Earlier this month, Bangladesh’s security forces carried out a nationwide crackdown on radical Islamists in the country. The main part of the campaign ran over several days and included interventions by thousands of police and paramilitary personal, led to the arrest of more than 11,300 people.
Recognizing the steadily declining political, human rights and security conditions in Bangladesh, on June 7, 2016, the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg held a debate on the current situation in the South Asian country. During the lively discourse, several different views were put forth by members of the European Parliament (MEPs) regarding the causes and consequences of the deterioration of the societal and political space, foremost through rising Islamism, intolerance, political radicalization in the country. Considering these different views and opinions it should not come by surprise that there were also different suggestions made as to what should be the next steps by the parliament, and what kind of political action is expected in Europe from Bangladesh political elites in general and the government in particular. Despite varying opinions on what to do, MEPs agree the current political trajectory one may observe in Bangladesh is deeply worrying.
Since 9/11, the world has considered Pakistan and Afghanistan as the epicentre of Islamic fundamentalism in South Asia, incarnated in the Taliban movement and its affiliates. Many of the early observations dealt with the tremendous challenge which terrorism and religious-militant extremism would pose to peace and stability (from a geopolitical perspective). Continue reading “Ansarullah Bangla Team: A Major Threat for Bangladesh’s Democracy”
Exclusive interview with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Shamil Shams:
Recent executions of two opposition leaders in Bangladesh have drawn international criticism. But expert Siegfried O. Wolf tells DW it is crucial for the South Asian country to bring the 1971 war criminals to justice.
On February 26 the blogger Avijit Roy, a US-citizen of Bangladeshi origin, published author, and prominent voice against religious intolerance was murdered publicly in Dhaka after returning from a book fair (cf. The Guardian, 27.2.2015; cf. Alam, 27.2.2015). Roy, an engineer by profession was not only known as a passionate writer but also as the founder of the Bengali language blog Mukto-Mona, the “Free Mind”. Since 2000, Mukto-Mona served as a platform for independent thinkers, critical rationalists, humanists and sceptics in South Asia (cf. BBC, 27.2.2015b). As a defender of the “free-thought movement” in Bangladesh he was an advocate of liberal secular writing, scientific reasoning, human rights and particular sensitive social issues in conservative Bangladesh such as LGBT rights (cf. Alam, 27.2.2015; cf. BBC, 27.2.2015a; 27.2.2015b). Continue reading “The Killing of Avijit Roy: Silencing free-thinking and progressive conscience in Bangladesh”
Since 9/11 the world has regarded Pakistan and Afghanistan as the epicentre of Islamic fundamentalism. Many of the early observations dealt with the tremendous challenge that terrorism and religious militant extremism would pose for peace and stability from a geopolitical perspective. Realising the increasingly complex scenarios as well as the causalities and impacts, analyses on the phenomenon under discussion were slowly but persistently broadening. In order to be able to address not only the militant, but also the socio-economic and political dimensions of Islamic fundamentalism – the networks and ideological foundations of internationally acting fundamentalist groups have increasingly caught the attention of observers worldwide. Nevertheless, despite a general broadening of the research focus when it comes to Islamic fundamentalism, it also led to the phenomenon of only seeing part of the story: Continue reading “Bangladesh: Drifting into Islamic Fundamentalism”