The past decade has seen a marked policy focus upon Bangladesh, home to nearly 150 million Muslims; it has attracted the attention of the world due to weak governance and the rising tide of Islamist violence. This book provides a broad-ranging analysis of the growth and impact of political Islam in Bangladesh, and reactions to it. Grounded in empirical data, experts on Bangladesh examine the changing character of Bangladeshi politics since 1971, with a particular focus on the convergence of governance, Islamism and militancy. They examine the impacts of Islamist politics on education, popular culture and civil society, and the regional and extraregional connections of the Bangladeshi Islamist groups. Bringing together journalists and academics - all of whom have different professional and methodological backgrounds and field experiences which impact upon these issues from different vantage points - the book assesses Bangladesh's own prospects for internal stability as well as its wider impact upon South Asian security. It argues that the political environment of Bangladesh, the appeal of Islamist ideology to the general masses and the dynamic adaptability of Islamist organizations all demonstrate that Bangladesh will continue to focus the attention of policy makers and analysts alike. This is a timely, incisive and original explanation of the rise of political Islam and Islamic militancy in Bangladesh.
Ali Riaz is Professor and Chair of the Department of Politics and Government, at Illinois State University. Previously, he worked as Broadcast Journalist at the BBC World Service in London. Recent publications include Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh: A Complex Web, also published by Routledge. C. Christine Fair is Assistant Professor in the Center for Peace and Security Studies (CPASS) in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, USA. She was previously senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. Her recent books include Fortifying Pakistan: The Role of U.S. Internal Security Assistance.