Police in Bangladesh have detained the head of a British-based charity after authorities seized weapons and explosives at the school. Faisal Mostafa runs the Green Crescent charity based out of London. He and an aide are being held for questioning.
Officials are rejecting the claims of Mostafa’s relatives that he was held for a number of day saying that he was arrested in Gazipur on Monday.
Golam Mostafa, father of the man being detained, said his son phoned him last Wednesday saying that he was in detention. The family reported that Mostafa was missing since March 26 to the media. Two days prior to his disappearance the Green Crescent Madrassah and Orphanage had been raided by the police. Mostafa’s location has been unclear since two days after the raid.
Dr. Mostafa, 45, was presented at a press conference in Dhaka on Monday according to the BBC. He has yet to be charged with any crime.
During the raid on the school police found a large cache of guns, bullets and bomb-making materials as well as books on jihad, or holy war. At that time they arrested four employees including a religious teacher.
The BBC reports:
Col Rezaur Rahman Khan of the Rapid Action Battalion told the AFP news agency: “Faisal and the local co-ordinator of the charity were arrested early Monday morning. They are suspected of using the Green Crescent-owned madrassa for militant training and making bombs.”
The school is home to orphans. It opened up just a few months ago in a remote area using funds from the Green Crescent charity.
Earth Times reports:
“We captured Faisal based on confession statements of one of the suspected militants detained earlier from the madrasa (religious school) in Bhola,” Rezanur said.
Bangladesh has had attacks by Islamic radicals at political rallies, courts and cultural venues for the past few years. The government is largely secular which goes against the ideals of those who want strict Islamic rulings.
In the UK the Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, is very concerned about the reports of a weapons cache at the Islamic school. The commission is working with relevant law enforcement and other agencies investigating the allegations of any connection with the Green Crescent charity.
The Daily Star reports:
A spokesman for counter-terrorism think-tank Quilliam Foundation told Mail Online, “If Green Crescent has been involved in militant activity, this will reflect very poorly on the Charity Commission, particularly given that Mostafa, the head of the charity, had previously been put on trial twice for terrorist offences.”
“Ineffectiveness by the Charity Commission in identifying and tackling extremist charities leads to the British taxpayer directly subsiding militancy,” he said.
In November 2008 Mostafa was found guilty in Manchester of possession of dangerous weapons and making a false statement about baggage cargo at the city’s airport.
The Daily Star reports:
Saeed Mahmood of Stockport-based charity Human Appeal International yesterday told Mail Online, “Faisal comes in every few months about mainland projects in Bangladesh. We only work with organisations that are registered with the Charity Commission so we had no idea about these allegations.”
Mostafa’s father says his son is innocent. The Guardian quotes the 73-year-old retired accountant.
“He runs a small orphanage for children aged eight to 11 and a medical centre and he is not a terrorist,” he said.
“The equipment they found is not for bomb-making. He’s a hunter and has a licensed gun. The cartridges are expensive and he makes his own.” He said Faisal had been accused of being a terrorist in the past and had been cleared of all charges by British courts.