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 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 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 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 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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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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