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 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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Published by Seth Oldmixon on August 9, 2017

Political Normalization of Extremism Poses New Threats In South Asia

In 2005, a popular Hindu nationalist was denied entry to the United States under a section of US law that makes any foreign government official who “was responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom” ineligible for a visa to the United States. Nine years later, that Hindu…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on May 10, 2017

Bangladesh: Ahmadi attack a sign of spreading extremism

A 20-year-old man has been arrested for stabbing Imam Mostafizur Rahman outside his mosque. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the attacker said that he has no affiliation with any party or organization, and that he carried out the attack of his own volition. While it is encouraging that the attack was not orchestrated by a…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on April 19, 2017

Bangladesh Minister Rejects Possibility of Alliance with Religious Extremists

Days after a news report that Bangladesh’s Awami League was looking to make a political alliance with Islamist extremist group Hefazat-e-Islam as a means of diluting the BNP’s Islamist support, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu appeared to shut the door on any such arrangement when he dismissed Hefazat as “political opportunists” and “religious extremists.” In…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on March 30, 2017

Politics Undermines Anti-Militancy Efforts In Bangladesh

Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia has raised questions about the government’s anti-militancy efforts. In a press statement earlier this week, the former Prime Minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson told reporters that, “The sudden rise of militancy in the present sensitive times and the lack of transparency in the anti-militancy drives have raised questions…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on February 10, 2017

Bangladesh’s Risky Gambit

Secular Bangladeshis have expressed concern about a recent government decision to incorporate certain changes to textbooks that appear to Islamisize the public school curriculum. Noting the government’s nominally secular ideology, observers have warned that “a dark political calculation” may be behind the move. At issue is whether the government of Bangladesh, in its attempts to…

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