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 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 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 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 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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Published by Seth Oldmixon on September 29, 2015

BNP’s Statement Denying Existence of Extremism Does Not Build Confidence

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leadership were the victims of what could be one of the worst examples of bad timing in recent memory. During a press conference at the party’s Nayapaltan central office on Monday, BNP spokesperson Asaduzzaman Ripon told the media that militancy and extremism do not exist in Bangladesh. “ We (BNP) have…

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Published by Seth Oldmixon on July 28, 2015

“Blasphemy” Politics Threatens Bangladesh’s Democracy

Over the course of the past two decades, over 1,000 Pakistanis – mostly non-Muslims – have faced accusations of blasphemy – a capital crime in their country. So serious are these accusations that at least 50 people accused of blasphemy have been killed in vigilante acts before they ever saw trial. Last year, a mob…

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