When seven terrorist gunmen stormed the Holey Artisanal Bakery in Bangladesh on Friday, they began a 12-hour siege that ended with them massacring 20 people. They were reported to have singled out and killed foreigners as well as those who could not recite the Quran.
One American-Bangladeshi dual citizen was killed along with nine Italians, seven Japanese two Bangladeshis and one Indian. Two policemen and six of the gunmen were killed and a seventh was arrested. Other hostages were rescued.
This morning two bombs went off in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad, killing at least 70 people crowded in busy cafes.
Here are four reasons you should care when attacks like this strike around the world:
Jihadist terror can strike anywhere at any time.
Last week severe attacks hit Bangladesh, Istanbul, Turkey as well as Baghdad, Iraq, Kabul, Afghanistan and Kiryat Arba, located in the disputed territories in Israel. So far this year we have seen terror attacks hit at least 26 countries globally with no sign that the slaughter will abate.
This is about Islamist theocracy.
The terrorists complained to staff that foreigners were imperiling Islam in Bangladesh because of immodest clothes and a taste for alcohol. They forced staff in the bakery to say regular prayers and study the Quran. They released a group of women who were wearing hijabs and shouted Allahu Akhbar. Their motives are clear: This is about a Islamist ideology that seeks to destroy any way of life other than Islamist theocracy.
The specific terrorist group doesn't matter.
Before the Islamic State there was Al-Qaeda. Before Al-Qaeda there was the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat e-Islami, the progenitors of the Sunni Islamist project to restore an idealized version of a worldwide caliphate and implement Islamic sharia law as the state law – whether by violent or non-violent means. The attack in Bangladesh was reportedly carried out by Jamaeytul Mujahdeen Bangladesh, according to the home minister of Bangladesh, a group which reportedly has no affiliation with the Islamic State.
Different Islamist terrorist groups have formed and splintered for decades, using local grievances as recruitment tools and will continue to be created and destroyed until the ideology is defeated.
Appeasement Does Not Work
Bangladesh has seen a spate of killings of secularists, liberal bloggers and rationalist thinkers over the past year and has had problems with extremism for much longer.
The government has failed to act robustly to defend liberal values, seemingly due to fear of upsetting hardline religious sentiment.
Yet that approach has only led to an increase in the number of murders, which have now graduated to larger scale attacks.