Abdur Rahman, one of the original signatories of Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa declaring war against the West, is arrested; CNN obscures his ties to al Qaeda
In late January, reports indicated Indian police arrested Sheikh Abdur Rahman, the spiritual and ideological leader of terrorist groups Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), in the province of Bengal. The reports were incorrect. While the January reports turned out to be incorrect, Bangladeshi police announce that Abdur Rahman has been arrested after a 30 hour standoff between police at his hideout in the city of Sylhet.
The Bangladeshi newspaper Independent reports on the standoff and capture of Rahman, which included “repeated warnings over loud speakers and spraying of water and tear gas shells by armed commandos.” Rahman’s family surrendered, “But the supremo of militant group Jamatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) who is said to have exchanged hot words with the approaching RAB commandos, refused to surrender and threatened to blow himself up with explosives strapped around his body, did not come out the house till late in the day.” It seems Rahman believes suicide in the cause for jihad is only appropriate for the foot soldiers.
CNN irresponsibly obscures Rahman’s ties to al Qaeda, “According to the security official, Bangladeshi security forces have been searching for Rahman since August and believe that he has ties with al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.” The fact is Rahman is intricately tied to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, as reported here last January; “Abdur Rahman is not your run-of-the-mill local Islamist terrorist leader. Rahman is one of the select signatories to the 1998 fatwa that created the International Islamic Front, the umbrella group of Islamist terrorist groups that declared war on the West. The signatories include: Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri [amir of the Jihad Group in Egypt and second in command of al Qaeda], Abu-Yasir Rifa’i Ahmad Taha [amir of the Egyptian Islamic Group] and Mir Hamzah [secretary of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan].” Thomas Joscelyn dissects the 1998 fatwa and explains its importance in light of events in today’s fight against al Qaeda.
While Rahman’s capture is a high profile arrest and a defeat for al Qaeda, Grim warns his arrest could lead to the destabilization of Bangladesh, as the opposing political parties of the Awami League and Jamaat-e-Islami descend into destructive political fighting, strikes, the crippling of Bangladesh’s nascent democracy, and the creation of a failed state in which al Qaeda can flourish. The Awami League believes Jamaat-e-Islami and the government are behind the terrorism in Bangladesh, while “J-e-I and [Industries Minister] Nizami have maintained that really, it is Indian and Israeli intelligence behind the terrorist campaign.”