Pakistan’s ex-army chief General Raheel Sharif to lead Saudi military alliance

8 January 2017; Siegfried O. Wolf

Interview/Quotation with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Shamil Shams:

Pakistan’s former army chief Raheel Sharif has been appointed to head a Saudi-led military coalition. Analysts say this could jeopardize Pakistan’s ties with Iran as the 39-member alliance is heavily involved in Yemen. Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has confirmed that General Raheel Sharif is to command the 39-member Islamic Military Alliance. The alliance was formed by Saudi Arabia to deal with conflicts in the Middle East, particularly to quell the Iran-backed Houthi insurgency in Yemen. Continue reading “Pakistan’s ex-army chief General Raheel Sharif to lead Saudi military alliance”

Istanbul attack: Why China’s Uighurs are joining global jihadist groups

6 January 2017; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Exclusives interview with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Shamil Shams:

Turkish authorities have arrested a number of people of Uighur origin over the New Year’s Eve attack

The Turkish government has arrested several Uighur Muslims in connection with Istanbul’s nightclub attack. In a DW interview, analyst Siegfried O. Wolf explains why the Uighur issue has expanded beyond China’s borders.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said Thursday that the gunman who attacked Istanbul’s Reina nightclub during New Year’s celebrations is likely from China’s Muslim Uighur minority and was a “specially trained member of a (terror) cell.” Turkish authorities have also arrested a number of people of Uighur origin over the attack that killed 39 people. Continue reading “Istanbul attack: Why China’s Uighurs are joining global jihadist groups”

Why are Afghan Shiites being targeted?

23 November 2016, by Siegfried O. Wolf

Interview/Quotation with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Masood Saifullah:

Afghanistan has seen a surge in terror attacks targeting the country’s minority Shiite community. Observers say the attacks are aimed at undercutting the government’s credibility and exacerbating the sectarian tensions.

Continue reading “Why are Afghan Shiites being targeted?”

It’s Not Only about Illegal Migration & International Law: The Uighur Conundrum

21 July 2016; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Image by mike.benedetti

There is much media attention on Thailand’s latest deportation of more than 100 Uighur back to China, which was officially confirmed on 9 July 2015. The asylum seekers which entered the South East Asian country illegally got subsequently detained by the Thai immigration authorities and held in custody for over a year. In order to find a solution, the Royal Thai government finally decided to hand them over to China ‘under the agreement that their safety is guaranteed according to humanitarian principles’. Nevertheless, Bangkok had to face immense criticism by the international community, especially through human rights organisations and the United Nations. UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Türk, proclaimed he is considering the deportation of the Uighurs as ‘a flagrant violation of international law’. Additionally, in several countries such as Turkey and Germany, remarkable protests broke out not only to express solidarity with the Uighurs but also to formulate grievances about the manner in which deportation was carried out.

Continue reading “It’s Not Only about Illegal Migration & International Law: The Uighur Conundrum”

Crackdown on Islamists: Bangladesh’s New Campaign against Jihadi Terror in Perspective

24 June 2016; by Siegfried O. Wolf

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.

Continue reading “Crackdown on Islamists: Bangladesh’s New Campaign against Jihadi Terror in Perspective”

Rising Islamism in Bangladesh is a European concern too

23 June 2016, Siegfried O. Wolf

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.

Continue reading “Rising Islamism in Bangladesh is a European concern too”

Ansarullah Bangla Team: A Major Threat for Bangladesh’s Democracy

30 January 2016

Image by UNAMID (Albert González Farran)

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”

Bangladesh War Trials: The Need to Stop the Culture of Impunity and the Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Introduction

After Bangladesh’s Supreme Court rejected final appeals against death sentences on November 22, two oppositional figures got hanged. Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid and Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury were accused for atrocities committed during the 1971 war of independence. Mr. Mujahid (age 67) was secretary general and official number two of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) party and served as Member of Parliament as well as social welfare minister in the BNP-led government from 2001-2006. He was found guilty in July 2013 on five charges including torture and the murders of intellectuals and minority Hindus. Mujahid was a leader of religious radicalized students in 1971 (Islami Chhatra Sangha, the student wing of JeI) which supported the unity of Pakistan and commanded Al Badr, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani army, during Bangladesh’s war of independence. Continue reading “Bangladesh War Trials: The Need to Stop the Culture of Impunity and the Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism”

Bangladesh executions: What could be the repercussions?

23 November 2015, Siegfried O. Wolf

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.

Continue reading “Bangladesh executions: What could be the repercussions?”

From Export to Import: The rise of Jihadism and the advent of the Islamic State in Bangladesh

13 October 2015

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Bangladesh is threatened by an increasing surge of radical Islamist violence. The killings of Bangladeshi liberal thinkers and progressive secularists, such as the blogger Avijit Roy[1], are not an entirely new phenomenon and exemplify the gravity of the situation. As such, the murder of secular thinkers in Bangladesh is only the gloomy peak of growing Jihadi influence in the country. Continue reading “From Export to Import: The rise of Jihadism and the advent of the Islamic State in Bangladesh”