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 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 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 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 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 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 August 5, 2015

Let’s Not Be Fooled By Islamist Public Relations Campaigns

Atif Jalal Ahmad and Michael Kugelman have a new report in The National Interest that examines why the self-described “Islamic State” has been unable to penetrate Bangladesh to the same degree that they have Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their analysis notes a few important factors: “The majority of Bangladesh’s large Muslim population rejects violence, and the…

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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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