Bangladesh | 06 June 2021

Bangladesh: Crackdown on Islamists

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As The Diplomat reported on 19 May 2021, the authorities in Bangladesh have arrested almost a thousand members of Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam, among them 21 leaders. Thomas Muller, persecution analyst at World Watch Research (WWR), gives some background information: "Hefazat-e-Islam has traditionally had a close relationship with the ruling Awami League which accommodated many of their demands; however, this changed with the death of their spiritual leader and the rise to power of‚  a new generation (as explained in WWR"s Full Country Dossier, March 2021). A red line was crossed when Hefazat-e-Islam called for demonstrations against the visit of India"s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who came as an official guest of honor to the celebrations of Bangladesh"s 50th anniversary in March 2021. Thousands clashed with police across the country and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced that the state would deal severely with all groups calling for violence. This policy is now implemented, but it remains to be seen if this also means that the days are over for accommodating Islamist groups, which would likely lead to religious minorities such as Christians facing less pressure from Islamic militants."


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