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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Published by Seth Oldmixon on January 23, 2017

Concerns as Islamists Rewrite Textbooks in Bangladesh

Intellectuals in Pakistan have long lamented the role of textbooks in radicalizing society. Today, similar concerns are being raised in Bangladesh. According to a new report in the New York Times, government produced textbooks are being rewritten under the guidance of extremist groups like Hefazat-e-Islam. “We went to the higher-ups in the government,” Mufti Fayez…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on January 17, 2017

Islami Bank Ltd Embraces Religious Diversity, But Only So Far

Last week, Islami Bank Ltd. announced that it was revising it’s recruitment policies to ensure hires were based on merit “irrespective of religion, caste and creed,” and that “more female employees will be recruited for women empowerment.” It’s a move that should be applauded: Islami Bank Ltd. is Bangladesh’s largest bank whose leadership has been…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on October 17, 2016

Jamaat-e-Islami leader urges supporters to use violence to end ‘heathen Western civilization’

In 2005, Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali addressed an assembly of Islami Chhatra Shibir, Jamaat’s “student wing,” during which he predicted the re-establishment of an Islamist Caliphate (Khilafat Ala Minhaj e Nabuwat) and called on Chhatra Shibir members to be frontline soldiers in bringing about the end of “heathen Western civilization.” During his speech,…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on July 26, 2016

Battle for the Soul of a Nation

The terrorist attack at Holey Bakery in Dhaka earlier this month deviated in important ways from the previous trend of assassination-style attacks against specific individuals in Bangladesh. The perpetrators targeted a group of random individuals, prolonged the attack to maximize media exposure, and engaged in an attack that provided little hope of escape. However, these…

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Published by Liberty South Asia on June 26, 2016

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami: Jews are “enemy of humanity”

Acting Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Shafiqur Rahman, issued an official statement claiming that “Jews are the enemy of humanity” and called on the global community to “to express hatred for Israel and to undertake due measures.” The Jamaat-e-Islami leader was responding to a conspiracy theory repeated by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas alleging that an…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on June 6, 2016

To Save Bangladesh, Political Parties Must Return to the Country’s Founding Principles

In declaring independence from Pakistan, Bangladesh sought to leave behind the country’s long history of ethnic and provincial discrimination. It also sought to dispel the radical Islamist ideology that has driven Pakistan so far from the pluralistic vision of its founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In 1972, Bangladeshis enshrined in their founding constitution the principles of…

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