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”

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”

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”