The Islamic State claims attacks on foreigners in Dhaka establish its presence in a vast territory stretching from Tunisia to Bangladesh and has rubbished al-Qaida’s leadership of the international jihad, asserting that IS intends to expand till its shade “covers all lands where night and day reach”.
“The Islamic State is here to stay. It is here to stay in Sham and Iraq. It is here to stay in Khurasan and Al Qawqaz (parts of central Asia and Caucasus). And it is here to stay from Tunisia all the way to Bengal even if the murtaddin (heretics) despise such. The Khilafah (Caliphate) will continue to expand further until its shade covers the entire earth, all the lands where the day and night reach,” IS’s online magazine ‘Dabiq’ states.
The alleged successes in Bangladesh – attacks on foreigners and Shia places of worship — are used to buttress the terrorist organization’s claims to being the premier jihadist force leading a unified phalanx of believers. “Moreover, the powerful message of a unified Ummah working under the leadership of the Khalifah, conveyed by these… attacks in a distant region, has once again proven to the arrogant crusader nations that from Tunisia to Bengal, their citizens will never enjoy any peace or security,” the IS claims.
The IS reserves particular contempt for Al Qaida, which it clearly sees as a competitor, and asserts there is no rationale for “independent jihad organizations” as the time has come to unite behind a “single Qurashi Imam” – a reference to IS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and a puritanical tradition that the Khalifah or Caliph must be from the Quraish tribe.
The IS claim, which will be seen as a good deal of bluster but could refer to allied jihadist groups in north Africa and central and south Asia, besides its ‘base’ in Syria-Iraq, comes in an article warning the Awami League government in Bangladesh not to deny IS role in recent murders of foreign citizens.
The IS decries al-Qaida’s claims, stating that Mullah Omar has been dead many years and is dismissive of his “successor Ayman Al Zawahiri”. The IS has mixed up facts here as Omar was chief of the Taliban and though he worked closely with Al Qaida, he never headed it. Al Zawahiri took charge of Al Qaida after the death of Osama bin Laden.
“The mujahideen realized that the unity of the Ummah could only happen through a leader with true authority, not an unwise man in some unknown hiding place releasing outdated video messages with pledges of allegiance to a dead man and scolding others for not doing the same,” the post in Dabiq states.
The post states that soldiers of the caliphate have pledged allegiance to the Khalifah Ibrahim – Al Baghdadi who now controls parts of Iraq and Syria (the so-called Islamic State) – and have united behind a “regional leader” in Bangladesh and will soon escalate attacks. Though it does not say so explicitly, the post hints at a merger of jihadist factions including elements of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, a leading jihadist outfit that meets the IS criteria of Salafist values.