Bangladesh: Next Target for the Islamic State?

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A Buddhist monk was discovered Saturday with his throat slit in a monastery in Bangladesh. The killing follows a recent pattern of gruesome murders, including those of two prominent gay activists, a law student, a university professor, and a Hindu tailor in April.

Villagers found 75-year old Maung Shue U Chak in a pool of blood in the sacred Buddhist temple.  Numerous bloody footprints reveal that the victim was most-likely hacked to death by at least four perpetrators. Police say he was probably killed on Friday.

U Chak lived alone in the temple after deciding to become a full-time monk. Sources say he received numerous death threats when he became a monk just one and a half years ago, but he did not take them seriously.

Police say no motive has been found yet, and no one has taken responsibility for the attack.

This pattern of assaults on minority groups has absorbed the country and inspired fear in its citizens. Buddhists make up less than one percent of Bangladesh population, which is about 90 percent Muslim.

The government believes extremist groups are behind these attacks, however these groups are “rarely brought to justice,” says Tanvir Chauwdhury, a reporter for Al-Jazeera.

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has claimed responsibility for some of the recent killings including the attacks on Shia Muslim mosques and the murder of two foreigners last year. Even so, the government blames smaller, local groups on the attacks instead and refuses to believe that ISIS has a presence in the country.

Many believe if the government does not act soon, larger and more threatening Islamist groups will view Bangladesh as fertile ground for their operatives, pushing their agenda on both the minority and majority populations.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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