Bangladeshis and the Radicalization Issue

Was alleged Bangladeshi jihadi Quazi Nafis — accused of plotting a car bomb attack at the Federal Reserve building in New York — an outlier or representative of a larger trend?

Perhaps both.

In Bangladesh, “a spread of radicalization” has resulted in Hindu and Buddhist places of worship being attacked, forced conversions and a dramatic decrease in the Hindu population over the years, according to Samir Kalra, Director and Senior Fellow for Human Rights with the Hindu American Foundation.

But the problem doesn’t indicate any sort of radicalization among Bangladeshi immigrants in the US, argued Professor Nazli Kibria, Boston University academic and author of “Muslims in Motion: Islam and National Identity in the Bangladeshi Diaspora.

"In general," she said, "people often mix the British and the American cases, but that kind of radicalization pattern among people who have grown up in the US or Britain is much more common in Britain and there isn’t that much evidence of it here."

Kibria added that religion played a major role in the lives of Bangladeshi immigrants, but found that it tended to integrate them into American society instead of alienating them.

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