Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Isil, detention and enforced disappearances

Samiun Rahman, outside court in Dhaka
It is difficult to judge the credibility of the allegation made by Bangladesh detective branch officers - that Samiun Rahman is a jihadist recruiter who came to Bangladesh to recruit fighters for ISIL.

Rahman admitted to me that he had spent time in Syria at the end of last year (supported by his passport stamps) and clearly this does raise legitimate suspicions. He, however, says that he went for 'humanitarian' purposes and was not involved in militant activity. Whilst it is true that some people have gone to Syria for that reason alone, one should be mindful that humanitarian aid may well have become a useful excuse for others to hide their jihadism behind. 

Rahman also said that when he returned to the UK from Syria, he was questioned for five hours before being let into the country - by which he was suggesting that if the UK police really thought he was a jihadist, he would have been arrested at that time. However, there could have been many reasons - other than the police accepting his version of what he did in Syria - as to why the police took no action against him.

However, this blogpost is not about whether Rahman is or isn't a jihadist recruiter.