Published by Seth Oldmixon on October 9, 2018

Can an political maverick free BNP from its ties to Jamaat-e-Islami?

Bangladesh’s upcoming elections could reshape the country for a generation Predicting election outcomes is difficult enough in data-rich and stable electorates like the United States. With very little reliable polling data, and a history of at least one military coup roughly every decade, analysts covering Bangladesh’s upcoming elections need to approach the exercise with humility…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on August 9, 2018

Assam: Illegal Immigration and Communal Conspiracy Theories

A controversial “citizen’s registry” compiled in the northeast Indian state of Assam has created a stir in South Asia over concerns that Muslims are being targeted for deportation. Critics compare the move to the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar that has left 800,000 Rohingya Muslims living in refugee camps. Indian officials reject this claim, arguing that…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on July 13, 2018

Critical Mass: Extremists don’t need a majority to fundamentally alter society

With national elections approaching in Pakistan and Bangladesh, there is a lot of talk about whether Islamist candidates stand a viable chance of winning. Typically, Islamist parties do not perform well in either country. In Pakistan, the Muttahida Majlis–e–Amal, a political alliance of Islamist groups, managed to win 53 National Assembly seats in 2002 during…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on July 9, 2018

Jamaat-e-Islami Terror Camps in Bangladesh? New Book May Offer Fresh Insights

Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist group that seeks to transform the world into its imagining of a global Islamist theocracy, is best known for its attempts to exploit democractic norms to advance its agenda. The group, often compared to the Muslim Brotherhood, fields candidates in elections, raises funds through charity fronts, and openly supports international jihad alongside…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on May 4, 2018

How Secularism Protects Religion and Culture

In a recent interview with the Economist, Pakistani politician Imran Khan expressed his support for women, like his wife, who choose to wear a veil that fully covers their face. “The amount of clothes a person wants to wear – how much they want to wear or how little they want to wear – is a…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on March 28, 2018

Jamaat-e-Islami: “Conservative Islamic political party” or violent extremist group?

In a recent op-ed, Toby Cadman, an international lobbyist for Jamaat-e-Islami, suggests that it is a “mischaracterization” to suggest that Jamaat-e-Islami is “an extremist group that is involved in acts of terror,” instead downplaying the group as “a conservative Islamic political party in opposition.” This is an important question, not for only for those who…

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Published by Liberty South Asia on March 6, 2018

Jamaat-e-Islami Social Media Activists Mock Attack on Bangladeshi Professor

The attempted assassination of Bangladeshi professor Zafar Iqbal brought thousands of protests across the country as Bangladeshis nationwide cried out for justice and an end to the violent extremism that has plagued Bangladesh for years. In one positive sign, the government’s  response to the attack has earned praise even from critics. I usually am very…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on February 8, 2018

Echoes of Pakistani Extremism Ring Out In Indian Politics

In her indispensable book, Purifying the Land of the Pure, Farahnaz Ispahani details the tragic history of Pakistan’s descent “into internal violence as the search for Islamic purity set Muslims against non-Muslims, Sunnis against Shiites and Ahmadis, and various Sunni sects against one another.” Today, echoes of this tragedy can be heard ringing out in…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on February 5, 2018

Bangladesh RAB Unleashes New Weapon Against Militancy: Love

Long criticized by human rights organizations for using excessive and extra-legal use of force in its efforts to combat violent extremism, Bangladesh’s premier paramilitary force, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), is trying a new tactic in its fight against militancy: Targeting potential militants’ heartstrings. Last week, RAB released a new TV advertisement that highlights the…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on January 10, 2018

Hefazat-e-Islam flexes its muscle at annual Muslim gathering in Bangladesh

Key parts of Dhaka were brought to a standstill on Wednesday as demonstrators blocked roads in protest of the arrival of a Muslim cleric from India, Maulana Muhammad Saad Kandhalvi. The preacher was traveling to Dhaka to attend the Bishwa Ijtema, a massive annual Muslim prayer meeting in Bangladesh organized by the Tablighi Jamaat, a…

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