Washington, January 25 (Agencies): The US State Department on Tuesday designated as a “global terrorist” Siddhartha Dhar, an Indian-origin Islamic militant from the UK, who was originally a Hindu.
Siddhartha Dhar, alias Aby Rumaysah, born in Britain, was a leading member of now-defunct terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun. In late 2014, Dhar left the United Kingdom to travel to Syria to join the militant Islamic State group.
He is considered to have replaced IS executioner Mohammad Emwazi, also known as “Jihadi John”.
The State Department said that Dhar was the masked leader who appeared in a January 2016 IS video, which showed the execution of several IS prisoners accused of spying for the UK.
The department also designated the Belgian-Moroccan Abdelatif Gaini. He is fighting for IS in the Middle East. Gaini is connected to UK-based IS sympathisers Mohamad Ali Ahmed and Humza Ali, who were convicted in the UK in 2016 of terrorism offences.
Besides the confiscating their properties, the designation prohibits US citizens from engaging in any transactions with them and often leads to other governments taking similar actions.
In 2016, a Yazidi teenager, Nihad Barakat, held as a sex slave by ISIS, said that she was kidnapped and trafficked by Siddhartha Dhar, who was then based in Mosul, the group’s Iraqi stronghold.
Dhar, born to Hindu parents in London, converted to Islam to marry his wife, Aisha. He went on to become a campaigner for Sharia laws in the UK.
Dhar was arrested in 2014 for his association with Al Muhajiroun, a now defunct organisation. He was released on bail after which he fled the country defying a travel ban. He is believed to have fled with his wife and kids.
Soon after his escape, he put up a picture of himself holding an AK-47 and his newborn child, mocking the UK for having a security system that allowed to make his way out to Syria. He has been on the radar ever since and is believed to have replaced Mohammad Emwazi, the ISIS executioner. Emwazi is known as ‘Jihadi John’.
Dhar, or Jihadi Sid as he is known now, is believed to be the masked man in the gruesome ISIS video dating back to 2016 which showed the execution of several prisoners that the terror outfit accused of spying for the UK.
Just hours after publicly declaring he had arrived in Syria, Dhar announced he had become a father to a baby boy who was a member of the latest generation of Islamist extremists.
Dhar, a father of four from Walthamstow, was one of nine men who were detained on September 25 on suspicion of encouraging terrorism and supporting radical cleric Anjem Choudary, a British Pakistani, and the banned militant group al-Muhajiroun.
He is believed to have met, and possibly mentored, Michael Adebolajo, one of the murderers of Fusilier Lee Rigby.
Dhar was released on bail and ordered to hand in his passport. But less than 24 hours after walking free, he took a coach from London to Paris and headed to the Islamic State war zone with his young family.
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,” he said .He also boasted how he had fooled MI5, the British intelligence service: ‘My Lord (Allah) made a mockery of British intelligence and surveillance.
‘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.’
Dhar, who has been courted by broadcast media and repeatedly given a platform on the BBC and Channel 4 to promote his radical views, had publicly stated that he wanted to live under the Islamic State in Syria.
A few weeks before his arrest, he told one interviewer that he was willing to renounce his British citizenship if it meant he was allowed to travel.
Dhar was also interviewed by CBS News’s 60 Minutes program about radicalization in the UK earlier this month, telling presenter Clarissa Ward that he was unable to love his mother because she was not a Muslim.
Titled ‘Campaigning for ISIS in the West’, the episode focused on Anjem Choudary’s band of London-based radicals.
He was a key member of al-Muhajiroun and offshoot groups such as the Shariah Project, masterminding ‘roadshows’ in London that aimed to recruit troubled youngsters to Islam.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said last night: ‘Dhar was bailed to a date in January next year with bail conditions. Police are now working to establish his whereabouts.’
Dhar’s sister spoke of how her family had been trying unsuccessfully to contact him since he left the country.
Speaking on the doorstep of her terraced home on the busy North Circular road at Edmonton, north London, she said: ‘We ourselves are trying to reach out to him and haven’t found a route,” she told Daily Mirror.
As she spoke, a second woman, thought to be Dhar’s mother, appeared cradling a baby.
More than 500 Britons are feared to have travelled to Syria, with many joining Islamic State.
Around half are suspected to have returned already.
(The image at the top shows Siddhartha Dhar)