Islamic terrorists unleashed their terror in Bangladesh. They carried out this act of terror on July 1st when Bengali Muslims were getting ready to celebrate Eid, which celebrates the end of Ramadan. The scope of this terrorist assault was unimaginable because such atrocities never take place in Bangladesh.
Seven terrorists entered the Holey Artisan, a bakery famous for its bagels and coffee, at 8:00 pm and opened fire indiscriminately, killing two police officers, Salauddin, and Rabiul Islam, who tried to stop them. They immediately took full control of the restaurant by taking hostages, most of whom were foreigners. During the entire night, some terrorists played a negotiating game with law enforcement while other terrorists were busy killing the hostages and sending photos of the victims to the Islamic State. The terrorists vowed that this was “only the beginning of the storm” to punish Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who wanted to separate religion from the state by removing Islam’s status as the state religion from the Bangladesh Constitution.
A team of army commandos decided to storm the restaurant once they realized that the terrorists were negotiating only to stall for time so that they could kill all the hostages. Finally, a team from the Bangladesh army stormed the restaurant, ending the 11-hour standoff with the seven terrorists who killed 22 hostages, including two adolescents: Tarishi Jain, a 19-year-old girl, and Faraaz Hossain, a 20-year-old boy.
The tears of the victims’ parents joined a wave of anger from not only all the corners of Bangladesh, but also each and every city worldwide, including New York. On July 1st, I went to New York University (NYU), where, in 2014, I launched Bari Science Lab, an anti–Islamic State Campaign. I went to the NYU Bobst Library to solve some calculus problems with Soborno Isaac Bari, known as the “4-year-old Einstein” prior to his meeting with CUNY Lehman College President Ricardo Fernandez on 12 July. In the basement, there is a small cafeteria behind the student lounges, in which a large LCD TV monitor hangs on the wall. As we were passing by the television to buy a Diet Coke at 4:00 pm, I glanced towards the TV, at CNN, then quickly turned away.
Faster than words can convey, I thought, “I think I just saw terrorists killing innocent people in Bangladesh, a country where I was born some 37 years ago!” I published some 25 books long before I turned 25 years old and the plots of all of those books were designed to create a secular Bangladesh. However, after writing Vande Mataram, Bangladesh (a poem), I decided to leave Bangladesh because I felt that I was going to face the same fate as the bloggers who were killed by Islamic terrorists. I came back to reality when Isaac asked me, “Why we are not solving math problems, Daddy?”
Instead of answering his question, I dragged myself to the nearest sofa and faced the TV screen once more. There, I saw more blood, the blood of children: the seven terrorists had killed almost all the hostages, including Faraaz and Tarishi. Faraaz, who was a student of Emory University, United States, had come to Dhaka on his summer vacation and visited the Café with his Indian friend—Tarishi, a student of the University of California at Berkeley. Terrorists started asking Tarishi a series of questions when she failed to recite a verse from Quran. They decided to kill her when they learned that she was a Hindu. They also killed Faraaz for trying to save a Hindu.
We left NYU with the idea that by the time we got home we would forget everything we had seen on TV. I tried to solve some calculus problems (on the train) with Isaac in hopes of forgetting everything. There is no benefit to being able to recall the faces of the two police officers, no benefit to being able to remember the face of Faraaz Hossain, and no benefit to being able to remember the innocent face of Tarishi, all covered in blood. There is no benefit to remembering the blood of so many foreigners who had come to Bangladesh, expecting an enjoyable visit, and returned to their respective homes in coffins. It all flooded back to me when my older son Albert opened the door for me. Immediately the question popped into my mind, “Who will open the door for Sanjeev Jain, Trishi’s father?” I skipped dinner and took sleeping pills but they did not put me to sleep because I felt like the father of Trishi and Faraaz, I felt like the father of all 22 of the people killed by the terrorists.
I decided to take to social media, using the hashtag #PrayForBangladesh to unite all Bengalis to accelerate our anti–Islamic State campaign. In the morning, I went to CUNY Lehman College to make a speech, watch here, detailing the terrorist attack and the terrorists’ use of the Islamic phrase Allahu-Akbar, but I could not finish my speech because of an emotional outburst.
Over the next two days I stood in front of many campuses, holding a banner that read, “Terrorists have unleashed their terror again. This time they decided to kill our guests (foreigners) and our angels (children). Now the question is obvious: Why did seven terrorists kill their fellow human beings in the most barbaric way possible?”
The answer is simple: hate. Hate drove them to chant Allahu-Akbar while shooting Malala, hate motivated them to shout Allahu-Akbar while killing 130 children in a school in Peshawar, hate led two brothers to recite Allahu-Akbar before killing journalists at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, hate allowed them to kill 137 people in the Paris attack, hate motivated Mr. Mateen to kill 50 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. How can we remove such hate from the minds of the people who have committed these disgusting, inhumane acts?
Parents play a big role in instilling hate in their children’s minds—some of whom become terrorists like those who have killed many innocent people at the Holey Artisan. True revenge is only achieved through education and good moral values, and to do this, parents should stop giving their children Taliban training and start training them to become scientists like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. In addition, they should teach them good moral values so that they may become model citizens for the upcoming Muslim generation. The power of education and moral values is not the best way to take revenge, it is the only way, and by doing so we can make Islam great again. It’s time to abandon the illusion, and adapt to the reality of Islam.
Rashidul Bari teaches Computer Science at Princeton University, mathematics at CUNY-Baruch College and physics at New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math & Science. His anti-Islamic State website is: www.bari-science-lab.com