The Economistwritten by StaffJuly 2, 2016A jihadist attack on a restaurant popular with foreigners may force the government to change its strategy.THE Holey Artisan Bakery, an upscale café and restaurant overlooking a placid lake in Dhaka, was a foodie’s labour of love in a verdant corner of the chaotic capital. It offered French croissants and Manhattan-style brunches. But on the evening of July 1st, at the start of the Eid holiday week that marks the end of Ramadan, it turned into a place of terror. After Bangladeshi commandos recaptured the restaurant the following day, the scene might have been drawn from the Vietnam war—with shredded tropical greenery, armoured vehicles and 28 dead bodies, many of them expatriates.The gang of about seven attackers, armed with semi-automatic rifles and improvised grenades, stormed past the flimsily guarded gates and fought off an initial attempt by security forces to storm the restaurant. In the course of a 12-hour siege they slit the throats of anyone who could not recite verses from the Koran. At one table were eight Japanese customers, some of who were consultants for the Japanese overseas aid organisation. Only one is thought to have made it out alive. At another table Italian garment entrepreneurs suffered a similar fate. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility and posted horrifying images of the dead during the siege.It was the most shocking attack in a wave of Islamist violence that before this weekend had claimed the lives of around 50 people since 2013: non-Muslims, local bloggers and assorted non-conformists. The Bangladeshi authorities rounded up 14,000 people in a week last month, but the mass arrests did not prevent the latest atrocity.It is still unclear which local organisation was involved. All eyes will turn to the Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Formed by veterans of the Afghan war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, it made a name for itself as a thuggish militia in northwest Bangladesh that terrorised leftists and bullied women into wearing the veil. It carried out a spate of ineffectual, but widespread bombings in 2005 and appears more recently to have allied itself with IS.In public the Bangladeshi government refuses to accept that IS has taken root in the country. According to diplomatic sources, though, the government had privately conceded that IS had some form of presence in the country. In the days before the assault on Holey Bakery security had been heightened around parts of Dhaka; churches were warned to be vigilant.Opponents of the government blame the drift to authoritarianism by Bangladesh’s ruling party, the Awami League for provoking the Islamist backlash. It has overseen the blanket repression of opposition parties and other dissenters. The government prefers to blame the opposition—hence its reluctance to admit to the presence of IS. The carnage at the Holey Bakery should force a rethink of strategy.
The Mirror, UKBangladesh terror attack latest in chilling catalogue of savage murders by Islamic extremists in the Commonwealth nationwritten by Richard WheatstoneJuly 1, 2016There have been at least 25 murders of religious minorities and free speech activists since 2015.Many of those who died were political bloggers who actively opposed religious and Muslim beliefs.Of those attacks more than a dozen have been claimed by Islamic State.On April 23 2016, Rezaul Karim Siddique, a professor of English at the University of Rajshahi, was hacked to death at a bus stop. Police suspect "an Islamist militant group" was behind the horrific attack.He was headed to the university campus about 125 miles northwest of Dhaka, Bangladesh, when two attackers on a motorcycle slit the "peaceful" professor's throat and hacked him to death, Rajshahi city police chief Mohammad Shamsuddin told reporters, quoting witnesses."Professor Rezaul was killed in a similar fashion as the killings of bloggers," Shamsuddin said, adding he was a peaceful person and had no enemies.Liberal blogger Nazimuddin Samad was killed on April 6, 2016 after militants attacked him with a machete and shot him to death in public for his criticism of Islam.amad was a law student at Jagannath University and blogger who was killed by radical Islamists in Dhaka for his promotion of secularism in Bangladesh.The 28-year-old was said to be an organiser behind the Ganajagran Manch, a secular campaigning group.Police said that three attackers on a motorcycle hacked at him at a traffic junction and then shot him, The Dhaka Tribune reported at the time.Faisal Arefin Dipan was hacked to death in Dhaka on October 31 2015 in his office, the same day three others were attacked.The 43-year-old was the publisher of Jagriti Prakashani, which published Avijit Roy's Biswasher Virus (Bengali for The Virus of Faith), an atheist book.This attack followed a stabbing earlier the same day, when publisher Ahmedur Rashid Tutul and two writers, Ranadeep Basu and Tareque Rahim, were stabbed at their office in another publishing house.Niladri Chattopadhyay Niloy, known by his pen name Niloy Neel, was killed on August 7, 2015 after six men armed with machetes attacked him at his home in the Goran area of Dhaka and hacked him to death.Police reported that the men tricked Niloy's wife into letting them into the house before they launched their attack.Niloy wrote for Mukto-Mona, a blog for secularists and freethinkers, and was associated with the Shahbag Movement, a series of protests against war crimes.He had also attended the public protest which demanded justice for the murdered bloggers Ananta Bijoy Das and Avijit Roy.Ansarullah Al Islam Bangladesh, an Al Qaeda group, claimed responsibility for Niloy's death.On February 26, 2015, Dr. Avijit Roy, a well-known Bangladeshi blogger, was attacked with his wife Bonya Ahmed.The couple were on their way home from the Ekushey Book Fair when the bicycle rickshaw they were travelling in was attacked by machete-wielding men.According to witnesses, they were dragged from the rickshaw to the pavement and hacked at with machetes.Bio-engineer Roy was stabbed in the head with sharp weapons and his wife was slashed on her shoulders. The fingers of her left hand were severed when she tried to help her husband.