The United States’ Treasury Department declared Karnataka-born Mohammad Shafi Armar, who was charged by the National Security Agency for having ties with the Islamic State, a global terrorist. The US State Department, which prohibits any kind of communication with such individuals, also designated Bahraini Mohammed Isa al-Binali, Iraq national Umar al-Kubaysi, and Belgian-Moroccan Oussama Ahmad Atar as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs). Armar alias ‘Unjaan Bhai’ or ‘unknown brother’ as mentioned in the statement, has been leading and recruiting for the Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) and ISIS, an SDGT group, in India. The National Investigative Agency (NIA) in legal documents from 2015 stated Armar’s use of this alias to reach out to Mudabbir Ahmed Sheikh from Mumbai, who has been tried on charges of attempting to create an IS network in India.
Armar’s elder brother, Sultan Abdul Kadir Armar was a founding member of the Indian Mujahideen (IM). He based some key IM members at training camps in Pakistan before moving them on to Raqqa, Syria. He also called on Indian Muslims to join ISIS through propaganda videos. The videos also feature Mohammad Sajid, an IM fugitive, and Maharashtra’s Fahad Tanvir Sheikh, who was one of the four Indian youths who fled to Iraq in 2014 to join ISIS. After Kadir Amar’s death, Mohammad Shafi Armar emerged as a prominent Islamic militant in the 2015 battle of Kobane, Syria. Both brothers were born in Bhatkal, Karnataka and went to Lucknow’s Nadwat-ul-Ullema seminary, notorious for backing the IS, after their high school.
Of the four ‘global terrorists’, Atar, a senior leader in ISIS’s external operations, was behind the November 2015 Paris attacks and March 2016 attacks in Brussels. Senior ISIS member and former member of Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior, Al-Binali has featured in several propaganda videos calling out Bahrainis, especially the security forces to join the terror group. Al-Kubaysi owned a money exchange, Al-Kawthar, which catered the ISIS funds to the tune of $2.5 million between 2015 and 2016.