Rise of radical islam socio political issues

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  • 1. Radical Islam in Bangladesh: Socio-Political & Ideological Issues A Presentation by Air Cdre (Retd) Ishfaq Ilahi Choudhury, ndc, psc Dhaka University, 14 October 2011
  • 2. Objective:
    • Historical Perspective
    • Factors Responsible
    • Impact on the Society and the State
    • Impact on International Relations
    • Recommendations
  • 3. Changing Face of Islam in Bangladesh
    • Traditional Islam in Bangladesh
        • Large scale conversion carried out by ‘Pirs’, men of Sufi tradition
        • Syncretic culture with many Hindu, Animist and Buddhist Traditions
        • Bengal’s Secular Heritage: Cultural Synthesis
        • Reformist Movements during British Period: “Faraezi” “Deobandi” Movements
  • 4.
    • British policy of “Divide & Rule” created the first communal rift
    • Politicising Islam during Pakistan period and the rise of Bengali nationalism - marginalising religious parties
    • Emergence of Bangladesh and adoption of secularism as a state principle
    • Violent change in 1975 and the Military involvement in politics
      • Islamising the Constitution
      • Lifting of ban on religion-based politics
    • Rise of Islamist parties
      • Jamaat-e-Islami
      • Islamic Oikyo Jote
      • Islamic Shashontontro Andolon
    Changing Face of Islam in Bangladesh
  • 5.
    • Emergence of Extremist Islamic Org:
      • Harkartul Jihad al Islami (HUJI)
        • Mufti Hannan
      • Jammatul Mujahidin Bangladesh (JMB)
        • Sheikh Abdur Rahman and Siddiqur Rahman“Bangla Bhai”
      • Jagroto Muslim Janata Bangladesh(JMJB)
      • Ahle Hadith Movement
        • Prof. Asadullah Ghalib
      • Hizbut Tawhid
        • Bayzid Khan Panni
      • Hizbut Tahrir
        • Generally English medium, Private Universities, from well-off families
    Changing Face of Islam in Bangladesh
  • 6.
    • Major demands of Islamic Extremist Forces:
      • Turning Bangladesh into an Islamic State in line with 7 th Century Khilafat in Arabia
      • Introduction of Shaaria Laws in place of English Laws
      • Replacing the existing state structure of parliament, administration, judiciary with their version of Islamic statecraft
      • Rejecting modernism and urging to go back to the way of life as envisioned by them in the 7 th century Arabia
      • Employ violent ‘Jihad’ as a means to achieve the end
    Changing Face of Islam in Bangladesh
  • 7. ATTACKS BY SUSPECTED ISLAMIC MILITANTS PRIOR TO MARCH 2005 Sl # Date Target Casualties 1 6 Mar 1999 Udichi's musical programme, Jessore 10 killed, many injured 2 8 Oct 1999 Ahmediya Mosque, Khulna 8 killed, many injured 3 10 Jan 201 Communist Party rally, Dhaka 7 killed, many injured 4 14 Apr 2001 Bengali New Year’s Programme, Ramna, Dhaka 6 killed (one a probable suicide bomber) 5 3 Jun 2001 Church congregation, Goplagonj 10 killed, many injured 6 6 Oct 2002 Simultaneous attack on three Cinema Halls, Mymensingh 21 killed, many injured 7 17 Jan 2003 Faila Pir’s Mazar, Tangail 7 killed, many injured 8 12 Jan 2004 Shah Jalal’s Mazar, Sylhet 5 killed, many injured 9 21 May 2004 Shah Jalal’s Mazar, Sylhet 3 killed, many injured including the UK High Commissioner 10 21 Aug 2004 Awami League (AL) rally in Paltan, Dhaka 21, including one top AL Leader, killed, hundreds injured 11 28 Jan 2005 AL rally, Habigonj AL Leader and former Finance Minister ASMS Kibria and two others killed
  • 8. 19 August 2005
  • 9. Major Terror Attacks Since 19 Aug 2005
    • Oct 3, 2005: 2 killed in bomb attacks on court house outside Dhaka
    • Nov 14, 2005: 2 Judges killed in bomb attack in Jhalakathi 100 Km sw of Dhaka
    • Nov 29, 2005: 11 killed in simultaneous attack on Court Houses in Chittagong and Ghazipur
    • Dec 1, 2005: Suicide bomber killed 2 in Ghazipur Court House attack
    • Dec 8, 2005: 8 killed in suicide bomb attack in Netrokona,
    • May 1, 2007: Simultaneous Bomb Blast in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet Railway Stations
  • 10. Reasons Behind Growth of Radical Islam
    • Clash between Enlightened vs. Fundamentalist Islam (Aligarh vs. Deobandh) since mid-19 th century
    • Government’s policy of Denial
      • “ We are a moderate Muslim state” theme
    • Political Patronage by the Ruling Elites
      • Military Autocrats (1975-1991)
      • Politicians (1991-2007)
    • Patronage from Oil-rich ME States
      • Setting up of Mosques, Madrassas, orphanages, Hospitals, banks etc.
      • Creating an ‘underground’ Islamic economy
    • Migrant worker population getting Cultural Exposure in ME
      • Lonely, depressed and easily exploited
  • 11. Reasons Behind Growth of Radical Islam: Unplanned Madrassa Education
    • Official Patronage of Madrassa Education:
      • Madrassa growth far outstrip the growth of mainstream educational establishments
      • No reform, especially more numerous ‘Quomi’ Madrassas
      • Students passing out from Madrassas are disadvantaged in the public life – therefore, becomes desperate and disillusioned
      • Large number of Madrassa graduates finding no other jobs set up more mosques and madrassas – starting a cycle
      • Government, instead of modernising the curriculum, recognised their Degrees, without consulting the academic community – a case of political expediency
  • 12. Only Aliya Madrassa shown, Quomi not included due to lack of statistics
  • 13. Reasons Behind Growth of Radical Islam
    • Government’s failure to provide adequate educational facilities puts madrassa as an alternative for the poor
    • Dysfunctional Democracy strengthens Islamists’ argument for a ‘Khelafat’
    • Discredited legal aid system and an anti-poor judiciary make ‘Sharia’ Court a viable alternative for the Poor
    • Corruption and poor governance turning people hostile towards traditional concept of state
    • Dream of a “Golden Age” long gone by allures the Muslims for a revival of the past glory
    • Impact of world-wide rise of Islamic revivalism
    • Poverty is a factor, but not the only one
  • 14. Rise of Radical Islam: Impact on the Society
    • Growing religious intolerance:
      • Physical attack on non-conformist writers, poets or academicians
      • Delivering ‘Fatwas’, commonly on poor rural women
      • Declaring non-conformists as ‘Murtaad’ or apostate
      • Marginalization of traditional Islam of South Asia with that of official Saudi version of Islam
    • Increased Communal disharmony
      • Attacking places of worship or religious belief of others, including Muslims, such as Ahmadiyas
    • Increasing visibility of Religious symbols:
      • Grandiose Mosques and Madrassas
      • Increased Religious programmes in Public Media
      • Islamic (Arab) Dress Code becoming more common
      • Politicians using religious symbol to appear more Islamic
  • 15. Rise of Radical Islam in Bangladesh: Impact on Regional and International Arena
    • International Concern since series bombing
      • US and Western concern
      • Formulation of a Counterterrorism Strategy
      • Jt Counterterrorism Exercise
      • Equipment and training
    • Reflections in the International media
    • Anxieties in the Indo-Bangladesh Relations
      • Terrorists' international link
        • Pakistan-Bangladesh-India-Nepal axis
      • Porous border and cross-border arms trafficking
      • Link between Islamist militants and Marxist insurgents?
  • 16. Curbing Radical Islam: Recommendations
    • Encourage Bangladeshi Culture and traditions.
    • Prepare Islamic society to be part of a multi-cultural, multi-religious community of nations.
    • Strengthen democratic institutions. Government to ensure physical and economic security to its citizen.
    • Ensure freedom of speech, opinion and religious practices.
    • In the long term, religion be relegated to the private domain, with the state taking a secular character.
    • Ensure economic prosperity with social justice.
    • Reduce rich-poor divide.
  • 17.
    • Ensure quality education that produce ethical citizen.
    • Reform both Madrassa and English Medium curriculum to reflect national culture
    • Introduce uniform educational curriculum up to at least 8 th grade
    • The Madrassa and English medium stream may start after completing uniform curriculum.
    • The Madrassas be registered with the Government.
    • Madrassa books to be scrutinized to ensure that none of those advocate violence and religious intolerance.
    Curbing Radical Islam: Recommendations
  • 18.
    • Formulate a National counter terrorism strategy based on:
      • Prevent: Take measures so that terrorism cannot take root
      • Prepare: Prepare so that the damage is minimized in case terrorist attack happens
      • Protect: Protect all vital installation as well as the population from the terrorist attack
    • Increase regional and international cooperation in counter terrorism:
      • Regional Counter Terrorism Cell
      • Increased flow of Information regarding terrorist movement, organization and logistics
      • Deny sanctuary and extradite terrorist seeking cover in another country
      • Stricter border control
    • Monitor inflow of arms and money, books, and other propaganda materials from abroad esp. from ME and increasingly from the West
    Curbing Radical Islam: Recommendations
  • 19. We want a terror free South Asia and the World. Let us work against all forms of religious violence, extremism and discrimination. Thank You
  • 20. Thank you, Any Question?