There’s a rising tide of political violence in Bangladesh — one that has gone mostly unnoticed by scholars and analysts. Yet the country presents both a potential threat, as violence by fundamentalist Islamist groups rises, and a prospective model for a democratic, majority-Islamic state. As a battleground over the role of Islam and politics, Bangladesh will be a crucial proving ground for those who see Islam as an inspiration for development, democracy, and peaceful social relations—and those with a fundamentalist vision for society who want to export terrorism to neighboring India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. As a potential bellwether for South Asia more broadly, Bangladesh deserves a second look.
Nowhere in the world does Islam live in peace, its adherents willingly follow the cult’s inherent call to violent supremacism.