Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent took credit for the brutal murder of a critic of Islam, detailing his secular “crimes” in a statement warning that the assassinations will continue.
Nazimuddin Samad, 28, a law student at Jagannath University, was walking down a Dhaka street with a friend on Wednesday evening when a trio of men approached on a motorbike and attacked him with machetes, police said. As Samad lay on the ground, his attackers shot him before fleeing.
Police said witnesses reported hearing the killers shout “Allahu Akbar.” They said Samad had recently moved to Dhaka to begin his law studies, and he was likely on a hit list before that.
It was the sixth such assassination of a critic of Islam in Bangladesh since February 2015.
Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh issued a pair of statements on their Twitter feed taking credit for Samad’s murder — with a digital signature to verify attachment to al-Qaeda — and a warning of who will be next.
They praised the operation to “slaughter” Samad, “who committed blasphemy against our beloved prophet.”
“We, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the honor of the messenger of Allah,” the statement continues, alleging Samad “used to abuse the religion of Islam… in a vile and obscene manner.”
AQIS justified the murder by bullet-pointing three “examples of his crimes”: an August 2013 Facebook post with “very obscene language” that “slandered our beloved prophet,” an April 2015 “parody of an ayah [verse] of the Holy Quran in the Facebook,” and an April 2015 “mock” of Allah on Facebook.
“Our mujahidin brothers have paid this atheist with appropriate requital whose words were a constant cause of bleeding in the hearts of the believers,” the terrorists wrote. “This operation was conducted to teach a lesson to the blasphemers of this land whose poisonous tongues are constantly abusing Allah, the religion of Islam and the Messenger under the pretext of so-called ‘freedom of speech.'”
“O enemies of Allah… you have been experiencing the outcome of your vile acts for last few years. Hasn’t the time come yet for you to ask yourselves questions? Will you not take heed from the fate of your imbecile comrades?”
AQIS adds: “If it is part of your freedom of speech to defame Muhammad, then it is part of our religion to fight you.”
The “who’s next” warning largely mirrors assassination guidelines previously issued by the group.
They claimed Saturday that they’re “not targeting every atheist blogger,” but “will not tolerate anyone insulting prophet Muhammad.”
Those “who protect, help and support the above mentioned insulters financially, ideologically or through organizations” are also targets, which could include free-speech and press-freedom groups that have urged safe havens for the targeted bloggers and a better response to the murders from the Bangladesh government.
Additionally, “those who don’t allow others to follow the rulings of the Islamic Shariah,” including teachers, political leaders, judges, doctors, etc., are named as targets, as well as “those who intentionally misrepresent Islam in their writing or talks in order to take the Muslim community away from Islam which is one of the major agendas of the Crusaders,” including writers, “so-called intellectuals,” newspaper editors, actors, producers, poets and journalists.
“Those who oppose the Islamic Shariah by their talks or writings or show insolence towards it or insult it” are also named as targets, as are “those who are engaged in spreading nudity, obscenity and shamefulness in the Muslim society.”
The al-Qaeda chapter claims it won’t target “innocent Hindus-Buddhists-Christians who don’t have enmity with Islam.”