January 02, 2007

Fang of fanatics

The above is the title of a booklet published by the News and Views Publications in 2001 during the end of Awami Leagues 5 year long tenure. Bangladesh was battered by religious (Islamic) terrorists, who with their politics inside the mosques tried to establish a reign of terror with gruesome killings, and bombings in public gatherings.

The booklet, with graphic photographs portrays the atrocities and the politics of BNP in sheltering the alliance of religious parties like Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Oikyo Jote (IOJ) to counter Awami League. This was widely circulated by the then Awami League government.

This booklet defines the Islami Oikyo Jote (IOJ) as:
A conglomerate of of religious zealots and Islami fanatics who think that democracy is an alien ideology and should therefore be replaced with military dictatorship.
According to the booklet the Jamaat and the IOJ openly declared that they are followers of Osama Bin Laden and want to make Bangladesh another Afghanistan. They even take pride in identifying them as Taliban.

Five years and hundreds of bombing incidents later some of those extremists are behind the bar. However the politics with these religious opportunists continues. Recently the claimed secular party in Bangladesh politics Awami League reached an MOU with Khelafat Majlish, a significant part of IOJ for a political alliance as a 'tactical electoral ploy' for the next election. The price Awami League will have to pay is to establish these agendas:

1) Certified Alems (Islamic clerics) will have the right to issue fatwas (Islamic religious edicts) if the grand electoral alliance comes to power.
2) A bar on enacting any law that goes against Quranic values,
3)A ban on criticisms of Prophet Muhammad.
4) Those who do not believe in the assertion that the Prophet of Islam is the last messenger of Allah would forfeit their right to be known as a Muslim, an oblique reference to the Ahmadiyya community.

According to Khelafat Majlish chief Azizul Huq, his party's soul target is setting up Islamic rule in the Muslim majority Bangladesh. He was arrested in February 2001 as he led and supervised the beating of a policemen on duty by his followers in the Noor Mosque of Mohammadpur during a general strike (hartal). He is also a critique of NGOs for their role of emancipating women. He was later released because of political pressure. Now Awami League's unprecedented turn towards incorporating religion into politics is termed as backstabbing by the progressive Bangladeshis. Some say that there is a US$15 million deal behind this.

Naeem Mohaiemen explains in Drishtipat how Hasina is playing the Islamic political card. His analysis ends with a despair:
Things fall apart, the center cannot hold. Ten years from now, there may be no Hasina, Khaleda, Tarique, Joy, Jalil, Bhuiyan. There may be a whole new set of players—who may be vibrant new jacks, or the same liquid in a new bottle. But the one sure thing is that the Islamists will be much stronger. Today they are kingmakers, tomorrow they will be kings.
We can already see the way the political polarization is happening. The nomination of fewer women and unbalanced representation of the minorities for the upcoming election is only the first phase.

The future looks bleak for Bangladesh at this moment. Will Bangladeshis let their future destroyed by these politics of power and insanity?


Post a Comment