In an unprecedented show of force, organization and skill, two proscribed Islamist militant organizations exploded more than 450 bombs within a span of less than an hour throughout Bangladesh on 17 August 2005 sending a strong message that they were a force to be reckoned with. This catastrophic event, followed by a number of suicide attacks, forced the then reluctant Bangladeshi government, a coalition of center-right parties with two Islamists among them, to acknowledge the existence of a network of militants and take action against this threat.
Against this backdrop, this book is the first academic study on the growing Islamist militancy in Bangladesh. It examines the relevance, significance and trajectories of militant Islamist groups in Bangladesh, exploring the complex web of domestic, regional and international events and dynamics that have both engendered and strengthened Islamist militancy in Bangladesh. The three factors - domestic, regional and international aspects - are each discussed separately and their connection and links are analyzed. It goes on to consider possible future trajectories of militant Islamism in Bangladesh.
This book addresses an issue of great importance for contemporary Bangladeshi politics, and will be of interest to scholars of international politics and security studies, including terrorism and the politics of South Asia.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. The Political Landscape of Bangladesh 2. Islamist Politics and the Militants: A Taxonomy 3. The Missing State and the Homegrown Militants 4. A "Friendly" Neighborhood and the Proxy-Wars 5. The Long Shadow of the Distant World 6. Future Trajectories of Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh. Appendix 1: Constitutional Provisions of the Caretaker Government. Appendix 2: Bomb Attacks in Bangladesh 1999-2005. Appendix 3: Militant Islamist Organizations in Bangladesh. Appendix 4: Profiles of Islamist Militant Leaders. Appendix 5: The JMB Leaflet Calls for Islamic Rule. The Original Text of the JMB Leaflet
Ali Riaz is Associate Professor and the Chairperson of the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University, USA. His publications include God Willing: The Politics of Islamism in Bangladesh (2004), Unfolding State: The Transformation of Bangladesh (2005), and Paradise Lost? State Failure in Nepal (with Subho Basu, 2007).
'This book competently addresses serious empirical lacunae in the terrorism and security literatures, helps explain the rise of Islamism in a critical yet poorly understood South Asian country, and contributes to much-needed scholarship on contemporary Bangladesh. It should command the attention in scholars across these disparate disciplines.' - C.CHRISTINE FAIR, The Journal of Asian Studies
'Islamic Militancy in Bangladesh leads us into areas worthy of the most urgent critical reflection; it should be mandatory reading for students of militancy in local and international contexts.' - Mohammad Talib, Journal of Islamic Studies, September 2009