This past September, Ashrafuzzaman Khan, an accused former leader of a South Asian death squad, joined a controversial group of American Muslim community leaders to speak out against what has been said to be the hatred of those who practice the religion of Islam. Was this very public showing indeed a sign of strength in opposition to a form of bigotry, or could it have been meant as a brazen message targeted at those who are convinced that Khan should receive justice for past unthinkable acts?
In 1971, as many as three million citizens of Bangladesh were systematically slaughtered at the hands of the Pakistani army in collaboration with Islamist groups linked to the international Muslim Brotherhood. The perpetrators included the paramilitary wing of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), al-Badr.
At the time, al-Badr was led by Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid, the present Secretary General of JI Bangladesh. Mojahid, along with a number of other JI officials, was arrested this past June and is in prison facing charges stemming from his role in the 1971 massacres. According to the International Crimes Tribunal, the legal body that is handling the case, there is evidence which proves that Mojahid and his colleagues are guilty of “genocide and crimes against humanity.”
However, there are those beyond the arrestees that have been implicated in the same crimes. One of them currently resides in Queens, New York. His name: Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman Khan, a.k.a. Ashrafuz Zaman Khan, a.k.a. Ashraf-uz-Zaman Khan.
Khan is the President of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF), a group based in Arizona whose membership consists of the most radical Muslim religious leaders located throughout the United States. The alumni of the group include: Wagdi Ghoneim, a former representative of a Hamas charity who was arrested and deported from the U.S. in November 2004, and Mazen Mokhtar, an al-Qaeda web designer who has made clear statements in support of suicide bombings and Hamas.
Recently, Khan came out of his private dwellings to share the stage with some fellow Islamist leaders in speaking out against, of all things, “Islamophobia,” a term usually used by radical Muslims to squelch the speech of those who speak out against radical Muslims. They did so at the location of the newly planned Ground Zero Mosque, as the structure has encountered much opposition from the community as well as from segments of the media and government.
These leaders included: Nihad Awad, the National Executive Director of the Hamas-related Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Siraj Wahhaj, the National President of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) and a U.S. government named “unindicted co-conspirator” of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; and Muzammil Siddiqi, the Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and an individual who has, in the past, advocated the “killing, enslavement [and] ransoming” of non-Muslim males.
As well as: Mohamad Magid, the National President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a group co-founded by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist Sami al-Arian; Ahmed Elbendary and Mahdi Bray, the two national heads of the Muslim American Society (MAS), a group that has used the internet to spread violence against non-Muslims; and Zahid Bukhari, the National President of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a group connected to the financing of Hamas; amongst others.
One would have to question the reason why Khan would wish to place himself in the spotlight alongside this seedy collection of reprobates, while discussions grow louder about his alleged disreputable history.
During the massacres of 1971, Khan was stationed in Bangladesh as a commander of al-Badr.
At the end of the war, following Bangladeshi liberation, Khan’s diary was recovered from his residence. In it was found a list of names and addresses of several prominent Bengalis targeted as victims in the war, including a number of professors from Dhaka University (DU), where hundreds of students were slain. Lists of individuals marked for death, such as the one discovered in Khan’s diary, were routinely kept by JI and its al-Badr operatives.
Soon, Khan was found guilty in absentia [as he fled the area] by a Bangladesh court for his role in the 1971 atrocities. According to reports, his driver, named Mofizuddin, testified that Khan had personally shot and murdered at least seven of the DU faculty, whose names were found in Khan’s book. This confession led to the recovery of the bodies of those whom Khan is said to have killed.
As stated in the Bangladesh International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973, Section 4, “Any commander or superior officer who orders, permits, acquiesces or participates in the commission of [crimes against humanity or genocide] or is connected with any plans and activities involving the commission of such crimes or who fails or omits to discharge his duty to maintain discipline, or to control or supervise the actions of the persons under his command or his subordinates, whereby such persons or subordinates or any of them commit any such crimes, or who fails to take necessary measures to prevent the commission of such crimes, is guilty of such crimes.”
Khan has been the subject of at least one U.S. investigation seeking to verify the allegations made against him. In a November 2009 article published in the Daily Sangbad of Bangladesh, it was reported that a letter was sent by the U.S. Justice Department to the Bangladesh Home Ministry requesting “all the documents and relevant information” relating to Khan and his participation in the 1971 killings. In the report, Khan is referred to as “chief executioner.”
Apparently none of this has deterred Khan from making his presence known in the United States. In fact, it seems he revels in the spotlight, as his likeness from the “Islamophobia” event was shown prominently on national television.
The Islamic Circle of North America, of which Khan has served as both National Secretary General and National Vice President, placed on its website images from the event with him featured in them, and the Islamic Society of North America did the same in this month’s edition of its publication Horizons.
If Khan is trying to send a message by thrusting himself into the public’s eye, he is doing a great job of it.
And if his accusers are correct, and Ashrafuzzaman Khan was the death squad leader they claim he was, then maybe it’s a job that will finally bring him to justice – behind bars or under the needle.
Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the founder of CAIR Watch. He has been responsible for the closure of at least one terror-related charity and has convinced a number of government officials to shun the Hamas front group, CAIR. In June 2009, he won a lawsuit brought against him by seven Dallas-area radical Muslim organizations.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor assisted with this report.