April 14, 2001: Bombing at New Year’s parade in Bangladesh

On April 14, 2001 nine people were killed and 17 critically wounded by a jihadi suicide squad during Bangladeshi new year festivities.

DHAKA, BANGLADESH – There are many ways to make a calendar: are the differences worth killing over?

Are you a New Year’s aficionado? Is New Year’s Eve something you look forward to? Do you go out on December 31, have a good time, and live to regret it later?

Um, what was I celebrating again?? (Photo: Watchcaddy on Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

The ‘new year‘ we in the West associate with the day a week after Christmas (December 25) is just one of many such days. Depending on which calendar you follow – lunar or solar – the beginning of a new year will depend. January 1 is an entirely arbitrary date. It is neither better nor worse than other candidates: the Persian new year (known as ‘nowrooz’ – ‘new day’) which coincides with the spring equinox, the Chinese new year, or, as in this case, the one marked in Bangladesh – the Pahela Baishakh.

Not surprisingly, Islamist terrorists buy none of this. They think there is only one way to mark the new year – according to the Islamic calendar (no alcohol at that occasion!) – and will kill to make their point.

On this day in 2001

Nine people were killed and 17 critically wounded by a suicide squad near Dhaka University in Bangladesh as revelers gathered to mark the new year. Seven bodies, badly mutilated, were removed from the scene a half hour later while the injured were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

At about 8 AM, all of a sudden, an explosion rocked the south-western side of the stage.

Organiser of the festival

Eight years after the bomb attack, a Dhaka court charged Mufti Hannan, chief of banned fundamentalist group Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, and 13 others from the group with bombing and murder. In 2014, eight of the accused were sentenced to death while the others received life in prison.

Why can’t the jihadis just live and let live?

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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