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 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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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 November 23, 2015

Jamaat-e-Islami, al Qaeda, and Secularism in South Asia

Last year, al Qaeda called for jihad against the government of Bangladesh, accusing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and government of trying to “eliminate every trace of Islam” from the country, and turning Bangladesh into “an Indian outpost.” Al Qaeda called on Islamists to “organize ourselves for a popular and inclusive intifada” to replace Bangladesh’s secular…

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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 August 18, 2015

Jamaat-e-Islami’s Condemnation of Niloy Neel’s Murder Rings Hollow

Following the murder of Bangladeshi blogger Niladri Chottopadhay (alias Niloy Neel) earlier this month, Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (JI) issued a press release condemning the act and blaming the government of Bangladesh for failing to protect the public from “the real killers.” While JI publicly condemns the Niloy Neel’s murder, however, it is ignoring the impact of…

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