Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pleaded with Islamist extremists to stop killing in the name of religion Saturday after 20 hostages were killed in a siege at a Dhaka restaurant.
‘Islam is a religion of peace. Stop killing in the name of the religion,’ Hasina said in a televised address to the nation in which she declared two days of mourning.
‘Please stop tarnishing our noble religion... I implore you to come back to the rightful path and uphold the pride of Islam.’
The prime minister, whose government has been unable to stop a growing wave of attacks on foreigners and religious minorities, urged a nationwide effort to combat extremism.
She asked people to set up ‘anti-terrorism committees’ in districts and sub-districts across the mainly Muslim but officially secular country.
The 68-year-old premier said the people behind the attacks were trying to ruin Bangladesh.
‘By holding innocent civilians hostage at gunpoint, they want to turn our nation into a failed state,’ she said.
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