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Thread: Bangladesh: Secular - v- Islamist?

  1. #21
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    After the 1971 Liberation war of Bangladesh, the governments of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh reached a tripartite agreement. One of the despicable results of this was the granting of clemency to some of the worst perpetrators of crimes against humanity in the last millennium. Some Bengali collaborators of the Pakistan forces indulged in mass-murders and rapes that have few parallels in recent memory. They have never faced the judicial process, until now.

    The International War Crimes tribunal in Bangladesh has been pursuing some of the biggest leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Razakar, Al-Shams and Al-Badr militia — a process that has stupendous public support. One of the most hated of these characters, Kader Mollah, has been handed a life sentence and not a death sentence. This resulted in a protest assembly started by a bloggers and online activist network that was quickly joined by progressive and left-wing student organisations.
    http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/col...namics_1803256

  2. #22
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22418379

    Riot police battle Islamists in Dhaka Bangladesh

    Up to half a million protesters gathered in the city, where rioters set fire to shops and vehicles as police fought to contain them.

    Thousands of activists from Hefajat-e-Islam blocked highways, isolating Dhaka from other parts of the country.

    They are calling for those who insult Islam to face the death penalty.
    Clearly our stale approach of man hunting individuals is not the way to fight this war. We focus on the trees while the forest consumes us. It is past time for the free world to rise up and stop apologizing to the Islamists.

    http://www.sacw.net/article4445.html

    Bangladesh has seldom experienced brute violence of this scale. Several parts in downtown Dhaka now resemble a burned-out and looted zone.
    Thousands of radical Hefajat-e Islam men, instigated and bolstered by Jamaat-Shibir activists, exploded into an awe-striking force and set fire to hundreds of shops and police outposts as the evening descended.
    Dhaka’s night skyline turned orange, as flames leaped from burning establishments after power supply was cut off. The Hefajat men forced into a parking lot at Dilkusha area and torched at least 50 government buses.
    The affected areas were rocked with loud explosion of bombs thrown by Hefajat and Jamaat men, while police rained thousands of teargas shells and rubber bullets on the marauding Islamists.
    There are multiple issues that offend these clowns, but the major one is they don't have the intellect to challenge what they see as offenses to their perverted interpretation of Islam, so like spoiled children they call for the death of the alleged insulters. It is time to stop tolerating this, they need to be treated like the common criminals they are. Keep the truth coming, if they want to fight then fight them. Don't become another Taliban like state.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2...413485449.html

    Hefazat, a newly created radical religious group, is demanding the death penalty for all those who defame Islam.

    It said it held the mass protest to push a 13-point list of demands which also include a ban on men and women mixing freely together and the restoration of pledges to Allah in the constitution
    .

    Critics have branded Hefazat's demands as a charter for turning Bangladesh into a country like Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

    Women workers including female garment labourers have vented their anger at the group's call to segregate the sexes.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2...-jihad/100487/

    These European women, who have more sack than most of their male politicians, are calling a spade a spade and taking action based on an incident in Tunisia. Hopefully women will unite globally and address the larger issues and force our politicians to stop apologizing to some of the world's worst oppressors. This should be the beginning of the end for Islamists.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2...-jihad/100487/

    Femen Stages a 'Topless Jihad'

    Earlier today, members of Ukrainian feminist group Femen staged protests across Europe as they called for a "topless jihad." The demonstrations were in support of a young Tunisian activist named Amina Tyler. Last month, Tyler posted naked images of herself online, with the words "I own my body; it's not the source of anyone's honor" written on her bare chest. The head of Tunisia's "Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice," reportedly called for Tyler to be stoned to death for her putatively obscene actions, lest they lead to an epidemic. Tyler has since gone quiet, leading some to fear for her safety. Below are images from Femen's protests today in Sweden, Italy, Ukraine, Belgium, and France. A warning, nearly every photo depicts nudity, and most contain offensive language. [31 photos]
    Note the warning, the last link does have pictures of topless women protesting Islamists. God bless them.

  3. #23
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    This might be totally unrelated, but ideology is dead & the two most successful social movements among the World's urban poor are Conservative Islam & Pentecostalism.

    The first makes all the news headlines, while the second does not.

    Trust me, I come from Nigeria (land of Boko Haram), the narrative of conservative Islam resonates with the urban poor & there is nothing middle class secularists have that can rival it.

    We've seen it in Egypt, Iraq, Syria - virtually anywhere with a large number of poor Muslims. That is the reality - and it is scary.

  4. #24
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    Bangladesh bans visas for Pakistanis putting trade ties in danger

    “Yes, the Dhaka has placed the ban on issuance of its visas to Pakistanis on account of the allegations according to which Pakistan is sending some elements in the disguise of businessmen, journalists, intellectuals who are found in abetting the sentiments of Jihad in Bangladesh,” a senior official at commerce ministry confided to Pakistan Observer.......

    The sources said that Bangladesh took this decision just because of the perpetual penetration of some people which are playing unscrupulous role in fomenting the sentiment of Bangladeshi masses for Jihad putting the peace of the country at stake. “They are also involved in objectionable activities which are against the interests of the country,” the official told quoting the concerns of Bangladesh.
    http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=207014

  5. #25
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    Default Is Bangladesh spiralling out of control?

    An article on 'Open Democracy' that offers a different, non-MSM viewpoint on recent events and opens with:
    On May 5th an anti-government protest took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, followed by an overnight sit-in. It was met with extreme brutality by the government's security forces. Organised by Hefazat-e-Islam (Protection of Islam), an apolitical group drawn from the independent conservative religious establishment, the rally was a response to, and in some ways mirrored, the Shahbag spectacle that began in February. The latter provoked the ire of the religious establishment when some of its leaders were accused of defaming Islam, the faith of up to 90% of their fellow citizens. Despite a state clamp down on media coverage, and the government’s denial of casualties, evidence of a massacre on May 5th has emerged. The ruthless violence that met the demonstration raises serious concerns for Bangladesh's moderate image and future.
    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensec...out-of-control
    davidbfpo

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    Bangladesh opposition clean sweeps key city elections

    The centre-right Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) won by big margins in the major cities of Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi and Barisal, Election Commission spokesman S.M. Asaduzzaman told AFP.......

    Analysts said the results reflected a nationwide erosion of support for the ruling Awami League party six months ahead of general elections, while the growing influence of Islamists who backed the BNP after their traditional parties did not contest contributed to the huge margins of victory......

    “Many people believe this government is anti-Islamic and they did not like the way government aggressively cracked down on the Islamists in recent months,” Rahman added.

    Leading Islamists including the entire leadership of Jamaat-i-Islami have been tried by the country's much criticised war crime court that is probing the atrocities committed during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence.
    http://beta.dawn.com/news/1018630/ba...city-elections

  7. #27
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Standby for trouble

    Why? Simple:
    Bangladesh has executed the Islamist leader Abdul Kader Mullah, who was convicted of atrocities in the 1971 war of independence with Pakistan....Mullah was a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party. His trial earlier in the year sparked protests from Jamaat supporters.....Jamaat-e-Islami - which had called the execution politically motivated and warned it would avenge his death - called for a general strike on Sunday.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25356034
    davidbfpo

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    Default Killing Bloggers in BD. A wedge issue.

    Bangladeshi Islamists (possibly backed by mentors in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) are using attacks on atheist bloggers a wedge issue. Will they succeed?

    http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/201...-issue-in.html

    "...By going after atheist bloggers (many or most of them Hindus), they have found a near perfect wedge issue. The Hasina government is not happy with these blasphemers being killed, and unlike in Pakistan, the regime seems to have made some arrests. But if they take a very public stand against these killings and aggressively protect the rights of these free-thinkers, then they stand with atheists and blasphemers and risk losing the support of "moderate Muslims" who don't go in for machete-wielding execution, but whose core beliefs include the belief that atheism and apostasy cannot be tolerated....But if the Hasina government lets this go on, then they permit the Islamists to grab the initiative and drive away atheists, secularists and Hindus...all of whom are more or less her voters and supporters (and whose friends and supporters are also the "intellectuals" of the Awami League regime). At a minimum, it is an uncomfortable position for the regime.
    ...
    Can Bangladeshi secularism (meaning in practice, the Awami League regime, there being no other secular alternative on the horizon) defeat this rather well-chosen point of attack? Maybe they can (in which case the Islamists will have gambled and lost and the secular cause will emerge stronger than before). But it is a big if...If they lose, Bangladesh is in play again as a possible Islamist base in Eastern India. The Islamists know what they are up to..."

  9. #29
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    Default Bangladesh and the Islamic State

    Two foreigners, an Italian and Japanese were recently murdered in Bangladesh, and in both cases the Islamic State took credit. There also was the recent killings of a couple of secular bloggers. We could be witnessing the emergence of a downward trend in the world's third largest Muslim country.

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/1...0RX0JJ20151003

    Islamic State claims responsibility for killing Japanese man in Bangladesh

    Islamic State claimed responsibility for shooting a Japanese man in Bangladesh on Saturday, the second foreign national it says it has killed there within a week, and threatened more such attacks.

    http://thediplomat.com/2015/09/bangl...and-democracy/

    Bangladesh on the Brink: Between Terrorism and Democracy

    The third largest Muslim country in the world, Bangladesh has a national identity stemming from a heritage of moderate Sunni Islam and a historical tradition of tolerance and pluralism. With a per capita income of just $1,080, Bangladesh is ranked among the poorest countries in the world, yet it has sustained a democratic tradition since independence (although interspersed with several military coups). Bangladesh’s blend of moderate Islam with a secular-oriented, democratic state could serve as a model for the region.

    Yet Bangladesh is also threatened by a rising tide of radical Islamist violence that has its roots in both the struggle for independence and a more recent wave of radicalized violence. For a relatively small diplomatic investment, the international community could help to deny radical Islamist groups a safe haven in South Asia and preserve a moderate Islamic democracy, by encouraging a negotiated settlement between the main political parties, working with the government of Bangladesh to root out terrorist organizations before they are able to metastasize, and providing protection for progressive media voices that are increasingly being targeted by terrorists.
    The article goes on to recommend the need to intervene with assistance before the problem is unmanageable. Do we have either the foresight or means to engage left of bang to help prevent major problems there? Problems that will almost certainly spill over their borders.

    A little dated (only 2014), but still a good summary of terrorist and extremist groups in Bangladesh at the following link.

    http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/.../view/348/html

    Bangladesh: an Emerging Centre for Terrorism in Asia

    Abstract

    This Research Note examines the political developments that have occurred in Bangladesh in 2013 and explores how these have fed into the rise of religious militancy. The ongoing conflicts not only intensify the instability and schisms within the country, but also illustrate that there is a rise in religious militancy that the country can ill afford at this juncture. Furthermore, it highlights how some members of the Bangladeshi diaspora in the United States and United Kingdom have been recruited by al-Qaeda and its affiliates to plot mass casualty attacks. Significantly, it is argued that all these threads are tied together because of the murky role of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (JEI), which is Bangladesh’s largest religious political party. A further deterioration of Bangladesh’s democracy and political stability could create additional space within which Islamist militants may be increasingly free to operate not just for domestic terrorist activity but for preparing internationals plots as well.
    Added by Moderator: there is an old thread, which started in 2007 and maybe useful now:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=3015
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-03-2015 at 08:46 PM. Reason: Mods note

  10. #30
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    Default Intervene before the problem is unmanageable

    Bill,

    I can understand your concerns, but would argue this passage is wrong:
    The article goes on to recommend the need to intervene with assistance before the problem is unmanageable. Do we have either the foresight or means to engage left of bang to help prevent major problems there? Problems that will almost certainly spill over their borders.
    We need to consider how Bangladeshi and its people would react to such an intervention assistance? Are we being asked to help by all parties or just those in power now. How will the enemies of democracy plus, labelled as "extremists" react? Another Western intervention, even more so if seen and portrayed as just being the US & Western Europe.

    I have a vague recollection that the 'Rapid Action Battalion' cited by the author as bad was externally trained for CT work. Did an earlier assistance help to create this bad / problem?

    If intervention assistance was to be given it must be requested, preferably by the two main political parties and provided by NGOs, not the "West". Perhaps there is a role for the Commonwealth?
    davidbfpo

  11. #31
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    David,

    Intervention is probably not a good word choice, it has connotations that are not helpful. The appropriate word is assistance, but this gets tricky due to the endemic corruption in the country. A lot of the violence is politically motivated between the two main political parties. How to do you assist in a way that targets the growing extremism without supporting one of the political parties? UK, US, China, India, and others have been providing various forms of assistance over the years. Most of it focused on economic development. Bangladesh security forces, to include the RAB which you discussed, have demonstrated some proficiency in getting after the terrorist threat. Unfortunately,they often conflate getting after terrorists and getting after political opponents as the same thing , which creates a tension that limits how much assistance the West will provide.

    All that said, standing by and potentially allowing radical Islam to grow (it has always been there), potentially exponentially, threatens our economic (regional instability) and security interests. I'm not proposing any solutions in this or the previous post, but rather pointing out the potential risk. A risk best dealt with sooner rather than later. Cheers!

  12. #32
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Not a good sign in Dhaka

    The low-level Jihadist campaign in Bangladesh now appears to have taken an ISIS "turn", although labelled as "militants", with an attack on a cafe in Dhaka's diplomatic quarter, taking Westerners hostage and many deaths when the military - the Rapid Action Battalion - to the fore.

    Links:https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ttack-hostages

    The BBC cites the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on an act during Ramadan:
    It was an extremely heinous act.....What kind of Muslims are these people? They don't have any religion. My government is determined to root out terrorism and militancy from Bangladesh.
    Plus:
    Over the past three years, more than 40 people have been killed in Bangladesh by suspected Islamists. But the attacks mostly targeted individuals - secular bloggers, writers, activists, academics and members of religious minorities. The attack on the cafe was on a different scale. It seems to have been well planned and well co-ordinated.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-36692613

    A BBC analyst adds:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-36692741
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-02-2016 at 12:55 PM.
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  13. #33
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    Some thoughts on the logic behind the Islamist campaign in Bangladesh

    http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/201...-issue-in.html

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    Default A new fad for college kids?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016...bangladeshi-e/

    "They are all Bangladeshis. They are from rich families, they have good educational background," said Asaduzzaman Khan, the country's home minister, of the gunmen.
    Another source I can't place here because it was based on a phone call, stated the captured terrorist indicated it was becoming a fad for college kids to associate with the Islamic State.

    Regardless, these kids weren't motivated by poverty or not having jobs. They were well do to kids. In some ways this reminds me of many who join far left militant groups or protests, and then when they're interviewed they prove they have no knowledge (except for a limited number) of what they're fighting for, or what they're protesting against, it is just something cool to do. We tend to ignore the psychological aspects when we focus on the political factors, which at times can be a red herring.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-04-2016 at 11:28 PM. Reason: Copied to radicalisation thread

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Regardless, these kids weren't motivated by poverty or not having jobs. They were well do to kids. In some ways it reminds me many who join for left militant groups or protests, and then when they're interviewed they prove they have no knowledge (except for a limited number) of what they're fighting for, what they're protesting against, it is just something cool to do. We tend to ignore the psychological aspects when we focus on the political factors, which at times can be a red herring.
    Aren't the higher strata of Arab society also overreppresented in the rank of the Daesh? Maybe somebody has some study at hand...

    Obviously that vile murder of foreigners, among them many Italians will have a negative effect on the economy.


    *On a side note a distant relative of mine was a Catholic priest in Bangladesh during British Rule. Another, more distant one was murdered in China over a hundred years ago while serving as Franciscan friar. Nothing new under the sun...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-04-2016 at 11:29 PM. Reason: Copied to radicalisation thread
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  16. #36
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    There have been studies pointing this out, but it doesn't fit our popular narrative about addressing underlying issues related to poverty and governance. Those factors generally play a large role in insurgencies, and at times this type of terrorism and insurgencies overlap, but it is not a one size fits all.

  17. #37
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    There is a short thread Poverty & Militancy do not mix, from 2012-2015:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16304

    This may help readers.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-04-2016 at 11:29 PM. Reason: Copied to radicalisation thread
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  18. #38
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    A good backgrounder on simmering, often violent Bangladesh:http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2016/07...-first-attack/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-13-2016 at 01:35 PM. Reason: 18,956v
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    Default Bangladesh: The New Nexus for Transnational Terrorism

    Bangladesh: The New Nexus for Transnational Terrorism

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  20. #40
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    Default Not to be overlooked

    A background article on Islamist terrorism in Bangladesh, by Professor Christine Fair, which contains several warnings that despite a "crack down" the omens are not good, e.g. women suicide bombers. Plus a few passages on the Rohingya problem.

    Link:http://lawfareblog.com/political-isl...-you-need-know

    Given the size of its population there are strategic reasons to watch developments.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-28-2018 at 05:49 PM. Reason: 36,918v
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