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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Published by Seth Oldmixon on May 20, 2016

BNP’s Commitment to Religious Harmony Requires More Than Words

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Khaleda Zia said today that her party doesn’t believe “in the division of religious minority and majority,” and that the BNP has “always tried to protect religious harmony and the dignity of all religions, and will do so in the days to come.” The BNP leader’s words are welcome, especially…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on May 19, 2016

Bangladesh: Government Reinstates Abused Hindu Headmaster, Embattled JP Lawmaker Supported by Extremists

Bangladesh’s Education Minister has dissolved the management committee of Piyar Sattar Latif High School and reinstated its headmaster, Shyamal Kanti Bhakta, who was beaten and abused following accusations that he had insulted Islam. Additionally, Awami League (AL) lawmakers and others have called for the expulsion from parliament of Salim Osman of the Jatiya Party (JP)…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on April 10, 2016

Liberty South Asia Condemns Bangladesh Minister’s Remarks About Terrorist Murders

The murder of secular activist Mohammad Nazim Uddin by Bangladeshi terrorists is the latest reminder that violent Islamist extremism presents a grave and imminent threat to liberty in South Asia. A member of the anti-extremist Shahbag movement in Bangladesh, Mr. Nazim Uddin was an outspoken critic of both religious extremists and the Government of Bangladesh,…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on March 26, 2016

Islamist Extremists Threaten Jihad In Bangladesh, Western Media Inadvertently Fans the Flames

As Bangladesh’s Supreme Court prepares to take up a 28-year-old petition challenging a military dictator’s decision to insert a state religion into the country’s constitution, radical Islamists have responded by threatening to launch armed jihad against the government if they don’t like the outcome. Leaders of the radical Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam said on Friday that…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on March 10, 2016

Bangladesh: Escaping the Shadow of Pakistan

Continue reading at ForeignPolicy.com Photo credit: MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Published by Seth Oldmixon on November 23, 2015

Jamaat-e-Islami, al Qaeda, and Secularism in South Asia

Last year, al Qaeda called for jihad against the government of Bangladesh, accusing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and government of trying to “eliminate every trace of Islam” from the country, and turning Bangladesh into “an Indian outpost.” Al Qaeda called on Islamists to “organize ourselves for a popular and inclusive intifada” to replace Bangladesh’s secular…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on November 19, 2015

What’s really spreading extremism in Bangladesh?

A leading opposition politician in Bangladesh issued a dire warning earlier this week. BNP Vice Chairman Hafizuddin Ahmed told an audience that, “this country will soon become a militant state if the government doesn’t create a scope for restoration of democracy.” Mr. Ahmed followed this call for democracy by completely unironically calling on his supporters to…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on October 26, 2015

Ashura Attack In Bangladesh Raises Troubling Questions

Unlike Pakistan, which experiences terrorist attacks during Murrham annually (last week, Pakistan suffered multiple mass casualty bombings), Bangladesh does not have a history of sectarian terrorism. That’s why Saturday’s tragic bombing during the Shia holy day of Ashura came as such a shock. As with other recent attacks in Bangladesh, persons claiming to represent the…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on October 14, 2015

ISIS In Bangladesh: Are We Missing the Forest For the Trees?

The killing of Cesare Tavella as he was jogging home from the American International School in Dhaka last month, an act claimed by alleged Islamic State (ISIS) militants, sent shockwaves through the diplomatic corps in Bangladesh. In response, Western Embassies have restricted diplomats’ movements and schools and social clubs frequented by foreigners temporarily closed. A…

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