The State Department today designated as a terrorist a British ISIS member who once tried to lure recruits to the Islamic State with Western comforts in the “cosmopolitan” caliphate including Snickers, Kit-Kat and “some of the best lattes and cappuccinos around.”
Siddhartha Dhar, aka Abu Rumaysah, who’s close to radical cleric Anjem Choudary and marched in his pro-sharia events, was arrested in Britain in September 2014 — his sixth time — on suspicion of encouraging terrorism.
He jumped bail and fled to the Islamic State with his pregnant wife, who later gave birth to a boy. After the death of “Jihadi John” Mohammed Emwazi, the British black-clad killer in early ISIS execution videos including the murders of American journalists James Foley and Steve Sotloff, Dhar was considered to be his Western-recruiting successor and also a suspected executioner.
In 2015, Dhar wrote an essay defending Jihadi John’s right to behead.
“Take the gloves off, leave the political correctness aside and be totally honest with ourselves. Yes, violence can be justified – bombs, bullets, knives, air strikes etc. are needed for the right enemy and we should not be made to feel ashamed about it,” he wrote then, adding the “identity of Jihadi John is largely irrelevant; he is after all just another soldier following orders.”
Dhar has been interviewed over the years by media outlets ranging from CNN to VICE News and was an in-studio guest on BBC and Al Jazeera, advocating sharia in Britian. He was a regular face — unmasked — at protests vowing the UK would be dominated by Islam.
Dhar was a Hindu who ran a business renting out bounce houses for kids’ parties, a life he left behind when he converted to Islam and fell in with the banned Islamist group al-Muhajiroun.
His flight to the Islamic State was a boon for ISIS: they not only got a Westerner who could speak to potential recruits in Europe and the United States, but one with the clout of having publicly fought for the implementation of sharia in the company of Choudary and on the evening news.
In spring 2015, Dhar penned “A Brief Guide to the Islamic State ,” a 47-page travel guide assuring would-be jihadis they’ll have all the comforts of home and featuring artwork of an ISIS invasion of Israel on the cover.
He called the founding of the Islamic State on June 29, 2014, a “date right up there with 11th September 2001.”
Dhar included an entire chapter on food options in the Islamic State, describing “succulent” shawarma with mayo, “scrumptious” shish kebab, vegetarian options such as falafel on “wholesome flatbread,” and ‘ijaa — “a tempting choice for the bargain hunter” that subs fried eggs for falafel in a sandwich. The pickles “beat anything from your local Tescos or Walmart.” To drink, there were “very popular” fruity cocktails — “you can even spoil yourself by adding milk, sugar and crushed ice” — and “delightful, creamy and fresh” milk. “If you were worried about leaving behind your local Costa Coffee then you will be happy to know that the Caliphate serves some of the best lattes and cappuccinos around.”
For the jihadi sweet tooth, Dhar noted, ISIS ice cream was “fluffy, velvety and sweet” and “Snickers, Kit Kat, Bounty, Twix, Kinder Surprise, Cadburys — yes, yes we have it all.”
But for all the lighter pages about surviving the weather in the Islamic State to their fondness for Kias and Hyundais, or his promotion of ISIS’ renewable energy development or the school system (“There are no classes promoting homosexuality, evolution, music, drama, interfaith and the rest of the rubbish taught in non-Muslim schools”), the guide ended on an ominous note.
“America simply does not have the stomach for the fight ahead, it is too long and difficult,” Dhar wrote. “Diehard followers of Western values will, no doubt, bite their fingertips in rage at this conclusion, but is it really that hard to believe?”
“When we descend on the streets of London, Paris and Washington the taste will be far bitterer, because not only will we spill your blood, but we will also demolish your statues, erase your history and, most painfully, convert your children who will then go on to champion our name and curse their forefathers,” he vowed.
Six months later, 130 were killed in a string of coordinated ISIS attacks across Paris on a busy Friday night.
Dhar is believed to have been the masked executioner in a January 2016 ISIS video in which accused spies were murdered.
Also named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist for the purpose of sanctions was Abdelatif Gaini, a Belgian-Moroccan citizen believed to be fighting for ISIS in the Middle East. Gaini is one of a handful of ISIS jihadists who openly trained at a paintball range in Solihull, UK.
“These designations seek to deny Dhar and Gaini the resources they need to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks,” the State Department said. “Among other consequences, all of Dhar’s and Gaini’s property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them.”