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Expert: Narrator, singer in new IS video is Tahmid Shafi

  • Published at 08:58 pm September 26th, 2016
  • Last updated at 09:40 pm September 26th, 2016
Expert: Narrator, singer in new IS video is Tahmid Shafi
[caption id="attachment_18228" align="alignright" width="331"]tahmid Tahmid Rahman Shafi[/caption] He is none other than Tahmid Rahman Shafi or Abu Isha al-Bangali, confirms Tasneem Khalil, a Sweden-based journalist who monitors online activities of jihadists, using some software tools. Once a popular Close-Up star, Shafi also sang a motivational song in the video. Shafi, who worked as a teacher at an English medium school before going missing in mid-2015, and two of his Bangladeshi associates spoke on camera in the first IS video released from Raqqa, Syria on July 6 hailing the Holey Artisan Bakery attack that killed 23 people including 17 foreigners on July 1. While the video created much hype in social media, the trio were identified by their friends and family members, as well as the law enforcers.
Read more: New Islamic State video features Gulshan attackers
The new video was first released on Android app Telegram by Arabic Nashir, the official IS media channel, on Friday and later posted by IS’ Bangla media At-Tamkin. The 15-minute video was produced by “Bilad al-Bengal media office.” Bilad, in this context, means province or region. On Sunday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal reiterated the government’s firm stance against militancy and said that there was no leader of the IS group in Bangladesh. “The video footage has been released as part of a conspiracy against Bangladesh,” he added.
Read more: 'Latest Islamic State video part of conspiracy'
On Monday, journalist Tasneem Khalil posted a video on YouTube, demonstrating how Shafi's voice samples from both the videos matched. [iframe id="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sGI01Dbl_7g"] He used an open source voice recognition software named MARF (Modular Audio Recognition Framework) to compare voice samples and a popular audio software – Audacity – to clip the audio from the videos. He tested three samples to compare the voice of the narrator. The first two samples were voice clips from the new IS Bangla video which were then compared with voice clips from the first IS video stored in the software database. The third sample was the song used in the new video. All the three samples were found to be the voice of Shafi. The youth completed his BBA from Brac University and MBA from the Institute of Business Administration of Dhaka University. He worked for Grameenphone and Mastermind School before he went missing last year.
Read more: His deadliest performance | Into the heart of darkness | 20 killed execution-style
Supporters of the international terrorist group IS claims to have carried out 26 attacks in Bangladesh since September last year killing 45 people including foreigners, non-Muslims and non-Sunnis, and law enforcers. IS propaganda magazine Dabiq and other media claim the group has a covert unit in the country which they want to use as a base to launch attacks in Myanmar and India to avenge persecution on Muslims, and establish Khilafah. Since November, at least 31 supporters including the main coordinator of the Salafist group in Bangladesh, Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, have been killed in raids by commandos, SWAT and counter-terrorism units.
Read more: IS reveals plans for Bangladesh, region | 31 IS ‘supporters’ killed in 10 months
Bangladesh government, however, maintains that the Middle East-based terrorist group has no organisational base in the country, and that the recent targeted attacks were acts of local militants linked to banned outfits Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Ansarullah Bangla Team.
Read more: Dhaka Attack mastermind Tamim killed | Is this the end of Islamic State in Bangladesh?