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Op-Ed: London terror attack highlights how ISIS has grown in Asia

Op-Ed: London terror attack highlights how ISIS has grown in Asia

After the collapse of the Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, ISIS has attacked the London Bridge, killing two people and wounding three others.  According to the Islamic Theology on Counter-terrorism website, Usma Khan, a British Muslim of Pakistani Kashmiri descent, implemented the terror attack and was apparently part of an ISIS sleeper cell in the UK.  9 other people have been arrested in connection with this terror attack and two of them are of Bangladeshi origin.

The background of the latest ISIS terrorist who targeted the West and that of the other 9 terrorists connected to the terror incident highlights how much the war against ISIS is far from over and that ISIS merely transformed into an underground movement, which can strike terror anywhere in the world.  Furthermore, while the ISIS Caliphate in the Middle East may have fallen, ISIS is now on the ascent in Asia and the recent terror attack in London highlights how this can adversely affect the West.

Earlier this year, ISIS proclaimed that they now have a province in Kashmir.  The name of the ISIS province in Kashmir is Wilayah of Wind.  A few months after that, Foreign Affairs published an article claiming that the number of ISIS fighters, suicide bombers, training programs and propaganda videos originating in Asia have grown steadily.   Nevertheless, despite this, there is a lack of public awareness in the United States regarding the extent to which ISIS has grown in Asia following the collapse of the Caliphate. 

This is why the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka took people by surprise.  And this is also why it is not just a coincidence that the ISIS terrorist who stood behind the London Bridge terror attack was of Pakistani Kashmiri origin.  Since the collapse of the Caliphate, ISIS has been looking for new bases.  Given Hindu-Muslim tensions in the Indian subcontinent, it does appear natural that ISIS would consider the Kashmir region a good place to set up camp and would inspire a Pakistani Kashmiri to implement a terror attack on the London Bridge. 

However, Kashmir is not the only region in Asia that radical Islam has made inroads in.  Recently, four Muslims gang raped and murdered Dr. Priyanka Reddy and then burned her body alive in Hyderabad, India.  While news agencies across the world have reported on this brutal gang rape, not many have publicized the fact that this Hindu woman was a victim of radical Islamist violence and was targeted specifically because she was not Muslim.  She was not merely a victim of India’s rape culture like the American media portrayed her to be.  In fact, radical Muslims have been systematically raping Hindu girls ever since Article 370 on Kashmir was lifted.  Therefore, the gang rape and murder of Priyanka Reddy should be viewed in the framework of this.   Thus, what ISIS did to the Yezidis in Syria and Iraq could also easily happen to Hindus in the Indian subcontinent. 

Shipan Kumer Basu, President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, noted that anti-Hindu violence has been on the ascent recently in Bangladesh.  Many of these attacks are implemented by ISIS and other radical Islamists.  According to the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, following the ISIS Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, ISIS declared a new emir of the Bengal region, otherwise known as Bangladesh.  This was around the same period of time that ISIS declared a new province in Kashmir.   Thus, it could indicate where else in Asia ISIS could potentially expand into.    

Furthermore, Basu noted that the Bangladeshi government is turning a blind eye to ISIS incitement: “Sheikh Hasina permitted two ISIS convicts responsible for the Holy Artisan terror attack to show up in a Dhaka courtroom wearing hats with the ISIS logo on them.   How did one of the most talked about terrorists carry a cap emblazoned with the ISIS logo onto it to a Dhaka courtroom and then proceed to put it on for all to see?  How did the person then continue wearing the cap while surrounded by law enforcers?  And finally, where did the caps come from?  These burning questions were on the minds of everyone in court and on social media.” 

“I urge the international community to save the minorities of Bangladesh from ISIS and its enablers,” Basu proclaimed. “Sheik Hasina seeks to ethnically cleanse Hindus, Buddhists and Christians from Bangladesh and for this reason, turns a blind eye to the approaching ISIS menace. If the international community does not take action, within the next decade, there will be no more minorities in Bangladesh. There is no any alternative except uprooting Sheikh Hasina from power and restoring democracy within Bangladesh.  If the West wants to prevent the next London terror attack, they cannot ignore what happens in Kashmir, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and other areas of Asia.  Therefore, I call upon the world to wake up and smell the coffee before it is too late.”




Rachel Avraham

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights. For 7 years, she has been an Israel-based journalist, specializing in radical Islam, abuses of human rights and minority rights, counter-terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria, Iran, Kurdistan and other issues of importance. Avraham is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media," a ground-breaking book endorsed by Former Israel Consul General Yitzchak Ben Gad and Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara that discusses how the media exploits the life stories of Palestinian female terrorists in order to justify wanton acts of violence. Avraham has an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She received her BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.

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