Category : Bangladesh

(NYT) We’ll Grow Again’: Bangladesh Cafe Attacked by Terrorists Reopens

By the time the ordeal ended, 10 hours later, 22 people, including two police officers, were dead, the restaurant spattered with blood and shattered glass.

For months, Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter was a spooked place. Restaurants were empty night after night. Foreigners no longer left the safety of their compounds. Young Bangladeshis found themselves wondering who they could trust: Several of the terrorists came from wealthy, cosmopolitan families, not so different from the young elites who died in the siege.

In an effort to break this trance, the restaurant’s owners decided to reopen the Holey, known for its flour-dusted baguettes and homemade pasta. One of the owners, Ali Arsalan, said he was inspired in part by the staff: When he paid them two months’ salary and suggested they return to their villages to recover from the trauma, they said they would prefer to go back to work

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Asia, Bangladesh, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Terrorism, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT Op-ed) Tahmima Anam–Is There Safety in Piety?

At what point would I rather die?

It has been about two months since the terrorist attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery that led to the deaths of 20 people in my hometown, Dhaka, Bangladesh. By all accounts, the city ”” at least the part of the city where the attack took place, and where I have lived for the last two decades ”” is irrevocably changed. There are checkpoints all over the neighborhood; many restaurants and cafes have been shut down; foreigners are sending their families home and schools are yet to reopen. In the evening, the streets are quiet and sad.

But there is an abundance of talk. Everyone is still talking about the incident, playing it over and over in conversation, airing the accounts that have emerged from that night. One story in particular has transfixed everyone: According to some reports, there were two types of victims ”” the foreigners who were killed immediately by the terrorists, and the Bangladeshis who were murdered later when they refused to acquiesce to the demands of their captors….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Bangladesh, Books, Death / Burial / Funerals, Islam, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(LA Times) Bangladesh reeling after second wave of attacks possibly tied to ISIS

It has been nearly a year since Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-born American citizen, was hacked to death on the street in this South Asian country’s teeming capital, part of a series of grisly killings of secular writers who criticized Islamic fundamentalism.

But in the last four months, Bangladesh has been stunned by a second wave of deadly attacks ”” against religious minorities, security forces and foreigners ”” that is unusual even with the nation’s long history of political violence.

The more recent killings have raised fears that Bangladesh is entering a disturbing new phase of instability inspired from abroad. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for several of the attacks and is stepping up its efforts to recruit from this country of 160 million people, the vast majority Sunni Muslims.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Bangladesh, Terrorism

(NPR) Another Bangladeshi Blogger Hacked To Death For Secular Views

Niloy Chakrabati, a Bangladeshi blogger who used the pen name Niloy Neel to criticize Muslim extremism, was hacked to death by a machete-wielding gang who broke into his apartment Friday. He is the fourth such social media activist to be killed in the South Asian country so far this year.

“They entered his room on the fifth floor and shoved his friend aside and then hacked him to death,” Imran H. Sarker, head of the Bangladesh Blogger and Online Activist Network, or BOAN, tells Agence France-Presse.

According to The Associated Press: “Hours after the assault, Ansar-al-Islam, which intelligence officials believe is affiliated with al-Qaida on the Indian subcontinent, sent an email to media organizations claiming responsibility for the killing and calling the blogger an enemy of Allah. The authenticity of the email could not be independently confirmed.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Bangladesh, Blogging & the Internet, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(RNS) After death threats, Bangladeshi atheist relocates to US

An internationally renowned atheist activist has relocated from India to the U.S. after receiving death threats from an extremist group that has claimed responsibility for at least one of three machete killings of South Asian atheists this year.

Taslima Nasrin, a Bangladeshi gynecologist, novelist and poet, arrived in New York state last Wednesday (May 27). The move was orchestrated by the Center for Inquiry, an organization that promotes secularism and has been working with atheist activists in countries where atheism is unprotected by blasphemy laws.

“Extremist groups have been pretty public that they want Taslima killed,” said Michael de Dora, CFI’s director of public policy and president of the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief. “In the last couple of weeks this has been ramping up and that’s why we were so concerned.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Atheism, Bangladesh, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(LA Times) Why has Bangladesh become a killing ground for bloggers?

Machete-wielding assailants followed Ananta Bijoy Das on Tuesday morning when he left his house in the northeastern city of Sylhet and hacked him to death, police and friends said.

Das wrote for Mukto-Mona, the blog founded by Avijit Roy, a U.S. citizen who was killed in a similar attack outside a book fair in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, in February. Another writer who protested Roy’s killing on social media, Washiqur Rahman, was struck down on a Dhaka street in March.

Activists lay blame for the killings on ultraconservative Islamists who have gained prominence recently in the overwhelmingly Muslim country. They have complained about the slow pace of investigations and have accused authorities of allowing a culture of impunity to take hold.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Bangladesh, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(Reuters) Bangladesh pays tribute to American blogger Avijit Roy killed in machete attack

Bangladeshis on Sunday paid tribute to an American critic of religious extremism killed in Dhaka, in the latest of a series of attacks on writers who support free thinking values in the Muslim-majority nation.

Avijit Roy, a US citizen of Bangladeshi origin, was hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants on Thursday after a book fair, sparking widespread condemnation from home and abroad.

His wife and fellow blogger Rafida Ahmed suffered head injuries and lost a finger and remains in hospital in a serious condition. The attack comes amid a crackdown on hardline Islamist groups, which have increased activities in recent years in the South Asian nation of 160 million people. No arrest has been made.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Bangladesh, Blogging & the Internet, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Violence

(AP) U.S. blogger Avijit Roy hacked to death in Bangladesh

A prominent U.S. blogger, known for his writing against religious fundamentalism, has been hacked to death by unidentified attackers in Bangladesh’s capital, police said Friday.

The attack on Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born U.S. citizen, took place late Thursday when he and his wife Rafida Ahmed, who was seriously injured in the attack, were returning from a book fair at Dhaka University.

It was not known who was behind the attack, but Roy’s family and friends say he was a prominent voice against religious fanatics and received threats in the past. No groups have claimed the responsibility.

The local police chief, Sirajul Islam, told The Associated Press that the assailants used cleavers to attack Roy and his wife, who is also a blogger.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Bangladesh, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(Lambeth Palace PR) Archbishop visits Anglicans in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Bangladesh, Globalization, India, Pakistan, Religion & Culture

Christian and Muslim religious leaders discuss pluralism and dialogue in Dhaka

Some 50 priests and 50 imams, plus a number of lay people, met last Saturday in Savar (Dhaka), at a Qur”˜an research centre to discuss ”˜Leadership in a pluralistic society from the Muslim and Christian points of view’.

Organised with the support of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), the seminar was chaired by philosopher Obidur Rahman. The Italian ambassador to Bangladesh, Ms Itala Maria Marta Occhi, and Ms Kilmeny Beckering Vinckers, Australian deputy high commissioner, were present at the event.

In his address, Rev Paul Sishir Sarkar, bishop of the Anglican Church of Bangladesh, said that society today is increasingly pluralistic, and that mutual understanding and dialogue are increasingly important. In this context, an open exchange of opinions can be advantageous to everyone. For this reason, it is even more important for Christians and their leaders to lead a life according to their faith, with honesty, humility and openness to dialogue, for “Muslims are our neighbours,” he said, and as leaders, “we should teach our people to love them”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Bangladesh, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Economist on Microfinance: A better mattress

It is hard for people in the rich world to imagine what it is like to live on $2 a day. But for those who do, the problem is often not just a low income, but an unpredictable one. Living on $2 a day frequently means living for ten days on $20 earned on a single day. The task of smoothing consumption is made more complicated if there is nowhere to store money safely. In an emergency, richer people might choose between dipping into their savings and borrowing. The choice for the great mass of the unbanked in the developing world is limited to whom to borrow from, often at great cost.

That they can borrow at all is partly due to the rapid growth of microfinance, which specialises in lending small amounts to poor people. Several big microfinance institutions (MFIs) also offer savings accounts: Grameen Bank in Bangladesh is a prominent example. But the industry remains dominated by credit, and the ability to save through an MFI is often linked to customers’ willingness to borrow from it. Of 166 MFIs surveyed in 2009 by the Microfinance Information Exchange, a think-tank, all offered credit but only 27% offered savings products. Advocates of a greater variety of financial services for the poor argue for more balance.

This may be on the horizon. More MFIs are becoming interested in the potential of savings, thanks partly to the global financial crisis….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Asia, Bangladesh, Economy, Globalization, Personal Finance, Poverty, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--