In response to the terrorist attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on July 1 and 2, Illinois State University’s Professor of Political Science Ali Riaz was interviewed by CNN, CNN international, Aljazeera, BBC World Television, Canadian TV, Financial Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and an interview for CCTV-America.
During the attack, a group of gunmen stormed a Spanish restaurant located in the diplomatic enclave in the capital on Friday evening. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. The gunmen took hostages, many foreigners; 20 of the hostages were killed. The 15-hour ordeal ended on the morning of Saturday Dhaka time when the police and military ended its security operation. Six attackers were killed while 23 hostages were freed.
Riaz underscored in his interviews to the international media that the attack, especially hostage taking, was an unprecedented event in the history of Bangladesh. It also shows a dramatic shift in the tactics of the militant organizations.
In the past months, there have been repeated machete attacks on bloggers, academics, monks, and Hindu priests. There were more than 40 targeted killings in the past 18 months. International terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) claimed responsibilities for these killings, while the government has denied the existence of any transnational terrorists. Riaz further argued that the government needs to come out of denial mode and address the issue of terrorism.
Riaz is the author of Islam and Identity Politics Among British-Bangladeshis: A Leap of Faith and Bangladesh: A Political History Since Independence.