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Bangladesh's Homegrown Problem

Dhaka and the Terrorist Threat

People attend a candle light vigil for the victims of the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O'Kitchen Restaurant, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 3, 2016. Adnan Abidi / Reuters

In the past 18 months, a series of attacks on secular bloggers, public intellectuals, Hindu and Buddhist priests, and a few foreigners has shaken Bangladesh. The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for much of the bloodshed. The group’s formal claim aside, it is not entirely clear whether it masterminded the attacks. What is clear, however, is that the government of Sheikh Hasina Wajed has continued to deny that the terrorist group has a presence in her country at all.  

After a strike on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s tony Gulshan neighborhood that led to 20 deaths last week, Hasina publicly condemned the “heinous attack” and promised to stamp out terrorism in the country. However, in her 12-minute speech, she still failed to acknowledge the presence of ISIS in Bangladesh. She did at least seem to grudgingly accept that the Gulshan attack represented an escalation from what she referred

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