After many months of having been virtually cornered by Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies through offensives, a number of Islamist groups in the country have recently formed a conglomerate to "give a proper response" with destructive activities throughout the country. According to press reports, the Jihadist group Harkat-Ul-Jihad [HUJI] has aligned itself with other Islamist groups Hizb ut Tahrir, Hizb Ut Towhid, and several other extremist militancy groups. This Jihadist conglomerate has connections with international terror outfits such as Al Qaeda, Lashkar-E-Taiba [LET], Sipahi Sahaba and others; as well as with Kashmiri militant groups and separatist outfits in North-East India.

Bangladeshi authorities have already banned the Harkat-Ul-Jihad and Hizb ut Tahrir; but another Islamist terror outfit, Hizb Ut Towhid, is continuing its activities both inside and outside Bangladesh, although Bangladeshi authorities banned the distribution of its Jihadist and anti-Semitic publications a few weeks ago. Hizb Ut Towhid kingpin, Wazed Khan Panni, alias Selim Panni, is collecting members for his group, which has also created a Female Suicide Squad, being trained to launch offensives primarily in Western countries.

According to Bangladeshi daily Kaler Kantho, a secret meeting of this Jihadist conglomerate took place on May 28, 2010 under the leadership of HUJI leader Moulana Abu Bakr. During the meeting, they decided unanimously that the Jihadist conglomerate will publish a sermon in favor of establishing Sharia law in Bangladesh with the signature of at least one thousand clergymen in the country. They also decided to publish another document, signed by Taliban kingpin Mullah Omar, in which he instructs Jihad [holy war] to be waged in Bangladesh to stage an "Islamic revolution," and that the signed sermon of Mullah Omar has already been obtained by Bangladeshi Jihadist leaders.

Other sources confirmed that the Iranian embassy in Bangladesh, as well as representatives of PLO, are closely coordinating and patronizing these activities inside the country. Kaler Kantho further published that, a three-member delegation of Jihadist conglomerates are already in Afghanistan, with specific instructions from Taliban and Al Qaeda kingpins that are to be implemented right before beginning the Jihad in Bangladesh.

"We are set to wage war for establishment of Sharia rule in Bangladesh," a member of the Jihadist conglomerate stated in an interview in Kaler Kantho. "We wanted to come into open politics. But none of the governments ever gave us the chance to do so. We have thousands of trained Jihadists in our conglomerate, and we never care about our lives. We want to stage an Islamic revolution in Bangladesh, and we shall succeed."

Sources confirmed that this Jihadist conglomerate will target secular institutions and individuals in Bangladesh, anti-Jihadist people and organizations are also on its hit-list.

HUJI started its journey in 1988 with repatriated Jihadists from Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, under the direct patronage of a number of countries, including Iran, Palestine and Pakistan. One of the top kingpins of this group, Pakistani national Saifullah Akhar, was a commander in the Afghan battleground. Bangladesh national, Abdur Rahman Faruki, who also was a commander in the Afghan battleground, was assigned as the leader of HUJI in Bangladesh. When Faruki was killed in a mine blast on May 11 1989, another Bangladeshi national, Mufti Shafiqur Rahman, became the head of HUJI activities in the country. This group spent almost six years preparing and training secretly, and on April 30, 1993, it declared its existence in Bangladesh at a press conference organized at National Press Club in Dhaka.

The initial task of HUJI was to recruit Jihadists from Qawmi [Koranic] Madrassas in the country to send to Afghanistan and the Palestinian terrirories. After the end of Afghan war, HUJI started sending Jihadist recruits to Myanmar to have them trained by terror outfits operated by Arakan and Rohingya Muslims, some of whoise commanders even came to Bangladesh to secretly train local Jihadists there. On February 19, 1996, a group of Jihadists, along with Myanmar commanders and huge amount of arms and explosives, were arrested by Bangladeshi law enforcment agencies at the Chittagong Hill Tract area. Subsequently, Bangladeshi authorities received evidence of Myanmar terrorists providing training to local Jihadists recruited by HUJI. According to various reports, presently more than 15,000 well-trained Jihadists belonging to HUJI are hiding in various parts of Bangladesh. The figure would be much higher if the number of Jihadists under Hizb ut Tahrir, Hizb Ut Towhid and others could be determined.

Several Islamist politicians in Bangladesh are giving silent assistance to these Jihadist groups and the conglomerate, which publishes a Jihadist monthly newspaper, Rahmat [Blessings], in the local dialect under the active patronage of a leader of an Islamist political party.

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