Washington Post | Joanna Slater | May 3, 2019
NEW DELHI — It was one of the last places anyone expected the Islamic State to strike.
Just weeks after its decisive defeat in Syria, the radical group claimed responsibility for coordinated attacks more than 3,000 miles away in Sri Lanka, an island nation in the Indian Ocean.
The attacks, which killed more than 250 people, were notable both for their brutality and their location. That’s because South Asia has proved relatively resistant to the brand of extremist violence peddled by the Islamic State, with a few exceptions.
Among those is Afghanistan, home to the only official Islamic State affiliate in the region. And a disproportionate number of people from the tiny archipelago of the Maldives left to fight for the group in Iraq and Syria.
India, meanwhile, has the second-largest population of Muslims in the world, but experts say that around 100 citizens are believed to have traveled to the self-declared caliphate, fewer than the number of such recruits from the Netherlands. The estimates for the number of people from Pakistan and Bangladesh, both Muslim-majority nations, who went to join the Islamic State are lower than the figure for Germany.