Bangladesh continues to face a threat from Islamic terrorism. However, the drivers of this phenomenon remain under-studied. Research has traced terrorism in Bangladesh to wider processes of Islamization; a political context marked by conflict between the country’s two main political parties and by authoritarian governance; the institutional weakness of the Bangladeshi security and justice system; and international factors, such as the Afghanistan War, influences from the Gulf, and more recently the Rohingya refugee crisis, as well as the increased interest of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in South Asia. Based on an analysis of the literature and interviews, I argue that while the growth of terrorism in Bangladesh has been a complex process in which all of these factors have interacted, different constellations of them have been decisive at different historical stages.

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