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Family Failure, Islamic Brainwashing to Blame for Student Terrorists, Bangladeshi Bishop Asserts

bangladesh terror
Policemen patrol outside the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O'Kitchen Restaurant as others inspect the site after gunmen attacked, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 3, 2016. |

A Roman Catholic bishop in Bangladesh said that the failure of families to raise up their children with morals, along with Islamic brainwashing schools that target students, are key reasons for the rise of radical Islamic terror.

"Parents do not care about children: there is a failure of the family. They have given them only money and good life without taking care of their education, ideas, mentality. They have exposed them to the ideological propaganda that promised them to become heroes or have Heaven, by killing. There is a generation gap," His Exc. Mgr. Gervas Rozario, Bishop of Rajshahi, told Fides News Agency in an interview.

"And we cannot forget the issue of madrasas (the free Koranic schools) where young people are brainwashed, training them to radical ideas. This is really a national problem," he added.

A major hostage situation in Dhaka, Bangladesh, earlier in July carried out by seven young terrorists between the ages of 20 and 22 left 20 of the hostages dead.

The young militants behind the hostage situation were all from wealthy or upper middle-class families and had attended private international schools, Fides reported. Rozario also made note of that fact, and said that people in Bangladesh are broadly aware of the high-scale upbringing of the attackers.

The bishop said that it is up to Muslim leaders to speak to young Muslims and draw them away from a path of violence.

"There are Bangladeshi Islamic leaders who have condemned the violence, but we must do more in the country and do it together. All the healthy forces must unite, starting from the institutions, to bring back the values of peace and tolerance at the center of the political agenda and defeat the terrorist threat together," Rozario said.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan confirmed in a separate interview with AFP that all of the attackers were highly educated and came from wealthy families. Khan offered that "it has become a fashion," when asked why the men decided to turn to terror.

Taj Hashmi, a Bangladeshi who teaches security studies at the Austin Peay State University in the United States, added that this is not a new phenomena, pointing out that a number of the Saudi hijackers behind the September 11 attacks in America were also from wealthy families.

"Marginalized and angry people from the higher echelons of society have been swelling the ranks of Islamist terrorists for the last 30-odd years," Hashmi said.

Mir Hayat Kabir, the father of one of the attackers, said in an interview with Prothom Alo daily that he felt his son had been brainwashed.

"I felt in my heart that he was under someone's spell. We were good parents yet they took him away from our home," he said.

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