Many Rivers, One Sea: Bangladesh and the Challenge of Islamist Militancy
A perennial frontier for Islamic orthodoxy, Bangladesh is witnessing an alarming rise in Islamist-inspired assassinations and terrorist attacks. In July 2016, the world’s attention fell upon a café in a leafy Dhaka neighbourhood as the barbarity of a distant ‘Caliphate’ was visited on this corner of South Asia. Twenty-nine died in the assault on the Holey Bakery, affixing an unbidden nightmare to the image of a supposedly tolerant Muslim nation.
Joseph Allchin probes Bangladesh’s recent and distant past as he investigates how it has become the latest front in world extremism. Delving into the local and global differences between political actors, he exposes the continued influence of the country’s independence struggle on today’s allegiances, and scrutinises the careers of two long-term rivals: current prime minister Sheikh Hasina, and Khaleda Zia, who held the office in 1991–6 and 2001–6.
This unerring investigation examines the relationship between radical Islam and the Bangladeshi political class, laying bare the extremist forces that bedevil the country’s present and future.