Bangladesh plans to ban ‘terrorist’ Jamaat-e-Islami

Secularism is a founding pillar of the country, says Deputy-Foreign Minister.

April 14, 2016 05:24 am | Updated November 17, 2021 04:59 am IST - DHAKA

Bangladesh is planning to ban the Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s biggest Islamist party, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said on Wednesday.

“Jamaat is a full-terrorist organisation and the BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party), which has had an alliance with Jamaat, is a half-terrorist organisation. The BNP needs to be reformed. But Jamaat needs to be banned. After all, a terrorist organisation like the Jamaat cannot be allowed to conduct normal political activities in the country,” Mr. Alam said while meeting a group of international journalists at his office on Wednesday.

Mr. Alam’s comments against Jamaat came a week after secular blogger Nazimuddin Samad was hacked and shot dead in Dhaka. Though Jamaat has said it is not involved in the murder, a confrontation is brewing between the group and the law enforcement authorities.

Global efforts

Bangladesh has seen a rise in extremist violence over the last few years and the murder of Samad on April 6 has created a tense situation in the country right before the traditional Bangla celebration of Pohela Boishakh.

In recent months, several activists and minority communities were targeted in the country by Islamists.

Mr. Alam said Bangladesh, which is a party to the Saudi Arabia-led struggle against global terrorism, wants concerted global efforts to defeat terrorism.

However, he pointed out that “tension within the Islamic world” is also responsible for the inability to deal with growing terrorism.

The Election Commission of Bangladesh has already banned Jamaat from contesting elections. “We are looking forward to the statements from the War Crimes Tribunal on Jamaat’s role in the war crimes of the 1971 [liberation] war and will move ahead from there [to ban the outfit],” Mr. Alam said.

His comments against the Jamaat and the BNP highlight the deep political divide in Bangladesh between the ruling party and the opposition. . Challenging criticisms that the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is cracking down on political opponents, Mr. Alam said: “Our commitment to secularism is a founding pillar of Bangladesh, which cannot be understood from outside without understanding the unique Bangladeshi conditions.

“Some of the political forces in the country have been against the foundational principles of Bangladesh. Such forces will have to be defeated.”

Mr. Alam acknowledged that India and Myanmar have been strong partners of Bangladesh in dealing with terrorism that threatens South Asia.

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