When compared to his peers in the terrorism community, Akayed Ullah was most certainly a loser. The wannabe jihadist attempted to blow himself up at the New York City port authority bus terminal by strapping a pipe bomb to his body. But the bomb — made with firecracker powder and lit with a Christmas candle — was so low intensity that, far from creating widespread terror, he didn’t even end up killing himself. In the weeks that have followed since, the 27-year-old Bangladeshi migrant has received more ridicule than fear or praise.
The attempt may have been quixotic, and there’s little possibility of Ullah getting another shot at jihadist fame. But he is representative of a new generation of young militants from Bangladesh — one that calls not for jokes, but for serious scrutiny.