The harrowing attacks in Istanbul and Dhaka on 28th June 2016 and 1st-2nd July 2016 respectively are a wicked reminder of the danger of terrorism across the world, mainly perpetrated by Jihadist groups such as Islamic State (ISIS) all in the name of Islam. Despite Islamic teachings against suicide and killing innocent people in battle, terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, or “ISIS,” have used a political form of Islam known as “Islamism” to justify a profane war of terrorism. Even after Bin Laden’s death in 2011, Al Qaeda still has its hold, and the other, more recently formed group ISIS has attempted to initiate a war with the United States and the West.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (aka ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) has been continuing to rise to power in the Middle East. ISIS, an Islamist organisation, was initially formed in Iraq and seeks to bring about a war against the West centre in Syria. ISIS is believed to have developed an ideology even more extreme and brutal than other terrorist groups.
On 28th June 2016, more than 230 were seriously injured in the gun and suicide bomb attack on Istanbul’s biggest, increasing the death to 44, as stated by the officials. The attacks were carried out by three men who arrived in a taxi and started firing at the terminal entrance, late on Tuesday. They blew themselves up after police fired back.
The attacks not only affected the people of Istanbul but citizens from countries like China, Jordan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Iran and Ukraine were also killed in this horrific act of terrorism. The bombings have been linked to ISIS with PM Binali Yildirim also speculating the same. “It became clear with this incident again that terrorism is a global threat. This attack, targeting innocent people is a vile, planned terrorist act,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters at the airport.
Turkey officials believe the men identified by state media as being from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan entered Turkey about a month ago from the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, bringing with them the suicide vests and bombs used in the attack.
The world hadn’t recovered from the Istanbul attacks that another horrific attack took place at the Holey Artisan Bakery in the district of Dhaka, in which at least 20 hostages and two police officers were killed, marks a rising up of ambition for Bangladesh’s Islamist militancy, which has until now carried out assassinations mostly of critics of Islam and members of religious minorities. The attack also suggests that Bangladesh’s militant networks are internationalising, a key concern as the United States seeks to control the growth of the Islamic State.
Xenophobia was a factor in the attacks as mainly the attackers were targeting Westerners. The militants were heard complaining that foreigners, with their skimpy clothes and taste for alcohol, were impeding the spread of Islam. “Their lifestyle is encouraging local people to do the same thing,” a militant said.
Istanbul and Dhaka attacks have a similar pattern, what British counter-terrorism officials term “a marauding terrorist firearms attack”, first seen in the bloodshed that took place in Mumbai, 2008.
The attack immediately garnered support on social media with the hashtag #PrayForTurkey going viral. By 29 June, it had been used more than 300,000 times on Twitter, by people wanting to show solidarity with Turkey and the victims.
Nearly half of the victims in both the attacks killed and targeted were Westerners. The others have been civilians in Arab and other non-Western countries. In the past two years, self-declared Islamists have targeted Hindus, intellectuals, secularist writers and bloggers. Both the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are keen to build their violent troop in Bangladesh, a country with one of the world’s largest Sunni Muslim populations and this attack thus marks a dramatic turn in Bangladesh’s fight with the Islamist militancy.
In both the attacks, the countries’ leader have been accused. After the Istanbul attack, leading international media analysis suggested that Turkey was paying a price for former Prime Minister and now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s wilful blindness to ISIL threat. In Bangladesh, Hasina’s government has been accused of mishandling the Islamist threat. Counterterrorism experts say the Hasina’s government has wasted more energy consolidating its position and suppressing its opponents than tackling the spread of Islamist violence in the country.
An excerpt from an editorial in the Hindustan Times, “The Hasina government … suffers a crisis of credibility and legitimacy when it comes to its fight against extremism and radicalism. … It will also have to shake itself out of denial even if investigations show that this attack may not have been carried out by the IS.” Hasina declared two days of mourning post the assault.
Violence is not going to benefit anyone. The terrorism crisis needs to have a long-term and permanent solution. Political leaders should realise their duties and join hands to fight the war against terrorism.