Published by Seth Oldmixon on March 16, 2017

Pakistan PM’s Misguided Anti-Extremism Strategy

In effort to stem the spread of religious extremism, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, last week called on religious scholars to emphasize the “true” teachings of Islam, which he defined as peace and harmony. While Prime Minister Sharif’s message and intentions are laudable, his strategy suffers from a critical vulnerability. Religious scholars already believe they…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on March 3, 2017

Illegal rally exposes deep roots of religious extremism in Pakistan

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks, Pakistan has reiterated its vow to eliminate extremist militancy. To this end, the country’s military announced the launch of a new operation dubbed “Radd-ul-Fasaad” (Elimination of Discord), designed to remove the “latent threat of terrorism.”  Unfortunately, a recent gathering in the nation’s capital shows that accomplishing the laudable…

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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 January 11, 2017

Pakistan’s Interior Minister’s Disturbing Remarks on Sectarianism

Thousands of Pakistanis have been killed in terrorist attacks carried out by violent sectarian militant groups. In fact, for over fifteen years, more than one hundred Pakistanis have died at the hands of sectarian militants every year. Pakistan’s sectarian militants carry out both mass-casualty attacks such as November’s bombing at the Shah Noori shrine that…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on December 6, 2016

Masroor’s Mixed Messages

The election of Masroor Jhangvi to the Punjab Assembly (PP-78) has caused concern in Pakistan. Mr. Jhangvi is the son of the late Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, founder of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), a sectarian terrorist group that was banned in 2002. In recent days, videos have surfaced of Masroor Jhangvi giving sectarian speeches, a fact…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on November 2, 2016

South Asian Journalists Spread Religious Hatred On Social Media

When we think of religious hatred on social media, we often think of anonymous trolls accounts or extremist ideologues. In South Asia, though, there have been a number of recent incidents in which mainstream journalists have expressed extreme hatred against religious minorities. Jagrati Shukla, a self-described “nationalist” and assistant producer for India’s Zee News recently…

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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 September 7, 2016

Lal Masjid: A Case Study in Pakistan’s Self-Defeating Counter Extremism Strategy

Pakistan has long been accused of playing a “double game” in Afghanistan – supporting international security efforts while also providing direct support for Taliban militants. But it’s not just in Afghanistan that the Pakistani state’s counter-terrorism policies are causing confusion. At home, too, Pakistan appears to be pursuing a self-defeating strategy towards eliminating terrorist groups….

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