“Our directives will be the law for you from today. The consequences will be severe if you do not walk the path of Islam. Towering buildings will crumble to the ground, your heads will roll at the feet of the soldiers of Islam,” reads the letter.
The message claims that, according to the Sharia, it is a punishable offence for women to work outside home, and has demanded the sacking of women media workers.
The mail, sent to bdnews24.com and other leading media offices, bears the email ID email@example.com.
The address at the top of the letter says it is from the Ansarullah Bangla Team, main office, Chittagong, Bangladesh. The sender is one Abdullah bin Salim, publicity coordinator, Ansarullah Bangla Team.
Alleging anti-Islam campaign in the social media, the letter has also issued death threats to certain bloggers it has named.
“No one will be spared if you support atheists. If your freedom of expression breaks the limit we have set, every news media unit should be prepared to face [the consequences] of our freedom to vent our anger,” says the mail.
“Since the Islamic Sharia holds the working of women outside home and their movements without the ‘purdah’ as punishable offence, those employing them are equally guilty,” says the mail, justifying its fiat for the sacking of female employees.
“We are appealing to the entire media to release women from their jobs,” says the mail.
Towards the end, the letter says: “Tens of thousands of our fighters are preparing themselves in every corner of this holy land of Islam. Our preparations are in their final stages. We will jump into the fray any day to establish the Caliphate.”
Naming nine bloggers living abroad and six in the country, the emailed letter says: “Those living in foreign countries will be killed once they return and those hiding inside will be hacked the moment the opportunity arises.”
The mail said there was no specific hit list.
But it warned: “Anyone who raises questions about or says derogatory things about Allah, Nabi, Rasul, Sahabi, Olamaye keram, and Momins on Facebook, blogs or any other medium will be executed by us, sent as Azrael by Rabbul Alamin. The brave fighters of Islam will kill them at the first opportunity.”
“Everyone is being warned against succumbing to provocations by atheists in the country and those hiding abroad. Otherwise, their fate will be like that of Niloy Neel, Oyasiqur Babu, Avijit Roy etc. Not a single atheist will be spared. Killing them is ‘wajib’ as ordained by Allah Rasul.”
Deputy Commissioner (Media) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Muntasirul Islam told bdnews24.com, “We have learnt of the email sent by Ansarullah Bangla Team to media establishments. The higher authorities have been informed.
“We are looking into the matter and trying to ascertain who are behind this and place from where it has been sent.”
The recent killing of two foreign nationals and the Islamic State’s reported owning of responsibility have given rise to international worries about the rise of militancy in Bangladesh.
But the government has dismissed the report, saying there is no activity of the IS or similar groups in Bangladesh.
However, police claim the Ansarullah Bangla Team’s involvement in the murder of four bloggers in less than a year.
Threat messages in the name of the Ansarullah Bangla Team had been sent to the news media earlier also.