Suvra Kanti Das

2013 - Ongoing

Attacks by Islamic extremists in Bangladesh refer to increased attacks since 2013 on a number of secularist and atheist writers, bloggers, publishers, foreigners, and minorities such as Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and Shias. These attacks have been largely blamed on extremist groups such as Ansarullah Bangla Team and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The Bangladeshi government was criticized for its responses to the attacks, which included charging and jailing some of the secularist bloggers for allegedly defaming religious groups – a strategy seen as pandering to hard line elements within Bangladesh's majority Muslim population. On 15 January 2013 Asif Mohiuddin, a self-described "militant atheist" blogger, was stabbed near his office in Motijheel, Dhaka. He survived the attack. The Islamist fundamentalist group Ansarullah Bangla Team claimed responsibility for the attack. According to Mohiuddin, he later met his attackers in jail, and they told him, "You left Islam, you are not a Muslim, you criticized the Koran, and we had to do this." On 26 February 2015 bio-engineer Dr. Avijit Roy, a well-known Bangladeshi blogger, and his wife Bonya Ahmed were attacked in Dhaka by machete-wielding assailants. Two days after Siddique's murder (25 April 2016), gay-rights activists Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy were hacked to death by assailants who broke into Mannan's apartment. ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack. On July 1, 2016, five militants stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery, a restaurant frequented by foreigners in an upscale neighborhood of the capital Dhaka. The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility, but local officials blamed members of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a Bangladeshi militant organization. A 12-hour siege ended with the deaths of 22 hostages, 18 of them foreigners. This tragedy was the country’s deadliest single terror attack in recent history.

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