KURIGRAM, BANGLADESH – Conversion should be a personal decision between you and your God: tell that to the terrorists!
My late mother, may she rest in peace!, always advised me to never talk about two things in polite company in order to avoid offending someone and opening the door to an argument, sometimes one of an acrimonious nature. Those two things? Religion and politics.
In spite of her sage words what did I do? I became a terrorism analyst/author/commentator. In other words, I did the exact OPPOSITE! Sorry mom!
Religion and politics are very personal matters. They are areas it is easy to get worked up over and hence this is why many say they should be topics we agree not to discuss. They also happen to be two of the three ‘classic’ rationales for terrorism (the third is ‘ideology‘, which kinda subsumes the other two in my mind).
Islamist terrorist groups are those which use violence based on their version of a religion to bring about political change. Of all the recent Islamist organisations the one that actually succeeded in doing so was Islamic State (ISIS), which formed a self-styled ‘Caliphate’ in 2014. It created a state along the lines of their perverted form of faith.
And they did not brook criticism or opposition – or any difference in anything for that matter – well. That attitude continued through their affiliates and wannabe followers around the world.
On this day in 2016
Terrorists knifed to death a Christian convert in northern Bangladesh in what was then the latest in a series of attacks on liberal activists, members of minority Muslim sects and members of other religious groups in the Muslim-majority nation. Three attackers on a motorbike stabbed the victim, Hossain Ali, 68, in Kurigram, north of Dhaka: Mr Ali had converted to Christianity from Islam in 1999.
“The killing of Ali Hossain Sarkar, a convert to Christianity, is unacceptable and painful. We condemn his murder and we demand that justice is done.”Nirmal Rozario, general secretary of the Bangladesh Christian Association
The assailants were most likely tied to ISIS, which has a surprisingly strong presence in Bangladesh: this group had claimed a similar attack which took place earlier in the same nation. They brutally murdered a man who was a highly respected health worker and had defended the country in the war for independence from Pakistan. Terrorists of this ilk see conversion from Islam as shirk or ridda – idolatry/abandonment of Islam.
It is hard to accept that a member of one faith can condone the killing of another. Alas, this has been going on for a very long time in our history (Crusades, Holocaust, etc.). Maybe, just maybe, we’d be better off without religion?
Read More Today in Terrorism
On May 31, 1906 a Spanish anarchist threw a bomb hoping to hit King Alfonso XIII, killing 24 and wounding more than 100.
On May 30, 2009 two pamphlet-bombs exploded outside an Ecuadorian TV station and ministry: no victims or significant damage ensued.
On May 29, 2016 35 civilians were wounded in an ISIS attack using rockets containing chlorine gas in Iraq’s Nineveh Province.