At the moment the UK is recovering just a fraction of the corrupt wealth moving through its economy.
With the help of defamation lawyers and public relations experts corrupt individuals can start their life afresh and hide their past crimes. With the help of the UK’s exclusive educational institutions, they can embed their children in society’s élite and mix in the right social groups, gaining valuable access and influence.
Facilitating global corruption comes at a cost, both to the country where it occurs and to the UK.
There already is a call by the Transparency International (TI) for detecting, freezing, and seizing corrupt funds that moved through the UK economy. Britain can apply its existing laws for these purposes.
South Asian nations are prime targets of ISIS:
The latest jihadist attacks in Colombo most definitely showed us the sign of Islamic State’s agenda of targeting South Asian nations, especially those where either Muslims are minorities in the population or where secularist governments are in power. In case of Sri Lanka, the first reason behind rise of jihadism is due to growing conflict between the Muslim and the Sinhalese community. Similar to the large-scale attack in Myanmar, the Islamic State training camp in Sri Lanka has been connected directly to narcoterrorism from Islamic gangs in Bangladesh, supported by jihadists in the Gulf Operation Council. These terror networks are using the money generated from Islamic gangs for purchasing sophisticated weapons, explosives, properties, training and even bribes.
In Rakhine State, Myanmar, the funds for Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) have been coming from the production of Yaba pills, methamphetamines, manufactured there and sold to Islamic gangs inside Bangladesh.
On the other hand, heroin is the main drug in Sri Lanka, exported from the Taliban narcostate in Afghanistan by Islamic gangs in Pakistan linked to the notorious narcoterrorist Dawood Ibrahim, a known resident of Karachi, whose D-Company syndicate also has deep ties throughout India. Bangladeshi nationals have been caught trafficking in Sri Lanka, with the historic heroin seizure in early 2019, where the main suspect was discovered to be operating inside Bangladesh, frequently travelling back and forth between the two countries. In effect, Bangladesh is a key country through which the international distribution of drugs is organized by Islamic gangs to fund terror activities for the Golden Horseshoe Caliphate, further corroborating the theory that Bangladesh will be the political, religious and geographic epicenter of this emerging Caliphate on the Western front, while jihadists in Malaysia and Indonesia are exerting more influence in southern Myanmar, Thailand and countries east of the Malay Peninsula.
During his service in the army, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan had established connections with cross-border smuggling network – both with Bangladesh-India borders as well as Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Now he is using those connections in making quick cash for his jihadist agenda by dealing in narcotics. Moreover, under the garb of readymade garment business, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan and his family are continuing dealing in narcotics in a number of Western nations. It may be mentioned here that, Afghanistan-based heroin producers consider selling this narcotic to the Western nations as part of their ‘holy war’ or jihad. British intelligence agencies never bothered investigating the mystery behind Md. Shahid Uddin Khan’s fabulous wealth in the United Kingdom and how he has been able buying properties worth millions of dollars although he and his family members have been using laundered cash almost openly. Even the British authorities did not investigate as to how Md. Shahid Uddin Khan and his family members are continuing jihadist activities and openly expressing desire of unseating democratically elected government in Bangladesh. Such wrong tendencies of the British authorities may give scope to people for asking – if United Kingdom enthusiastically giving patronization to the formation of another ISIS named – Astha.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the editor of Blitz. Follow him on Twitter at @Salah_Shoaib