US IS AWARE OF AL-QAEDA’S BANGLADESH MESSAGE
The US has said it is aware of Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s audio message which has called for jihad against anti-Islam forces in Bangladesh.
A State Department spokesperson told bdnews24.com on Sunday that it rejected al-Qaeda and the use of violence for political purposes.
“Moreover, we reject Zawahiri’s characterisation of Bangladesh, which is a moderate, tolerant Muslim society that rejects the kind of extremism espoused by Al-Qaeda,” added the US government official replying to a query from bdnews24.com.
The audio clip purportedly delivered by Zawahiri was circulating on the Internet since Saturday calling on Muslims in Bangladesh to wage jihad against “the enemies of Islam”, the secularists.
Zawahiri in the recording questioned the creation of Bangladesh and said the country has just not worked out for its citizens.
The Al-Qaeda chief accused the Awami league-led government of killing ‘thousands of people’ during last year’s crackdown on a rally by Hifazat-e Islam at Dhaka’s Motijheel, echoing the claims by the Chittagong-based outfit along with the BNP and the Jamaat.
Speaking in Arabic on the tape released on a website used for militant audios and videos, Zawahiri derided the Bangladesh government for being anti-Islam and secular. The terror outfit’s outrage at the trial of the Jamaat leaders is also palpable.
However, the audio message stirred heated discussions in Parliament on Sunday as several MPs came down hard on Zawahiri, BNP, Hifazat and Jamaat.
Many of them also demanded an investigation to see whether any quarters in Bangladesh were keeping contacts with Al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal did not consider Zawahiri’s call for a jihad in Bangladesh as a threat.
He said, “The countries with such issues (Al-Qaeda activity) usually have locals who support their cause. But our people are with us. They don’t want insurgency, terror and al-Qaeda in this country.”
The junior minister said Bangladesh’s armed forces and law-enforcing agencies had the capacity to counter any militancy threat.
“We have training in counter-terrorism. We are prepared and can combat all forms of threat,” he added.
FEBRUARY 17, 2014