On October 17, 2012, 21-year-old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis from Bangladesh was arrested in a sting operation by the FBI, for plotting to bomb the NY Federal Reserve.
It was a shameful day for Bangladeshis around the world as headlines on American and international media emphasised the unsuccessful terrorist’s nationality.
Now, five years later, we are being forced to endure another bout of shame as Bangladeshi Akayed Ullah attempted an attack inside the busy Port Authority Terminal in Manhattan, New York.
While it is unfortunate that these two young men happened to be Bangladeshi, we must remember that terrorism has no nationality, race, or gender.
Akayed Ullah has done a grave injustice to the millions of hard-working Bangladeshi immigrants all over the world, and particularly the Bangladeshi diaspora in America.
It goes without saying that Bangladeshis condemn the attack most fervently, and that Akayed’s actions do not reflect our collective attitude.
As we struggle with militancy within our own borders, we recognise the gravity of the incident and fully empathise with New Yorkers and people everywhere who have to live with the horrors of terrorism.
But we cannot let the actions of a few individuals skew the image of Bangladesh in the eyes of the world.
Because that fact is, Bangladeshi immigrants have contributed tremendously all over the world, and it is nothing if not unfortunate when the actions of terrorists bring undue scrutiny and discrimination unto others.
We hope that this incident will be the last of its kind.
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