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 April 15, 2017

Pakistan People’s Party Seeks Collaboration With Islamists

While Pakistan reels from the spread of religious extremism, the latest example being the murder of a university student by an extremist lynch mob, one of the country’s largest secular parties is looking to make an alliance with a pro-Taliban Islamist party. Earlier this week, former Pakistani president and the head of the Pakistan People’s…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on April 6, 2017

Religious Extremists Continue To Gain Influence in Pakistan

Despite a recent surge in Islamist terrorist attacks in the country, Pakistan’s government continues to court religious extremists, providing them political power that far outsizes their ability to earn votes. Two incidents this week indicate that extremists continue to gain influence in Pakistan. On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, assured a 25-member…

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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 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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