07/05/2016, 15.48
BANGLADESH
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Christian and Muslim experts: Dhaka terrorists have been brainwashed

by Sumon Corraya

The perpetrators of the café attack were highly educated youth. ISIS recruiters prefer to lure new militants online because they can find people who understand radical motivations. Because of the lack of parental attention, young people spend many hours watching television, where they can listen to the sermons of radical preachers.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - The main reason for the rise of terrorism in Bangladesh, which culminated in the massacre of foreigners and Bangladeshi at the Holey Artisan Bakery Café in Dhaka, is the brainwashing of young people.

Speaking to AsiaNews about last Friday’s violent incident, Christian and Muslim experts said that in a society increasingly devoted to economic success, parents spend a lot of time away from home.

The lack of adequate parental attention has the unexpected consequence that many young people – even those from rich families who have no material concerns and difficulties – can be enticed by some famous jihad preachers.

The attack was carried out in Dhaka’s diplomatic district. Twenty people died (including nine Italians), two policemen and six attackers, mostly from well-off families.

In a country where people are still dismayed by the violence that started with cries of "Allah is great", a prayer vigil was held yesterday in memory of the victims of Islamic terror.

Some people realise that the attack carried out in the exclusive neighbourhood of Gulshan shows a previously unknown side of the story: what drives militants is not just money.

"Many believe that people become Islamic militants for money,” said blogger Shuvo Michael D Costa, “but I think the reason is the boundless happiness of Paradise after death [promised by extremist ideologies]. No matter if one is rich or destitute: it is blind faith,” he said.

According to the blogger, Islamic teaching leads to such violent tendencies. "Parents send their children to be educated at mosques. There, many imams teach to hate people of other faiths or non-believers. They promise many wives in heaven, if the boys embrace terrorism."

For Fazlul Bari, a well-known Muslim journalist, "Islamic State militants prefer to recruit on the Internet because online they can find well-educated young people who understand their motivations."

Fr Ajit V. Costa, secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Christian unity and interreligious dialogue, goes further. “In Bangladesh we have always had a culture of tolerance. But what shocks us is that this culture is going to be destroyed. The purpose of the various militant groups is to impose Islam by force. The only thing we can do is pray."

"There is a big gap between religious education and Islamic teachers,” said Salima Ahmad, head of the Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The latter “should teach the right doctrine, but the lack of the right guidelines leads to militants."

The reference is to three famous Islamic preachers who have become real stars in the country: Anjem Choudary, Shami Witness and Zakir Nayek. Investigators have discovered that at least two of the five Dhaka attackers followed them online and shared the sermons of these so-called " Isis recruiters " on Facebook and other social media.

Young people can listen to the messages from home, on the small screen. Some of them told AsiaNews the reasons that make them attractive is that "They cite the Qur‘an. Their speeches make sense. Zakir often points out the weaknesses of other religions, so young people believe that Islam is better than other faiths.”

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