Friday, 27 November 2015

Kashmiri Hindu convert Abu Rumaysah becomes father of one

Indian-Origin ISIS Member Poses With AK-47; Infant on Twitter

Abu Rumaysah, a 31-year-old Indian-origin ISIS suspect, who is fighting in Syria, has posted a picture of him on Twitter posing with an AK-47 rifle and his new born baby.

Rumaysah, born as Siddhartha Dhar, posted the photo on Twitter on Thursday morning, boasting about the fact that his son will grow up in the Islamic State, reports the Independent. Prior to posting the photo, Dhar taunted the police on Twitter for clumsily allowing him to slip through their fingers: ‘What a shoddy security system Britain must have to allow me to breeze through Europe to the Islamic State.’

‘Make hijrah (flight) Muslims. Place your trust in Allah.’ Proclaiming his love for Islamic State and the importance of the fight against the West, Dhar wrote: ‘The Islamic State will punish the tyrants in the West. The army of Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is coming. Rejoice O Muslims.’

In September Dhar was arrested in Britain with eight others on suspicion of encouraging terrorism. He however was released on bail and fled soon afterwards.

Dhar took a bus to Paris with his pregnant wife and four young children and travelled to Syria before joining ISIS.

After declaring his arrival in Syria, the wanted terror suspect made yet another announcement on Twitter - the birth of his baby boy.

"He is another great addition to the Islamic State. And he's definitely not British," the Kashmiri Pandit said about the baby.

Dhar was well known for his desire to join ISIS and declared his feelings openly on television shows.

"Hopefully soon we can join forces to crush the global Crusade against Islam and Muslims in the East and West," Dhar wrote.

In an interview on Channel 4 News earlier this year, the ISIS suspect said he would happily denounce his British citizenship so that he could go to Syria and live in what he called "the Islamic State," under "the Shariah."

"I hope that one day Britain gets to live under the Shariah as well," Dhar added. Back in London, Dhar’s younger sister, Konika Dhar, 27, said she was heartbroken when she saw the Twitter photo on her phone. Konika Dhar still thought of her brother as “Sid,” the stylish British kid who gelled his hair, dated girls, listened to Nirvana and Linkin Park, rooted for the Arsenal soccer team, and loved to watch American action movies.

Konika Dhar
“I think he has actually forgotten Siddhartha Dhar, and he has become this other person,” she said. “I just want my brother to know it doesn’t have to be this way. He really doesn’t have to leave his life. I really miss the children; I can’t imagine not seeing them again.”

His parents were Hindus who had immigrated to London from India when they were children, then created a working-class life in Palmers Green on the city’s northern fringe. They lived in a tiny rowhouse on a busy highway alongside other immigrants from India, Pakistan, Greece and Cyprus. Konika Dhar, a law student, said her family embraced both Hindu and British culture, celebrating Diwali as well as toasting Christmas with Baileys Irish Cream around a decorated tree in their small living room.

“We were just a normal family,” she said, sitting in a coffee shop in their London neighborhood. “Then my dad died.” When their father died at 46, Konika Dhar said, her mother dealt with her grief privately, while she and her sister turned to each other for comfort. Sid Dhar, the middle child and only male in the house, had no man in the family to lean on, his sister said.

“He felt like he needed to be the man of the house, and make decisions then and there,” she said. “He never asked for help. I felt like him being the only boy in the family, he needed guidance, but nobody was there to give it to him.”
She said his grades started suffering, he became more introverted, and over the next two years he barely managed to finish high school. She said he abandoned his dream of going to college and becoming a dentist, and he took a job as a clerk in a Boots pharmacy.

“I feel like it’s a domino effect,” Konika Dhar said. “One incident has an impact on everything else.” Dhar sought support from his closest friend, Mizanur Rahman, a Muslim boy from the neighborhood and the son of immigrants from Bangladesh.

They had met when they were 8 years old and called each other “Sid” and “Midge.” They played basketball and video games together. They were born four days apart, and every year on Dhar’s birthday, Rahman called to ask him what it felt like to be older.

Rahman was growing more deeply religious, inspired largely by the sermons of a fiery preacher he met named Omar Bakri Mohammed. Bakri was one of London’s best-known radical Islamist preachers; he had long been linked to al-Qaeda and in 2004 vowed that Muslims would give the West “a 9/11, day after day after day.”

The Syrian-born Bakri was a driving force behind two extremist groups that were eventually banned by the British government: Hizb ut-Tahrir and al-Muhajiroun. Bakri now lives in exile in Lebanon after he was refused reentry into Britain in 2005 because his presence was deemed “not conducive to the public good.”

When he was still a teenager, more than a decade ago, Rahman said he was “amazed” by Bakri’s sermons and persuaded Dhar to come hear him speak at a mosque near their homes. Rahman said Dhar was deeply moved by Bakri’s rhetoric, and the two spoke endlessly about Islam over the coming months. At home, Konika Dhar watched with sadness as her brother stopped eating his mother’s cooking, because he said he did not want to eat food prepared by a non-Muslim.
Dhar is the number one suspect in the identity of the new Jihadi John

He stopped listening to music and watching TV, and he got rid of his bed and slept on the floor, saying he was trying to emulate the simple life of the prophet Muhammad.

One evening in 2002, when Dhar was 19, he and Rahman went to hear another of the many Bakri sermons they attended. On their way home, Dhar walked past his own house and said he wanted to come to Rahman’s place, just a few doors down. For months Rahman had been urging Dhar to convert to Islam. He said in an interview that Dhar had always found a reason to delay, mainly saying he was worried about what his family would think.

“I was saying, ‘Look, we could all die at any moment, you don’t know when you are going to die, none of us knows the future,’ ” Rahman said, telling Dhar that only Muslims are allowed to join God in paradise. “I told him: ‘If you die now, before you become a Muslim, what are you going to do? There’s no point in delaying.’ ”

They arrived at Rahman’s house at about midnight and sat in the living room.
“Okay, let’s just do it,” Dhar said. With Rahman and his older brother as the two witnesses required in Islamic tradition, Dhar sat on his friend’s couch and said, in the Arabic he had been practicing: “I testify there is none worthy of worship but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” The friends embraced.

With that declaration, he was now a Muslim, and he gave up the name Siddhartha Dhar. He now went by Saif al-Islam, an Arabic name that means “sword of Islam.” At first, Rahman said, Dhar told no one about his conversion. But two weeks later, he was arrested while participating in a pro-Palestinian protest. Rahman said Dhar’s mother came to pick him up at the police station, and that’s when she learned that her son had converted to Islam.

Dhar wanted to start a family with a conservative Muslim wife, so friends arranged for him to meet a young Pakistani-British woman named Aisha, and they quickly married. Konika Dhar said Aisha, who is her brother’s age, is a “quite modern woman, but at the same time has very strong views” about her strict interpretation of Islam. She said Aisha covers herself fully in black so that only her eyes are visible.

They were married in a community hall in London on Nov. 9, 2006, when Dhar was 23. They moved to Walthamstow, an East London neighborhood that had been home to a number of radical Islamists, including several of the men convicted in a failed 2006 plot to bomb transatlantic airliners. Their first child, a daughter named Rumaysah, was born in 2008, and Dhar started calling himself Abu Rumaysah, which means “father of Rumaysah.” Their second child, Usama, was born the following year; Rahman said the name was inspired by Osama bin Laden.

Dhar had wanted his old friend to attend his wedding, but Rahman couldn’t because he was in prison. By then, Rahman and Dhar had been following another radical Islamist leader in London, Anjem Choudary, who was at the forefront of several groups banned by the British government for extremist activities. In February 2006, Rahman, who had adopted the nom de guerre Abu Baraa, gave a speech about cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that had been published in a Danish newspaper, saying that he wanted to see British troops in Iraq “coming home in body bags.” He was convicted of soliciting murder and served two years in prison.

Dhar was also becoming more and more radical and a close lieutenant of Choudary. Rahman said they were motivated by a belief that the British government, along with Washington, was waging war against Muslims in Britain and around the globe. With the rise of the Islamic State in the past couple of years, Dhar became one of the group’s most vocal supporters in Britain, giving media interviews in which he called for the establishment of sharia law in Britain.

“Women need to be covered up, men lashed for fornication, and hands cut off for theft and breaking sharia law,” he said in one interview. In another, he said Islamic law forbade him from loving his mother because she was not Muslim.
Dhar was arrested many times on suspicion of belonging to Islamist groups banned in Britain. Most recently, on Sept. 25, Dhar, Rahman, Choudary and seven others were arrested on charges of belonging to a banned group and “encouraging terrorism.” The men were granted bail.

After his release, Dhar and Aisha, who was pregnant, and their four children under 6 years old apparently took a bus to Dover, crossed the English Channel by ferry, then drove to Paris, where they boarded a flight to Turkey.

In London, Rahman is delighted for his friend and said he has done nothing more than emigrate to a new home.

“He wants to live a better life, in a better place, with real education for his children, with freedoms for himself as a Muslim that he doesn’t have here,” he said. “Ironically, over there, he is far safer than I am here because he is not waiting for the next police raid, he is not waiting for the police to jump on him at any moment and harass him.”

He said that Dhar has no intention of taking up arms to fight and that the Twitter photo with the assault rifle was just a “clever” way to taunt the British authorities. He said Dhar’s most recent job in London was renting out bouncy castles for children’s parties, but he also has experience designing Web sites, so he guessed that he might help the Islamic State with its online presence.
Konika Dhar said her family is devastated by her brother’s choices.

“It’s such a shame,” she said. “Nobody said the right thing at the right time, and now look at what has happened.” She said she hasn’t given up hope that he might return. “I think my brother has become so involved and consumed in this new movement, he has lost sight of what it is to be a Muslim,” she said. “I want him to be back to normal. He would still be welcome in our family, in our house, with his lovely children.”

About 500 British citizens are said to have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS' battle to establish a hardline caliphate.

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