Bloodbath in Bangla Daesh

Wednesday 06th July 2016 06:03 EDT

"Everyone else ran away but you couldn't make it. God wants you to die," said one of the gunmen, to baker Miraj, later tying him to a chair with bombs and gas around him. The Friday attack on Holey Artisan Bakery in the diplomatic zone, and one of Dhaka's poshest areas, Gulshan, killed 20 restaurant patrons, all who belonged to different corners of the world.

Five men arrived at the posh bakery, dressed in jeans and T-shirts, at around 8:45 pm, shouting "Allahu Akbar!" before they began to fire indiscriminately at the people present. Customers dove under tables, waiters scampered, everybody did the best they could to save their own lives. A 12-hour face off ensued between the attackers and the law, including the paramilitary and combat services before Operation Thunderbolt came to an end. Four militants were dead, one was captured alive. The venue, once a popular hangout for expatriates and well-heeled locals because of its good food and large, leafy garden overlooking a lake, now reeked of blood.

Nine of the victims were Italian, seven were Japanese experts who had come to the city to find ways to improve its severe traffic congestion, three were students at American universities, one of them of Indian origin, and there was the Bangladeshi woman who worked for non-profit organisations. Also claimed were the lives of two police officers who responded to the attack. A strike that hit a little too close to India, it reflects not just the ways Islamic radicalisation has affected people, but the existent matter at hand; the war of the young against the young. The converted, against the not.

Muslims and Non-Muslims

"We will not kill Bengalis. We will only kill foreigners," yelled one of the attackers before they began to wean out the Muslims present, also giving a chance to Faraaz Hossain, a 20-year old who was with his friends, Tarishi Jain, 19, and Abinta Kabir, 18. However, he refused the offer and stuck with them who said they were from India, and the US.

Witnesses who were let off or were saved later, told his family how he chose to sacrifice is life for his friends. "From what I have gathered, my brother was allowed to leave. But he had gone there with his friends and didn't want to leave them behind. So he had asked 'what about them?' When he was told that they couldn't leave, he decided to stay back. Muslims are not supposed to believe in violence. He was a true Muslim, which is why he stayed back and proved to be one. They were asked to recite prayers. For my brother, it wouldn't have been difficult," Zaraif Hossain, the deceased's brother, said.

Hossain and friend Abinta Kabir were students at Emory University in Atlanta and were enrolled at Oxford College. Emory released a statement saying Hossain had just finished his second year and planned to study business in the fall. Spokesman of the university said, "Emory University has learned that two Emory students, Abinta Kabir and Faraaz Hossain, were among those taken hostage and murdered by terrorists in the attack in Dhaka. Abinta, who was from Miami, was a rising sophomore at Emory's Oxford College. Faraaz, who was from Dhaka, was a graduate of Oxford College and a student at the university's Goizeuta Business School."

Tarishi, a student of the University of Berkeley, is said to be amongst one of the victims who were tortured before they were killed. Her family was settled in Bangladesh for the last 20 years. She was a member of the International Student Association at Berkeley, and had travelled widely to place including Switzerland, Turkey, Spain, and Singapore. She also worked for a student-run business that sells T-shirts to help underprivileged entrepreneurs across the world. Jain and seven other students were completing internship with UC Berkeley's Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies, according to statement from the university. Tarishi reportedly made a chilling call to her father, a little before 6 AM, moments before she and her friends were hacked to death. "I am very afraid... I'm not sure whether I will be able to come out alive. They are killing everyone here... I think we will be killed one by one," she said.

"We have been in contact with her family to provide assistance in any way that we can and are working closely with our other students there to assist them in staying safe and determining whether they leave the area. On behalf of our entire campus, we send our deepest condolences to her family and friends and to all the other families who have suffered such a devastating loss," said UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B Dirks.

Another Indian was also present at the bakery during the attack, however, Doctor Satyapal's fluent Bengali came to his rescue as the terrorists counted him as a Bangladesh national and let him go.

Highly-educated Terrorists, Affluent Backgrounds

The thing about terrorism is that people imagine villainous looking people. Men who swear by their religion, Men who don't blink twice before butchering people by the masses, Men dressed in "traditional", and what can now be identified as, militant attire. After the attack on the Dhaka bakery, and the safety of human lives in Bangladesh, an ISIS-affiliated website released the data on the five militants who carried out their mission. While the ethics behind their agenda to shoot down harmless people remains a whole other argument, a little background search brought the officials face to face with harsh reality.

Nibras Islam, one of the terrorists, who was later killed in a 10-hour face-off with Bangladeshi authorities, was an educated young boy belonging to a rich family in the country. His social media shows him as a well-spoken, pleasant kid who spoke fluent English, loved travelling with his friends, and once even shook hands with Bollywood actress Shraddha Kapoor. Nibras was allegedly brainwashed and radicalised by terrorists to carry out the gruesome attack in the name of his religion.

Several reports suggested all the terrorists were aged between 20 or 21, and belonged to Dhaka's North South University. They belonged to elite families, and had studied in the best schools in the city including Scholastica and Turkish International School. One of them, identified as Meer Saameh Mubasheer, had gone missing between February 29 and March 1. Another young militant Rohan Imtiaz, son of an Awami League leader, propagated on Facebook last year quoting Peace TV's controversial preacher Zakir Naik "urging all Muslims to be terrorists".

"They are all highly educated young men and went to university. No one is from a madrassa," said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan. "It has become a fashion."

There is no generation gap any more. Just a huge crack in culture and a grave misunderstanding of what religion should truly be. Terrorist groups like the ISIS are hitting the very nerve of the world, influencing the youth, bringing them to their side. Are we to blame? For exposing our children to those demons. While we have Faraaz, Abinta, and Tarishi on one hand, we have Nibras, Meer, and Rohan on the other. Maybe this time, world leaders take the attack as a sign to unite and call for a collective and fundamental attack on those who preying on the vulnerable.

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