Blending reportage and analysis, Allchin investigates the Bangladeshi body politic to discern how Islamist radicals hope to reshape their country.
A perennial frontier for Islamic orthodoxy, Bangladesh is witnessing an alarming rise in Islamist-inspired assassinations and terrorist attacks. In July 2016, the world's attention fell upon a cafe in a leafy Dhaka neighbourhood as the barbarity of a distant 'Caliphate' was visited on this corner of South Asia. Twenty-nine died in the assault on the Holey Bakery, affixing an unbidden nightmare to the image of a supposedly tolerant Muslim nation. Joseph Allchin probes Bangladesh's recent and distant past as he investigates how it has become the latest front in world extremism. Delving into the local and global differences between political actors, he exposes the determining influence still exercised on most allegiances by the long aftermath of the country's independence struggle, and scrutinises the careers of two long-term rivals: current prime minister Sheikh Hasina, and Khaleda Zia, who held the office in 1991-6 and 2001-6. This unerring investigation examines the relationship between radical Islam and the Bangladeshi political class, exposing the forces driving the conditions for extremism that bedevil the country's present and future.
Joseph Allchin is a journalist who has covered Bangladesh for the Financial Times, The Economist and other publications.