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Islamist group in Bangladesh tells women to 'stay at home', media to support jihad

PTI 20 Oct 2015, 23:43:29 IST

Dhaka: Police said on Tuesday they were investigating an email sent to various media outlets reportedly by a banned Islamist group in Bangladesh threatening to topple "towering buildings" and telling the media not to run anything that goes against what the mail describes as jihad.

The email sent after a series of deadly attacks targeting moderates and foreigners contains a six-point directive that includes telling women to stay at home.

It urges businesses to fire any female employees, and says that working outside of the home is a "punishable offense" according to Sharia, or Islamic law. It does not elaborate what would constitute appropriate punishment.

The letter is signed by the group Ansarullah Bangla Team, which is allegedly linked with several groups that claimed responsibility for killing four atheist bloggers this year. It threatens to kill more atheist bloggers, naming six in Bangladesh and nine others living abroad to be targeted as soon as they returned to the South Asian country.

It said the list of 15 names is not final, warning that anyone who attempts to degrade Islam would face serious consequences while anyone supporting the atheist bloggers will not "be spared."

Authorities said they were taking the threat seriously and were investigating. "Higher authorities have been informed," Dhaka police spokesman Muntasirul Islam told reporters on Tuesday. The email, received Monday by many Bangladeshi media outlets but not the Associated Press, has renewed concerns about radical forces within Bangladesh.

Since late September, two foreigners an Italian aid worker and a Japanese agricultural worker have been gunned down in daylight attacks five days apart. Responsibility for both of those attacks was claimed by the Sunni radical group Islamic State, but the Bangladesh government rejected those claims along with any suggestion the IS was active in the South Asian country.

The threatening email is signed with the name Abdullah bin Salim, who claims to be an Ansarullah spokesman. Authorities determined it had been sent from a computer in the southeastern district of Chittagong, according to local media that received the email threat including online news service bdnews24.com and the Dhaka Tribune newspaper.