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Islamic State magazine publishes essay possibly written by a Canadian

People help an injured person after a group of gunmen attacked a restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. Officials believe Tamim Chowdhury was the architect behind the attack that killed 24 in the name of the Islamic State movement.

Associated Press

A newly published Islamic State propaganda magazine contains an essay apparently written by the late Canadian leader of the terror group's Bangladeshi chapter.

Tamim Chowdhury, a 30-year-old Bangladeshi Canadian from Windsor, Ont., was killed by authorities in his homeland in late August. But before that he appears to have written the official terrorist history of the July 1 attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka.

Five suicide commandos made international headlines by killing more than 20 people at the bakery, including several foreigners, before being gunned down themselves.

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During the chilling attack, the gunmen approached patrons and asked them to recite memorized verses from the Koran. Those who could do so were spared. Those who could not were killed.

Mr. Chowdhury explains the brutal logic of this in his essay.

"During the operation, the knights … did their utmost to distinguish and separate the Muslims from the kuffar (crusaders, pagans, and apostates)," he wrote, adding that "those who proved their Islam were treated with respect and mercy, and those who manifested their kufr [infidelity] were treated with harshness and severity."

The essay's title page bears the name of Tamim Chowdhury, who is thought to have written similar screeds only under noms de guerre in the past. He is described as "the former head of military and covert operations" of the Bangladeshi wing of the Islamic State.

"I don't think there's any reason to doubt that he wrote it," said Amarnath Amarasingam, a Canadian academic who studies foreign fighters and who has blogged about Mr. Chowdhury in the past.

Describing the life stories of each of the five Bangladeshi-born gunmen, Mr. Chowdhury's essay says some were blocked from joining the terror group's core in Syria and Iraq. He does not describe taking part in the Dhaka attack himself.

The English-language essay was published this week in the group's propaganda magazine Rumiyah, an Arabic word that translates as "Rome." The name alludes to the Roman Empire and its antecedents, as well the Islamic State's promise to wage attacks until Western civilization collapses.

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The magazine also claims that IS was behind bombings of several Bangladeshi temples and more than a dozen knife and gun attacks against foreigners.

Before leaving for Bangladesh about three years ago, Mr. Chowdhury spent time with other radicals in Calgary and Windsor. These clusters fell under RCMP investigation after several members joined or sought to join IS chapters overseas.

Some of Mr. Chowdhury's Canadian cohorts were also slain while fighting with IS in Iraq and Syria.

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About the Author
National security reporter

Focusing on Canadian matters during the past decade, Colin Freeze has reported extensively on the interplay between government, police, spy services, and the judiciary. Colin has twice been to Afghanistan to be embedded with the Canadian military. More

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