Islamo-fascists in Bangladesh – Whose side are you on?: Javed Anand

 Guest post by JAVED ANAND

[This piece by Javed Anand  was sent to a major daily but not published for undisclosed reasons]

Leaders and the led from a host of rightwing Indian Muslim organisations – Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JEI), All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, All India Milli Council, All Bengal Minority Youth Federation, West Bengal Sunnat Al Jamaat Committee included – have not been sleeping well in the last several weeks. Their angst is on two counts.
One, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) set up by the ruling Awami League in 2009 to investigate and prosecute suspects for the genocide committed in 1971 by the Pakistan army and their local collaborators, Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.
Two, the “atheist conspiracy” to banish Islam from Bangladesh that is supposedly behind the lakhs who have been thronging Shahbagh.
So far, nearly a dozen men including nine currently top-ranking leaders of the Jamaat, the largest Islamist party in Bangladesh, have been held guilty and served stiff sentences. According to the sleepy-heads, the ongoing trials are a sham, a mere cover for the ruling Awami League’s “vendetta politics” against the Jamaat and its youth wing, Islami Chhatra Shibir. That the Jamaat had any hand in the genocide is news to them.

“Islamists are the most principled, pious, god-fearing and kind people on the earth… It’s far beyond their high moral standards to rape or kill someone,” claims a JEI spokesperson in an email. This is news to me. Are the Jamaat-Shibir supporters in India ignorant, wilfully blind, or do we smell theological affinity here to a totalitarian ideology parading as Islamic?

Keep the genocide of 1971 aside for the moment and take a look at what the “most kind” have been up to in recent years.
April 26, 2011: “A judicial commission has concluded that over 200 Hindu women were raped following the 2001 parliamentary election, forcing many terrorized families to flee the country. The acts were allegedly committed by cadres of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami who won the 2001 polls, the report said, citing the involvement of many top leaders and lawmakers of the alliance that is now in the opposition… It lists 3,625 incidents of major crimes, including killing, rape, arson and looting”. (IANS report from Dhaka published by the Muslim news portal, Two Circles).
September 26, 2005: Syed Najibul Bashar Maizbhandari, international affairs secretary of the ruling Bangladesh National Party (BNP) resigns from the party protesting “the government’s failure to act” against the Jamaat-e-Islami (part of the then ruling coalition) which he said had direct links to terrorist activities across the country. The Daily Star published from Dhaka, quoted police records that the over 100 militants who were arrested during 2005 in connection with the bombings (including the simultaneous bomb blasts at 459 spots in 63 districts across Bangladesh on a single day – August 17 – aimed at establishing Islamic rule in the country) either belonged to the Jamaat or its various wings, or had worked with them previously.
November 24, 2005: The BNP expels one of its MPs, Abu Hena, from the party for blaming a section of his own government and party for patronising militants. What’s more, he charged that two ministers “are doing everything for the militants”. Hena further alleged that the Jamaat was directly involved in the emergence of the outlawed Jamaatul-Mujahedeen Bangladesh. His expulsion notwithstanding, BNP’s standing committee member and former minister Oli Ahmed and BNP whip Ashraf Hossain also spoke out, implicating the Jamaat-e-Islami in the rise of militancy in the country.
March 6, 2013: “Over the past week, individuals taking part in strikes called by Islamic parties have vandalised more than 40 Hindu temples across Bangladesh. Scores of shops and houses belonging to the Hindu community have also been burned down, leaving hundreds of people homeless… Survivors told Amnesty International that the attackers were taking part in rallies organised by the opposition Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami (JIB) and its student group Chhatra Shibir. JIB has publicly denied any involvement in violence against the Hindu community”. (A press release by Amnesty International)
April 20, 2013: “Despite High Court directives to the government to protect religious minorities and their places of worships, criminals continue their attacks on minorities across the country. In the latest such crimes, a group of criminals torched a 200-year-old Hindu temple in Rajoir upazila of Madaripur (on April 19)… at least 94 attacks were carried out in March (2013) on minorities, mainly on the Hindus. In total, 187 houses, 162 businesses and 89 temples were attacked and looted and 133 idols were vandalised, according to the statement of a writ petition jointly filed by six rights organizations”. (Daily Star, Dhaka). As always, the JIB will no doubt deny any role in the recurrent targeting of Hindus.
As for “atheist conspiracy”, an entire galaxy of maulanas affiliated to the Imam Ulema Somonnoy Oikyo Parishad, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (Bangladesh) and other religious bodies in Bangladesh have publicly alleged that the Jamaat-Shibir is linked with terrorist Islamist organizations. “People who believe in Wahabism and Moududism (Maulana Abul Ala Maududi was the founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami) are enemies of Islam as they misinterpret Quran and Sunnah”, thundered Ahle Sunnat (Bangladesh) secretary general Syed Muhammad Masiuddoula at a Sunni Ulema-Mashayekh Conference on March 17. (Daily Star).
On one side are the Jamaat which has never polled more than four per cent of total votes and extremist Islamist outfits dreaming of an Islamic state and shariah law. On the other side is the overwhelming majority of Bangladeshi Muslims love “their Islam” but would like it to stay far away from politics. It’s as simple as that. That’s what Shahbagh is all about.

Whose side are you on? The question is addressed in particular to Indian Muslim supporters of the violence-promoting Jamat-Shibir outfits in Bangladesh as much as to the Left Front and the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, both of whom seem to have granted to local Muslims the right to hold the state to ransom as often as they please.

(Javed Anand is co-editor, Communalism Combat, and General Secretary, Muslims for Secular Democracy).

6 thoughts on “Islamo-fascists in Bangladesh – Whose side are you on?: Javed Anand”

  1. Javed Anand is absolutely right in addressing the question to the Indian supporters of Islamo-fascists of Bangladesh. They must tell us whether they support the rapists, butchers of human beings and traffickers. If they are one with the fascist co-religionists from Bangladesh then they are supporting the Hindutva criminals at home who have been indulging in the same kind of crimes against minorities and progressive sections of society. The issue is whether they support like the Hindutva gang in India cleansing of minorities?


  2. Every word of Javed Anand is true. Jamaat and its ideology is fascist. Often times in India it pretends to profess secularism. and makes big noise of supporting secular parties.That is all a sham.Its secular pretensions are as hollow as RSS/Jana Sangh were during the Emergency. In fact their past and present record in Bangladesh and Pakistan shows them as far more dangerous and violently mercilessly anti people than the RSS/BJP. They assisted Pakistan army in killing and raping freedom fighters of Bangladesh and have been committing atrocities in Hindu minorities in Bangladesh. In Pakistan even today they are in collaboration with the Army to re-establish a Ziaul Haq regime.In any nation, there is only one punishment for sedition and seditious conspiracy-death and that is what Jamaatis of Bangladesh, Paksitan and even India deserve–death by hanging


  3. I heard the pejorative islamo-fascists before Used by extreme pro-zionists neo cons in US .Good company.


    1. So whoever raises voice against criminals in Bangladesh (with the banner of ‘Islam in danger’, in their hands) who have been pawns in the hands of pro-army, pro-US ruling elite of Pakistan, is in ‘good company’ of pro-zionist of USA! Can it be denied that goons declaring their allegiance to Jamat-e-Islami Bangladesh and its affiliated organizations have indulged in mass rapes, butchering and what not? Can we, minority victims of Hindutva in India, keep our eyes close to what these goons are doing to minorities like Hindus, Budhists, tribals and Christians? I expect intellectuals like Koya Saheb to debate the issue and not abuse those who are critical of the Muslim religious fanatics who like the Hindutva gang in India are out to cleanse all those who do not subscribe to their kind of religion. I have lost personal friends in Bangladesh, their only crime was that they were street theatre activists raising issues of concern to poor Bangladeshis and minorities. They were attacked with bombs and burnt alive. What do we call these criminal perpetrators? Pious Muslims or Fascists with banner of Islam in their hands. If secular India is our demand, why are we shy of having a secular Pakistan or Bangladesh or Turkey.


  4. The JeI is an avowed enemy of democracy (literally), what more do you expect. Maudoodi opposed the creation of Pak yet moved there in order to turn it into an “Islamic” state. And we all know what the Al Badr did in 1971. It’s no surprise that the JeI-e-Hind is opposing Shahbagh. It’s part of their DNA. Given their amplified voice within the Indian Muslim community and the amount of importance that they get from our political class (not only the TMC or Left, even the Congress) there’s no way out, sadly.

    Thanks for highlighting the issue, Javed. I have been to Shahbagh and the mood at the time was electric. More power to them.


  5. Thanks for saying it straight out, Javed.

    The peace-loving cadres of Hefazat-e-Islam and Jamaat-Shibir have been on the rampage in Dhaka over the weekend. Around 70,000 “activists” descended on Dhaka on Saturday and beseiged the city to press their demand for a blasphemy law- a much larger mobilisation than we saw in April. Their peaceful protest – beating up bystanders, ransacking political party offices and killing political workers, looting shops and homes, attacking and mauling journalists and torching entire neighbourhoods – went on for a whole day and left the city in flames. The police crackdown last night has been violent and brutal as well. At the end of the day, more than 25 people are dead and many hundreds are injured or missing.

    In an unexpected action early this morning, the police have also dismantled the Projonmo Chottor at Shahbagh. Friends feel that the government has taken this step as part of a backstage deal with Hefazat, aimed at placating it and weaning it away from the BNP.

    How will the young leaders of the Gonojagoron Moncha react to this move? When supposedly progressive formations are playing footsie with Islamo-fascists all over the subcontinent, their refusal to compromise has exposed the veins of fascism running just under the skin of mainstream political parties.

    Their voices cannot – must not – be silenced.

    “Action, action, direct action –
    Jamaat shibirer birudhhe – direct action!
    Dhormer byabshayider birudhhe – direct action.
    Judhho apradhider birudhhe – direct action!”

    “Talibaner aar ek naam – hefazat-e-Islam!
    Talibaner pola-paan – hefazat-e-Islam!”

    “Amader asthana – Podda Meghna Jomuna – Pakistan hobena!
    Amader maati, amader maa – Pakistan hobena!”

    “Jamaat shibirer asthana – bhenge dao, pudiye dao!
    Dhormer byabshayider asthana – bhenge dao, gudiye dao!”

    “Judhho oporadhider bichar chai -shasti dao, shasti dao!
    Jotokhhon shasti hobe na, rajpoth amra chadbo na!”

    And the refrain, repeated every few minutes, to the visible delight of the older members of the crowd – veterans of the Mukti Bahini swathed in the national flag, namaazis with green scarves and hennaed beards, women in cotton saris – who leap up and hurl their fists in the air at every long-drawn-out cry of “J-o-o-o-o-y Bangla, joy joy Bangla!” and “Jalo, jalo, aagun jalo! Muktir aagun, abar jalo!”


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