Tamim Chowdhury, known as Shaykh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif, was recently profiled in ISIS’s magazine Dabiq as a fearless commander of a growing threat in South Asia. Chowdhury referred to Hinduism in Dabiq as “a filthy cow worshiping religion” and vowed to “slaughter” non-believers throughout Bangladesh.
On June 7, Chowdhury made good on his promise when his followers hacked to death a Hindu priest on his way to worship in rural Bangladesh. The priest, Anando Gopal Ganguly, was riding on his bicycle to his Temple when three men came up behind him on a motorcycle. A Bangladeshi police spokesman told The New York Times the terrorists slit his throat so deeply he was nearly beheaded. An ISIS statement claiming responsibility said “The knives of the mujahedin will continue to cleanse Bangladesh from the filth of the polytheists and apostates.”
The Bangladeshi terrorists have been implicated in over two dozen murders throughout Bangladesh targeting religious minorities or foreigners. The recent uptick in murders and profiling of Chowdhury in its magazine may indicate the intention to officially declare an Islamic “state” in Bangladesh. The Institute for the Study of War recently noted, “ISIS is likely preparing to launch new affiliates in Bangladesh.”
Chowdhury’s transformation to vicious killer surprised many who knew him in his hometown of Windsor, Canada. A researcher focusing on foreign fighters at the University of Waterloo in Canada told Vice News, “The few people who knew him said he just kind of hung around the mosque in Windsor, was a skinny guy, was a shy kid.”
The researcher suspects Chowdhury was radicalized by two Canadian Islamic State fighters he encountered in 2013. The Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service estimates approximately 160 Canadians have traveled abroad to join ISIS.
Despite Chowdhury’s claims and profile in the magazine the Bangladeshi government has continued to deny ISIS is operating in the country. Chowdhury claimed in his Dabiq magazine profile Bangladesh would become a terrorist nexus from which attacks would be launched on India, Pakistan and Myanmar.
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