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What's next with Jamaat e Islami Bangladesh?

Written By: Fugstar
24/07/2013 0:30
Burning Issue


It is a challenging time for political Islam generally these days, with the coup in Egypt, #Occupygezi in Turkey and the continuing annihilation policy against Jamaat e Islamic in Bangladesh. Internal shortcomings and external forcings have contributed to this situation and the levels of hate-mongering seem only to grow with every social media fuelled moment.

In Bangladesh the conduct of the War Crimes Tribunals, the wildness and idiocy of much of the Shahbag, the detention and torture of Amardesh editor Mahmudur Rahman and the slaughter of the non-Jamaati protest group Hefazat e Islam are a pretty depressing state of affairs.

Furthermore, the organisational decapitation of JI seems, to this observer, to have served to lobotomise and entrench defensive thinking and disarray. But its not as if other paths haven't been imagined.

Two years ago, Shah Abdul Halim, a challenging voice within the diverse internal party debate,wrote this piece on the formation of a political party. Its worth reading and highlighting the following points.

  • Binning centralised authority
  • Making good on commitments to social justice.
  • The dead end of the fiqh-as-policy approach.
  • Rejecting the control freakery of leadership panels.
  • Delinking Shibir from JI control
  • Rejection of the cadre system
  • Mitigating against the self interests of whole-timers
  • Greater honouring of women, ditching of the segregationist fascination and veil fetish.
Times of relentless attack are difficult to transform towards, as conservative survival tendencies have been seen to dominate. I am not a member of the organisation or any of its fronts but wish non secular political subjectivities and values to flourish. Hence the interest in this time being fruitful. Personally I'm more into kamrangas than tetuls, or the corrolla phlegminists that dominate our very uncivil civil society in desh.
Kamranga is a tangy fruit found in Bangladesh and many other places. Often written off as a peasants fruit and therefore inexpensive, it is good for the skin and bones, and when slices reveals a stellar quality
The rise of Hefazot, quite broad admiration/sympathy yet frustration with their disinterest in power is interesting to dwell on. 
My favourite deshi blogger Mukti has gone into purdah these days, I miss his insight and humanity, and Bloggerganj is poorer without it. He shared these observations, a while back.

As for the developments in the rest of the Muslim world, the point is not that Turkish or Arab or Indonesian politicians are going around being Zia-shoinik. Rather, when Islam-based politicians want to seriously contemplate politics beyond Hudood acts and the illegitimacy of anal sex, they arrive at the kind of synthesis that Zia articulated three decades ago.
In Bangladesh, people who talk about Islamic governance do not talk about social justice. Jamaat has spent 40 years trying to regain their 1970 position. Their biggest so-called alim, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, delivers sermons that are little better than soft-porn. All the others — Islami Oikko Jote and Khilafat Andolon and such like — talk about either declaring XYZ kafir or making sure that women stay indoors. Social justice? I don’t think so.
Maqasid orientated policy explorations anybody?
Its not that there aren't individuals seeking these alternate futures in the organisation, but that they are politically unweighty and effectively gagged by rules, regulations and methods that offer them no leadership or tone-defining scope.

The post Bangladesh Maududian engine does not run on hydrogen cells

Jamaat e Islam are not the be all and the end all of Islamisms and mIslamisms in Bangladesh, but they constitute a significant Ummahstructure. The self dubbing as the only correct Islamic option confuses us all and sends the wrong signals the millions of awesome people outside their organisation and sympathisers.


Some ideas that are doing the rounds and some which are not, for the Manifesto:

  • Reform and expand the War Crimes Tribunals to include all participants and histories at an International level.
  • Campaign against the commodification and inverted practices of dowryism with gusto.
  • Consult widely on a moratorium on international 'development' aid.
  • Commit to meritocracy.
  • Venture beyond Neoliberalistan and Bismillah Capitalism
  • Learn to work in partnership with diverse actors without dominating them.
  • Take an evidenced approach to make justice for the bereaved of Motijheel and other smaller brutalities.
  • Ease off the simpleton model of Nasticness and Cold war attitudes to all forms of socialism.
  • Vacate the space and work with the people as they are.
  • Do what Shah Abdul Halim said?
  • Do what Kamaruzzaman said in his letter?


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