May 16, 2006 Danish Institute for International Studies
This working paper explores the reasons commonly identified for the rise of political and radical
Islam throughout the Muslim world. Besides Anti-American sentiment which is often attributed
to U.S. support for Israel as well as American backing for hated repressive regimes, especially in
the Middle East, the paper also looks at the radicalization of Asian Muslim communities. Regional
conflicts have created large cadres of committed Jihadis and unresolved conflicts have likewise
contributed to the growth of radicalism.
Which ever the case, the absence of ideological alternatives and the declining performance of the
state in caring for its citizens is a major factor, which have been exploited by well-funded and
organized radical groups. Western aid, as experience has shown in South Asia, has largely been
used in terms of short-term security interests....
Pakistan and Bangladesh, united until a 1971 civil war, have evolved in very differently over the last three decades. This paper argues that many of their observed dissimilarities stem, at least in part, from demographic differences, some of which can be attributed to the two countries' diverse human development policies.
October 26, 2005 Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
When East Pakistan broke away from the main western
part of the country to form Bangladesh in 1971, it was in opposition
to the notion that all Muslim areas of former British India should
unite in one state. The Awami League, which led the struggle for independence,
grew out of the Bangla language movement and was based
on Bengali nationalism, not religion. At the same time, independent,
secular Bangladesh became the only country in the subcontinent with
one dominant language group and very few ethnic and religious
August 17, 2005 Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
This article addresses why and how Islam has re-emerged in
Bangladesh as socially and politically significant by highlighting both
the local and external factors in this regard. This study examines the
nature of Islam in South Asia and elsewhere in the Muslim world. A
historical appraisal of the State-Islam-Ulema (Muslim theologians)
nexus and its gradual transformation are important aspects of this
study. In sum, the study shows that both the state and large sections
of the population have been using Islam for political purpose. While
secularism, democracy and independence are burning issues in the
political arena, nobody can ignore the cultural and political aspects of
Islam in Bangladesh. Various groups of nationalists, sections of the
ulema representing both the political and non-political organizations,
and even members of the armed forces from time to time champion
the cause of Islamxe2x80x94some of them by openly demanding the transformation
of the country into a shari'a-based "Islamic State," and
some by opposing liberal democratic and secular institutions with a
bias toward political Islam. Who will eventually call the shots in the
near future is the question....
Milam takes a hard look at the political and religious realities of both countries, especially the al-Qaeda-linked jihadi networks that threaten to permanently turn Pakistan into an ideological state. He also considers Islam’s undeniable influence on the culture of both societies, and, in turn, the influence of these cultures on the tone and expression of Islam. Milam includes an examination of the fear and hostility Pakistan has exhibited toward India, which has resulted in three wars and at least one mini-war....
March 10, 2009 Frontline // Public Broadcasting Service
David Montero is no stranger to Bangladesh -- he lived and reported there between 2004 and 2005. But he had only been back in the country for a few hours earlier this week when a full-scale mutiny by a branch of the Army brought the already chaotic capital of Dhaka to the verge of civil war.
Montero was in Bangladesh to report for FRONTLINE/World on corruption and bribery, a problem that he describes as epidemic there. Why rank and file soldiers of the Bangladesh Rifles went on a killing spree that left at least 56 of their senior officers dead, many hastily buried in mass graves, is still shrouded in mystery. But as Montero explains over webcam from the newsroom of The Daily Star in Dhaka, resentment over the alleged lavish and corrupt lifestyles enjoyed by the Rifles' leaders was at the root of the violence.
Others reasons are surfacing as to why this happened, says Montero, who describes a nation shocked and perplexed by the attack....
Terrorism Monitor is a publication
of The Jamestown Foundation.
The Terrorism Monitor is
designed to be read by policymakers
and other specialists
yet be accessible to the general
public. The opinions expressed
within are solely those of the
authors and do not necessarily
reflect those of The Jamestown
The Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) is reported to have been formed in 1998 in the Jamalpur district. While the exact origin is shrouded in mystery, its existence came to notice on May 20, 2002 with the arrest of eight Islamist militants at Parbatipur in the Dinajpur district along with 25 petrol bombs and documents detailing the outfit's activities. Subsequently, on February 13, 2003, the JMB is reported to have carried out seven bomb explosions in the Chhoto Gurgola area of Dinajpur town in which three persons were wounded. Some reports suggest that it is the youth front of the Al Mujahideen, an organisation allegedly formed in the mid-1990s but whose existence is still ambiguous, whereas others indicate that the JMB is another name for the vigilante Islamist group the Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB). The JMB was proscribed by the Government on February 23, 2005....
Fourteen political parties have refused to participate in the 2007 election in a bid to push for a radical overhaul of Bangladesh's political system. The year 2006 featured several nasty encounters with the national security forces during street protests calling for a change to the status quo.
The caretaker government of Bangladesh showing a complete change of approach to the phenomenon of Islamist extremism executed six militants - Shaikh Abdur Rahman, Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai, Abdul Awal and Khaled Saifullah, Ataur Rahman Sunny and Iftekhar Hasan Al-Mamun - in four separate prisons in Bangladesh on March 29, 2007. These militants were convicted of carrying out a string of bombings in 2005 that left two judges killed in Jhalakathi. After taking several steps to contain corruption and improve the law and order situation the caretaker government in Bangladesh headed by Fakharuddin Ahmed has now taken an important step against the Islamist extremists of the country. This government was criticized so far on not being tough with the Islamist extremists. The hanging of six extremist leaders belonging to JUM has removed this gap. This action of the caretaker government has also set an example for the other south Asian countries where these forces have found fertile ground. It has conveyed the message to these forces tha#t the present government unlike the government's of the past is not going to tolerate their actions. This action will also set the tone for the upcoming SAARC summit where trade, terror and connectivity are going to be major themes of discussion. Bangladesh has been facing the resurgence of Islamist extremism since the early 1990s. This was the time when the Bangladeshi Islamists after completing their successful Jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviet forces were returning to their country. They brought with them the extremist ideology in defence of which they were active in Afghanistan. This phase gave rise to several Islamist organizations in Bangladesh. The most important of which was al-Qaeda allied Harkat-ul Jihad Al Islami (HUJI). In recent times, this ideology has manifested itself in Bangladesh in the form of Jagrata Muslim Janata, Bangladesh (JMJB) and Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB)....
In early January, in a surprising turn of events, the head of Bangladesh's caretaker government, Iajuddin Ahmed, stepped down under military pressure. As he did so, he declared a state of emergency, suspended civil liberties, and indefinitely postponed Bangladesh's elections, which had been scheduled for January 22, 2007. Fakhruddin Ahmed replaced him as head of the caretaker government. Most of these events have taken place with relatively little attention from the international community. To consider the significance of these developments, the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the U.S. Institute of Peace convened a round-table meeting to discuss the future of democracy in Bangladesh. This meeting brought together several renowned experts on Bangladesh, including T. Kumar, advocacy director of Amnesty International; Peter Manikas, senior associate and regional director for Asia at the National Democratic Institute; Cynthia Bunton, regional program director for Asia at the International Republican Institute; and, Ambassador William Milam, senior policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the central points made by the speakers as well observations and contributions from the audience. It was written by Pavithra Banavar and Nicholas Howenstein, respectively research assistant and senior program assistant in the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. The views expressed in this paper do not reflect those of USIP, which does not advocate specific policy positions....
On January 12, Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed assumed the office of chief advisor to the non-partisan caretaker government after both the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (B.N.P.) and the Awami League (A.L.) led alliances reached a consensus. The appointment of the new chief advisor was necessitated after President Iajuddin Ahmed, who had assumed the chair of the chief advisor on October 29, 2006, relinquished his position on January 11 following prolonged political chaos that paralyzed the country. Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, a Princeton-educated former governor of the Bangladesh Bank, has a large responsibility of guiding a politically polarized country through an election to constitute a new 300-member Jatiya Sangsad (national assembly). Furthermore, there are growing indications that his task will not be easy....
After the end of five year term of the Khaleda Zia government in Bangladesh the country was supposed to prepare for the elections under a caretaker government. But the deliberate attempt of the immediate past government to manipulate the caretaker government, Election Commission, voter list and the administration has created a politically volatile situati#on in Bangladesh. Despite all this, for a while, it looked like that both the leading parties BNP and the Awami League would be able to tie over these difficulties. Unfortunately, so far this has not happened. The Bangladesh president who also doubles up as the chief advisor to the caretaker government reneged on the compromise deal which he had offered to the opposition alliance demanding electoral reforms. The president is now acting in a manner which shows that he has taken charge of the Caretaker Government (CTG) to implement the agenda of his political masters from the BNP and Jamaat. Probably, with this aim he has also called out army on the pretext of maintaining law and order. Though president is once again willing to negotiate with the 14-party opposition alliance, his actions are hardly above board....
Though elections are due in Bangladesh early next year, they have been the centre of political activity in the country for the last year and a half. Holding of free and fair elections has been a concern for domestic political parties as well as for the international community. This concern arose from the fact that ruling coalition was politicizing administration, judiciary and the armed forces so that they can stand them in good stead during the period of elections. The crucial role played by the Islamists forces in the ruling coalition also created doubts in the minds of several people as they do not believe in modern democracy. The Awami League led opposition group has been agitating for a neutral caretaker government and changes in administration. The suspense regarding caretaker government ended when Bangladesh president himself assumed the role of chief advisor to the caretaker government. However, the assumption of responsibility by the president has thrown the country into chaos and has raised doubts about the prospect of free and fair elections....
South Asia Analysis Group is a non profit non commercial think tank. The objective of the group is to advance strategic analysis and contribute to the expansion of knowledge of Indian and International security and promote public understanding. In so doing, the SAAG seeks to address the decision makers, strategic planners, academics and the media in South Asia and the world at large. The group holds the concept of strategy in its broadest meaning-including mobilization and application of all resources to understand national and international security. The articles in this site are provided by scholars with many years of experience in political and strategic analysis. The aim of the group is not to compete with Governments, Academics, NGOs or other institutions dealing with strategic analysis and national security but to provide another point of view for the decision makers and other national/international think tanks....
October 20, 2005 Institute for Conflict Management
SATP is the largest website on terrorism and low intensity warfare in South Asia, and creates the database and analytic context for research and analysis of all extremist movements in the region. SATP has been set up to counter the progressive distortions regarding, and the international community's neglect of, the wide range of terrorist movements within South Asia, and particularly in India. SATP establishes a comprehensive, searchable and con#tinuously updated database on all available information relating to terrorism, low intensity warfare and ethnic/communal/sectarian strife in South Asia....
June 14, 2007 Fédération Internationale des ligues des droits de l'Homme // International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims
The so-called "war on terrorism" has seen democratic governments resort to torture and ill treatment of persons suspected of involvement in terrorist activities and has reignited the age-old debate about whether torture can be justified if the purpose is to save innocent lives. In this context, prominent opinion and decision-makers as well as members of the general public in leading democratic countries have argued that new forms of transnational terrorism necessitate a revision of existing legal and moral norms related to torture and ill treatment. At the same time, authoritarian rulers around the world have exploited this climate to step up their oppression of political opposition groups.
In February 2007, with funding from the European Commission, the Fédération International des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH) in partnership with the #IRCT launched the three-year project, "Preventing Torture within the Fight against Terrorism". The overall objective is to contribute to re-establish international respect for the absolute prohibition against torture and ill treatment embedded in international law. The project will do this through a wide range of complementary activities covering research, awareness raising, advocacy and capacity building....
Russia and Mexico, two of the world’s most murderous countries for the press, are heading in different directions in combating deadly anti-press violence, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found in its newly updated Impunity Index. The index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population, found improvement in Russia as journalist murders ebbed and prosecutors obtained two high-profile convictions. But deadly anti-press violence continued to climb in Mexico, where authorities appear powerless in bringing killers to justice.
Colombia continued a years-long pattern of improvement, CPJ’s index found, while conditions in Bangladesh reflected a slight upturn. But the countries at the top of the index—Iraq, Somalia, and the Philippines—showed either no improvement or even worsening records. Iraq, with an impunity rating three times worse than that of any other nation, is ranked first for the fourth straight year. Although crossfire and other conflict-related deaths have dropped in Iraq in recent years, the targeted killings of journalists spiked in 2010.
“The findings of the 2011 Impunity Index lay bare the stark choices that governments face: Either address the issue of violence against journalists head-on or see murders continue and self-censorship spread,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Convictions in Russia are a hopeful sign after years of indifference and denial. But Mexico’s situation is deeply troubling, with violence spiking as the government promises action but fails to deliver.”
CPJ’s annual Impunity Index, first published in 2008, identifies countries where journalists are murdered regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. For this latest index, CPJ examined journalist murders that occurred between January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2010, and that remain unsolved. Only the 13 nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on the index. Cases are considered unsolved when no convictions have been obtained.
Impunity is a key indicator in assessing levels of press freedom and free expression in nations worldwide. CPJ research shows that deadly, unpunished violence against journalists often leads to vast self-censorship in the rest of the press corps. From Somalia to Mexico, CPJ has found that journalists avoid sensitive topics, leave the profession, or flee their homeland to escape violent retribution....
This brief is largely based on several discussions organised at Observer Research Foundation over a period of time. These discussions were enriched by the presence of some of the well-known experts on water issues in the country, like former Union Minister for Water Resources, Dr. Suresh Prabhu, current High Commissioner of Bangladesh, Tariq Ahmad Karim, Mr. Sunjoy Joshi, Director, Observer Research Foundation, Ms. Clare Shakya, Senior Regional Climate Change and Water Adviser, DFID*, India, Mr. Samir Saran, Vice President, ORF and Dr. Dinesh Kumar, Executive Director, Institute for Resource Analysis and Policy, Hyderabad.
It is estimated that by 2030, only 60 per cent of the
world's population will have access to fresh water
1 supplies . This would mean that about 40 per cent
of the world population or about 3 billion-people
would be without a reliable source of water and
most of them would live in impoverished, conflictprone
and water-stressed areas like South Asia.
Water is already an extremely contentious, and
volatile, issue in South Asia. There are more people
in the region than ever before and their dependence
on water for various needs continues to multiply
by leaps and bounds. The quantum of water
available, for the present as well as future, has
reduced dramatically, particularly in the last half-acentury.
This is due to water-fertiliser intensive
farming, overexploitation of groundwater for
drinking, industrial and agricultural purposes,
large scale contamination of water sources, total
inertia in controlling and channelising waste water,
indifferent approach to water conservation
programmes and populist policies on water
This 53-page report documents abuses by RAB in and around Dhaka, the capital, under the current Awami League-led government. Nearly 200 people have been killed in RAB operations since January 6, 2009, when the government assumed office. While in opposition the Awami League promised to end extrajudicial killings, but since it came to office senior government officials have denied that RAB has committed abuses, and some have even justified them.
"After two years in office, the government has had more than enough time to take action to stop the RAB's murderous practices," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "A death squad is roaming the streets of Bangladesh and the government does not appear to be doing anything to stop it. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina needs to act."
The report builds on the 2006 Human Rights Watch report, "Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Torture and Extrajudicial Killings by Bangladesh's Elite Security Force." It is based on over 80 interviews with victims, witnesses, human rights defenders, journalists, law enforcement officials, lawyers, and judges....
Efforts to promote “deradicalization,” or to rehabilitate
detainees charged with terrorism-related
offenses, have taken multiple forms in a wide range
of countries, often as part of broader counterradicalization
strategies that seek to prevent the
adoption of violent extremist ideologies or
behaviors in the first place. Some are more formal
rehabilitation programs, with well-defined agendas,
institutional structures, and a dedicated full-time
staff, while others are a looser combination of social
and political initiatives. Programs vary in their
objectives, their criteria for participation, and the
kinds of benefits and incentives they might offer.
The cumulative lessons learned from several states’
experiences in dealing with violent extremist
groups are of growing interest to countries now
facing similar challenges.
With its global membership, neutral “brand,” and
powerful convening capacity, the United Nations
has the potential to play a powerful role in setting
global norms and shaping international legal
frameworks regarding counterterrorism, as well as
in providing a platform for the exchange of
information and technical assistance for practitioners
This paper draws lessons learned from case
studies of deradicalization initiatives in eight
Muslim-majority countries, which corroborate the
experiences of countries in other regions that have
grappled with violent extremist groups. The paper
concludes by making recommendations
concerning how the UN could help to facilitate the
provision of knowledge and resources to key
stakeholders interested in establishing or strengthening
their own rehabilitation programs....
The Rohingya ethnic minority of Burma are trapped between severe repression in their homeland and abuse in neighboring countries. Bangladesh has hosted hundreds of
thousands of Rohingyas fleeing persecution for more than three decades, but at least 200,000 Rohingya refugees have no legal rights there. They live in squalor, receive very
limited aid and are subject to arrest, extortion and detention. Unregistered refugee women and girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual and physical attacks. The international
community must urge the Bangladeshi government to register undocumented refugees and improve protection for all vulnerable Rohingyas. Donor governments must also work to restart and increase resettlement of refugees to a third country and increase assistance for communities hosting refugees....