Escalating Jihadist Terror in Bangladesh – What Next?

7 Juli 2016; by Siegfried O. Wolf

After witnessing two dramatic terrorist attacks within one week, many people in Bangladesh are asking what happens next? Is the situation getting worse? Or will the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) be able to contain or even eradicate the threat of terrorism? Is terrorism homegrown or imported from outside by international Jihadist organisations? Even if the GoB has been criticized a lot for apparent inaction, last month it gave a major response, when Bangladesh’s security forces carried out a nationwide crackdown on radical Islamists in the country. Continue reading “Escalating Jihadist Terror in Bangladesh – What Next?”

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”

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

31 May 2016, Siegfried O. Wolf

Exclusive Interview with E-International Relations, conducted by Satgin Hamrah:

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a significant part of a regional initiative led by China, known as ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) or the New Silk Road Economic Development Corridor. Basically the OBOR plan aims to revive ancient trade routes connecting Asia with Europe and Africa. This was a vision of Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. Since its announcement Xi’s vision has made headway and has become a major focus of Chinese diplomacy. Led by Beijing, the OBOR concept refers to two ambitious development proposals – the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The SREB seeks to revive the ancient Silk Road that once connected China with Europe by land via high-speed railroads, highways, energy and distribution networks, as well as fibre optic networks. The CPEC must be understood as a crucial part of the China’s OBOR’ initiative aiming at the establishment of an overland Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road through Pakistani port facilities.

AFP PHOTO / Aamir QURESHI

Continue reading “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)”

Terrorism and Jihadism in Bangladesh: The Killing of Rezaul Karim Siddique

His assassination is not only a challenge for democracy but a Jihadist attack on the Bengali nation and culture too

24 April 2016

Image Attribute: Late Dr. A.F.M. Rezaul Karim Siddique, Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, 23 April 2016 marks another sad day for democracy, freedom, and liberal thinking in Bangladesh. Early morning, Professor Rezaul Karim Siddique got brutally murdered as he was waiting in his hometown to catch a bus towards the north-western city of Rajshahi. The 58 years old professor was the fourth academic of Rajshahi University killed and the latest one in a nation-wide series of killings of secular thinkers and writers by Islamist militants. The back-stabbing attack took by surprise not only the victim but also colleagues, students, friends, and family. Professor Siddique was known not to be involved publicly in politics. Furthermore, it seems that there is no evidence that Professor Siddique campaigned for atheism, wrote or spoke against Islam, and never received respective threats. Rather, besides teaching English, he dedicated himself to the promotion of Bengali culture, especially traditionally music, literature, and poetry, at the university as well as in his hometown. In this context, he owned the reputation on purely academic grounds, progressive, and secular person.

Continue reading “Terrorism and Jihadism in Bangladesh: The Killing of Rezaul Karim Siddique”

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”

Some Islamist parties inciting extremism in Bangladesh

7 October 2015; Siegfried O. Wolf

Exclusive Interview with Prothom Alo (Dhaka, Bangladesh):

Prothom Alo: How do you see the activities of Bangladeshi jihadists in the context of global jihadism?

Siegfried O Wolf: During the last decade, Bangladesh turned into a pivot for international terrorism. First of all, it serves, besides the Af-Pak region, as one of the most significant recruiting bases for the global jihad. The tremendous amount of Bangladeshis joining the Taliban in Afghanistan to fight NATO/ISAF troops or the (sporadic) arrests of recruiters, for example for Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front in Syria, can be seen as proof. Secondly, Bangladesh became a place for training and regrouping, as well as a platform to conduct terrorist attacks abroad. Unlike Pakistan and Afghanistan, the country is not in the military focus of the ‘war against terror’. Furthermore, a section of Bangladesh’s Islamist political parties are not only promoting Islamisation and militant extremism but also creating an atmosphere which is supportive of jihadists. In consequence, Bangladesh has developed into a favoured place for international terrorists to seek shelter. Today Bangladeshi jihadists determine a crucial constituent of global jihadism. Continue reading “Some Islamist parties inciting extremism in Bangladesh”

Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle

31 July 2015

Photo credit: Wikipedia

On July 8th, the first official acknowledged ‘peace talk’ between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul took place (Johnson/Zahra-Malik, 8.7.2015). Facilitated by Pakistan who are being supported by China, delegations of the two conflicting parties met in Murree, a hill resort near Islamabad (cf. Harooni, 8.7.2015). Besides Chinese officials, U.S. representatives were also present during the event (Ahmed, 28.7.2015). The peace talk is being praised by Pakistani authorities as a potential move towards the ending of 14 years insurgency -after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001-, the major outcome of the gathering was to meet again by end of July after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (Aljazeera, 8.7.2015). Continue reading “Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle”

The Killing of Avijit Roy: Silencing free-thinking and progressive conscience in Bangladesh

March 2015, Siegfried O. Wolf

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”