An Indian-origin Islamist activist facing trial on terrorism charges skipped bail and fled the country with his family on Wednesday, headed through Paris to the Islamic State, British media have reported. The escape, first revealed by The Daily Mail, came after Abu Rumaysah failed to surrender his passport, a condition of his bail, and has led to opposition charges of police incompetence.
Born Siddhartha Dhar to a family of Bihar-Bengal origin, Abu Rumaysah was arrested in September along with nine others, on charges of inciting terrorism, as part of an ongoing investigation of the London-based pro-jihadist group al-Muhajiroun, Indian diplomatic sources in London told The Indian Express.
The sources said authorities in the UK had not requested any information on Rumaysah’s links, and there did not appear to be any connection between his radicalisation and his country of origin. They added that there was no record of Rumaysah having visited India in the past several years.
Al-Muhajiroun, led by Bangladesh-origin Islamist Anjem Chowdhuri, has been at the forefront of campaigning for the Islamic State in the UK — mainly in public. Rumaysah, who sources said converted to Islam during his teens and had long been estranged from his family, was a key member of the group and its offshoots, organising roadshows that sought to convert troubled youth to the cause.
It was at one of these that he is believed to have met, and possibly mentored, Michael Adebolajo, who beheaded British soldier Lee Rigby on a London street.
Rumaysah had, several times in the past, offered to renounce his citizenship if he was allowed to travel to the territories in Iraq and Syria now held by the Islamic State. In an interview to the UK’s Channel 4 in August, he said he “would love to live under the Islamic State and under the shariah”.
In a lecture delivered in September, laden with communal invective, Rumaysah praised Adolf Hitler for seeking to crush a purported Jewish conspiracy he described as “this evil thing”. He added that Zionists had “no regard for human life”, citing as evidence the prominence of Jews in the medical profession, which he alleged dispensed drugs which have “adverse side-effects”.
In a November interview to the BBC’s popular ‘60 Minutes’ programme, Rumaysah also defended Muslim vigilante groups charged with attacking women and homosexuals. “I want to see every single woman in this country covered from head to toe,” he said “I want to the see the hand of the thief cut. I want to see adulterers stoned to death.”
Lord Carlile, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, was among several prominent British figures who said he was shocked at the ease with which Rumaysah was able to evade authorities. “Evidence of Mr Rumaysah’s statements at various times show that he wanted to leave the country,” he told the BBC on Wednesday. “So one would have hoped that the authorities were aware of that.”