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News Analysis

Former Pres. of ICNA to be Charged with War Crimes

by: 
Ryan Mauro

Ashrafuzzaman Khan, a former president and secretary-general of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), will be charged with war crimes, according to Mohammad Abdul Hannan Khan, coordinator of the investigation agency of the Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal.

Khan revealed the plans for the indictment during a press briefing October 9. Khan will be charged by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal for his involvement in the torture and execution of 18 political opponents in 1971 during Bangladesh’s fight for independence from Pakistan.

Khan’s associate, Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, a prominent Muslim activist in the United Kingdom, will also be charged for the same crime, as also reported in Britain’s Daily Mail. (Shockingly, Mueen-Uddin is the director of Britain’s National Health Service’s Muslim Spiritual Care Provision.)

The investigation was carried out by the tribunal carried over the course of a year. The prosecution wing of the tribunal says that formal charges will be brought in the next few days, according to a senior official at the tribunal. Investigators say that although dozens of people were killed in the incident, there are only 18 murders that can be confirmed by eye witnesses.

Sanaul Huq, the Inspector-General of Bangladesh's national police force, who is coordinating the tribunal’s investigation said the the victims were chosen because they were prominent members of society – doctors, university professors and journalists. Witnesses to the incident reported that before the executions were carried out, the victims were horrifically tortured.

Speaking to the Mail, Huq said, "They abducted an eye doctor, and then gouged his eyes out before killing him and dumping his body. They abducted a cardiologist and cut out his heart before killing him and dumping his body. They kidnapped a woman journalist, and cut her breasts off before killing her. Her decomposing body was later found with her breasts cut off. These victims were chosen because they were leading figures in the independence movement."

Huq said that all means would be used to bring the accused back to Bangladesh to face the charges, including use of Interpol, diplomatic and legal methods.

Both men belonged to Islami Chhatra Sangha, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist group in Pakistan, when the crimes were allegedly committed. Khan was named as the “chief executioner.” One of the assassination squad’s drivers says he transported Khan to the location where he shot seven teachers.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism first reported in November, 2009 that the U.S. Department of Justice was looking into whether Khan failed to disclose his violent activity in Bangladesh when he applied for citizenship. After Bangladesh became independent, Khan first went to Pakistan, then later moved to Queens, New York to join ICNA.

ICNA’s website says it was established in 1968 with a membership that consisted mostly of “South Asian descent but began formally using its current name in November 1977. Joe Kaufman, chairman of Americans Against Hate, points out that ICNA’s logo is identical to that of Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing.

Internal American Muslim Brotherhood documents identify ICNA as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” They also refer to meetings with “our brothers in ‘ICNA.’”

[ad] There are also indications that ICNA entities may have been used to finance Hamas. Kaufman noticed in August 2006, that Jamaat-e-Islami said it dispatched a delegation from the Al-Khidmat Foundation to deliver a “special message” and about $100,000 to a senior Hamas leader. At that time, the Al-Khidmat Foundation’s top two donors were ICNA Relief USA and ICNA Relief Canada. A third ICNA charity, Helping Hand, was also listed as a donor.

ICNA’s Young Muslim division encourages youth to read extremist Islamist texts. The group’s 2010 handbook instructed Muslims to follow a five-stage process towards creating a “united Islamic state, governed by an elected khalifah (caliphate) in accordance with the laws of shari’ah (Islamic law).” The five stages involved self-education, converting family members, reaching out to the local community, work to “establish an Islamic society” and, ultimately, establishing a global caliphate.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.