Bangladesh looks into Al Qaeda threat

Dhaka, Feb 17: Bangladesh said Sunday it will look into the recent “Al Qaeda threat” to wage an intifada in the country that sparked a war of words among political parties.

Officials say the government’s relevant authorities are now investigating the authenticity of the audio message by Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, Xinhua reported.

“We’re not worried by such threats or calls and we’ll resist it,” Bangladeshi State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam told journalists.

Bangladeshi State Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said the country has ample strength to counter any militancy threat.

“We’re investigating the authenticity of the audio message by Al Qaeda chief. We’re in a position to combat all forms of threat,” he said.

The audiovisual message purported to be from Al Qaeda chief has made a plea to Muslims in Bangladesh to wage an intifada (uprising) to confront the “crusader onslaught against Islam”.

Posted on in the middle of January this year, the message alleged thousands of people were being killed in the streets of Bangladesh for protesting the “collusion of the anti-Islam secular government with a bunch of transgressing secularists”.

The ruling and the opposition parties in Bangladesh, however, engaged in a blame game over the threat, which sparked a huge uproar in Bangladesh after almost all the leading local media published the news with due importance Sunday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party pointed its finger at the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its key ally Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, saying they are friends of the global terror network.

“BNP and Jamaat are allies of Al Qaeda,” Senior AL leader Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim said in parliament.

Quoting the US magazine Time, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury also told parliament that the Al Qaeda chief visited Bangladesh thrice between 2001 and 2006 “under the supervision of BNP and Jamaat when they were in power.”

Jamaat has denied the allegation.