On Saturday 01 July, 2017, Bangladesh observed the 1st anniversary of Gulshan Holey Artisan Cafe attack, the deadliest alleged militant attack in Bangladesh’s history that claimed 35 lives. Allegedly five armed militants carried out the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka in the evening on 01 July, 2016. They initially took the people inside the cafe hostage before killing many of them; the victims included Italians, Japanese, Indian, American and Bangladeshis. Thirteen people, including three foreigners, were rescued from the restaurant after a successful operation led by the 1st Para-commando Battalion, an elite force in the Bangladesh Army the following morning. A special unit of police called Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit (CTTC) has been investigating; however, the police are yet to submit charge sheet on this case.
Holey Artisan attack is considered as a watershed event in Bangladeshi politics like the 9/11 of the USA that has changed the political landscape of the country. So, why is the Holey Artisan attack so significant? For researchers and social analysts, it is important because it was for the first time that the terrorists attacked the elite enclave and the diplomatic zone in Bangladesh, and because the terrorists were from rich, secular-educated backgrounds. However, as far as the political reality is concerned, the Holey Artisan has given the tyrant Hasina regime a license to go after all sorts of Islamic movements and Islamic activists harshly; even extra judicial killings are now justified in the name of counter-terrorism. Though, the true objective of the ‘terrorists’ is still unknown, and the objective of the government is awfully clear, i.e. to exploit terror events and to terrorize Muslims so that they remain silent while people are subjected to a corrupt and an unjust ruling system. Holey Artisan didn’t help Islam or Muslims in any respect but it has certainly helped the Hasina government by providing a pretext for her to join American’s war on Islam.
In the post Holey Artisan era, Muslims of Bangladesh are facing enormous pressure to compromise their deen and beliefs. Normal actions, like praying salat regularly at mosque or growing beard, are considered suspicious. Instead of addressing the problems of governance, poverty, and mass alienation of people from the ruling class, the government is trying to “reform” Islam as a counterpoise to terrorism. Although, there is no positive correlation between terrorism and mosque-madrasa establishments, the government has already started preparing a standardized Khutba or Friday prayer sermon through the Islamic Foundation for all mosques in Bangladesh to prevent the spread of any ‘terrorist ideas’. All these are nothing but part of the American project to reform Islam and to reduce the deen of Allah (Swt) to a mere bundle of rituals. The government has already spent Tk. 260 million on this project. Media houses are also under huge pressure and are subject to unfair scrutiny for publishing any positive news about Islam and Islamic movements. The regime has deliberately created an atmosphere of fear where no one dares to raise their voices though the corruption and looting of the ruling thugs have crossed the limits by all standards.
For years, America wanted to extend its vicious war on Islam into Bangladesh and finally the incident of Holey Artisan paved the way for that expansion. Against this backdrop, we believe that the leader of secular capitalist states, America, who sees Islam as the main threat to its hegemony, was behind the Holey Artisan attack to bring disgrace to Islam and to delay the emergence of the Second Rightly Guided Khilafah in Bangladesh. For Bangladesh, United States simply wanted to replicate their Pakistan project where it is now clear that various undercover and dubious organizations, backed by US’ ‘black water’ and CIA agent Raymond Davis, were behind most of the terror attacks in that country.
Knowing the fact that defeating Islam ideologically is impossible, the enemies of Islam (USA) and its local agent Hasina government are doing their best to crush the advocates of Islam who present Islam Ideologically and comprehensively. America and Hasina would need events like Holey Aritsan more especially at a time when the flaws and deceptions of capitalism are unfolding and people are losing confidence on the secular democratic system around the world. Muslims must be aware of this heinous plot against Islam and they must raise their voice louder to defeat any sort of conspiracy against the deen of Allah (swt). While the secular capitalists are busy to make most out of the ‘Holey Artisan’, Muslims should stay firm in their perseverance with Dawah and endeavor to re-establish the Khilafah. Muslims must remind themselves the promise of Allah (swt) that He has sent His Messenger Muhammad (saw) with guidance and correct ideology (Islam) so that it can be dominant over all other ideologies even though the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) hate it.
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
Member of the Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in Wilayah Bangladesh