Counterterrorism and transnational crime authorities in Bangladesh interrogated relatives of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL)-affiliated terrorists who set off a “pipe bomb” in the New York City subway on Tuesday.
Counterterrorism and transnational crime agents in Bangladesh have reportedly interrogated Ullah’s uncle, wife, and her parents.
As recent as September 18, Ullah reportedly visited his wife and six-month-old boy in Bangladesh, home to ISIS and other jihadist groups, and left October 22.
In Bangladesh, the Daily Star reports:
[A] team of [Bangladeshi] Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit of DMP picked up Akayed’s wife Jannatul Ferdous Jui, father-in-law Julfikar Haidar and mother-in-law Mahfuza Akhtar from their residence on Moneshwar Road in Jigatala area around 3:00 pm [Tuesday], police said.
They were taken to the office of Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit on Minto Road and questioned for several hours to know detail about Akayed, Additional Deputy Commissioner Saiful Islam of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) told The Daily Star.
Police also interrogated Ullah’s uncle Joynal Abedin, 75, at Sandwip Police Station in Bangladesh’s Chittagong city to find out more information about the suspect.
Authorities have reportedly already released Ullah’s relatives.
An unidentified cousin told the Guardian he was shocked Ullah triggered a homemade pipe bomb strapped to his body at a New York City subway’s underground area during rush hour Monday.
He claimed, “The families had only maintained intermittent contact since Ullah moved to the U.S.”
In the United States, Ullah’s family has condemned law enforcement’s response to the attack, reportedly saying through Albert Fox Cahn, the legal director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in New York, that they are “outraged by the behavior of law enforcement” following the bombing.
“These are not the sorts of actions we expect from our justice system,” added Cahn, speaking on behalf of Ullah’s relatives.
Specifically, the family members have blasted law enforcement’s interrogations, reports NBC News, adding, “The family of Akayed Ullah claimed officers forced a 4-year-old girl in the cold and pulled another teenage relative from his high school class and interrogated him without a parent, guardian or attorney present.”
The terrorist’s family did express sympathy for the suffering the attack has caused.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Ullah entered the United States on a family immigrant visa in 2011, ultimately becoming “a Lawful Permanent Resident from Bangladesh who benefited from extended family chain migration.”
ISIS and al-Qaeda have been active in Bangladesh in recent years.
Early this year, the U.S. State Department reported, “Bangladesh experienced a significant increase in terrorist activity in 2016. Transnational groups such as ISIS and AQIS [al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent] claimed several attacks targeting foreigners, religious minorities, police, secular bloggers, and publishers.”
Many of the recent attacks involved machete-wielding jihadists carrying out heinous murders.
The Daily Star reports:
Analysts say the Muslim-majority country of 160 million people has seen an upsurge in jihadist activity in the past five years, blaming factors including the expansion of conservative Islamic institutions funded by Gulf donors and a bulging population of young men without fruitful employment or education prospects.
Policymakers have also been accused of indulging hardline Muslim sentiment for political gain, including by suggesting some victims of machete attacks had been “insulting Islam.”
Abul Khair Nadim, chairman of the local union in Ullah’s birthplace in Bangladesh, told the Guardian there were no indications Ullah was planning to engage in any terrorist acts.
“We don’t think that he was involved in any nefarious activity in the island. He has some distant relatives in the island. But they do not know much about Akayed,” he said.
The Guardian learned from Shameem Ahsan, the consul general of Bangladesh in New York, that “Ullah lived with his mother, sister and two brothers in Brooklyn and was a green card holder.”
Ullah was born in the Musapur village of Bangladesh’s Sandwip island near the city of Chittagong.
The terrorist reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS.