The simultaneous hurling of as many as 500 bombs in 63 of the 64 districts of Bangladesh by the militants of Jama'atul Mujahideen on 17 August (2005) only testifies to the iron grip of the Islamic militants over the country - a fact long denied by the Khaleda-Nizami alliance government. Exploding bombs in almost 500 densely populated places across the country in the span of less than one hour is not something to be taken lightly. Such a horrendous incident only goes to show how well-equipped the religious militants of Bangladesh are, in terms of technical and strategic skills. The Islamic militants who wreaked havoc to the western world by detonating bombs in Madrid last year (2004) or in London this year (2005) are nothing compared to their counterparts in Bangladesh. The Islamic militants of Bangladesh have even accomplished what the Harkat or Mujahideen could not in Pakistan - the breeding ground of Islamic fundamentalism.
None of the 500 bombs exploded simultaneously all over the country was powerful enough to cause much damage to life and property. This was because the militants were inclined to terrorise the nation and not kill anybody right now. Jama'atul Mujahideen exploded the bombs with the sheer intention of making the administration and the countrymen take cognisance of their all-pervasive grasp. They did not think it fit to hide the reason why they did it. Hence the leaflets issued by Jama'atul Mujahideen written in both Bengali and Arabic found near every single explosion claiming responsibility and advocating establishment of Islamic Sharia law!
The leaflet titled 'A Call for implementation of Islamic law in Bangladesh' said, 'In a Muslim country there can be no laws other than the laws of Allah. But it is a matter of great regret that in a land inhabited by 90 percent Muslims the laws of Allah are not enforced in Bangladesh. On top of it from the districts to the capital city in the courts of law justice is dispensed according to laws based on a man-made constitution. This constitution has been framed by some sinful learned men. Whereas men should serve Allah and follow His laws they have instead put forward a challenge by framing a constitution of their own.
'The state powers in the country are wielded by a junta inimical to Allah. Because the process under which the head of the state or other rulers are elected is totally anti-Islamic. The Quran or Hadis do not recognize any democratic or socialist system that is enacted by infidels and non-believers. These systems are in direct contravention of Allah's laws. The laws of the land are the brain-children of infidels, non-believers and Jews precisely to destroy Muslim mores and faith. It is time for the Muslims to stand up and react.
'Jamatul Mujahideen discards the existing judicial system of the country and they stand for the demand for upholding Allah's laws and faith in Allah. At the same time it rejects the constitution that conflicts with Allah's laws and calls upon all to abandon the so-called election process and run the affairs of state according to the laws of Allah and the traditions of the prophet. JM is firmly committed to establishing Allah's Deen in this land of Allah. ...
'The workers of Jamatul Mujahideen in Bangladesh are soldiers of Allah and they have taken up arms to enforce Allah's laws as did our prophet, his companions and all
* Paper presented at the International Conference entitled 'Towards a New Enlightenment' organised by 'Council for Secular Humanism' on October 27-30, 2005 at the State University of New York in Buffalo, NY
fighters of Islam from time to time. Jamatul Mujahideen wants to put an end to irreligious activities and anti Islamic beliefs and customs and secure Allah's pleasure by firmly establishing Tawhid or faith in one Allah. This they believe will bring in happiness for you in both this life and afterlife.*
JM has asked Bangladesh government twice before through leaflets and publicity materials to establish Islamic rule. Each time the government has arrested their workers but JM did not retaliate. This is the third call of JM for Islamic rule in Bangladesh. This time if the government does not establish Islamic rule and instead arrest Muslims for seeking Allah's laws and suppresses Ulemas (learned in religion) the JM will go into action against concerned people and authorities.
An editorial published in 'Daily Times' of Pakistan mentioned that, 'The returning Jihadis from Karachi in 2001 added the latest edge to the Islamic sweep in Bangladesh.' The editorial said, 'The tide of Islamic violence is rising in Bangladesh and it is more lethal than anything we have known in Pakistan. One Mufti Fazlul Haq Amini, who wants complete shariah imposed on the country, sermonises at Dhaka's Jamia Qurania-Arabiyya and is able to gather nearly 600,000 bicycle rickshaws around the mosque, blocking traffic for hours. He writes in Bangla and Arabic but also knows Urdu, which he learned at a seminary in Karachi during his days of jihad. His fatwas run into several volumes. Judging from the number of students he has in his Dhaka seminaries, he can be called Bangladesh's equivalent of Pakistan's Mufti Shamzai who was murdered in Karachi in 2004.
'The two main parties hate each other somewhat like the PPP and the PMLN in Pakistan. The Jamaat-e-Islami, which agitated against independence in 1971 and remains close to Pakistan - and was banned after independence for its role in the war - has slowly worked its way back to political legitimacy thanks to the BNP. Since 2001, the Jamaat-e-Islami has been a crucial part of a governing coalition dominated by the BNP. In 2001, as Pakistan started outlawing militant jihadi organisations, Bangladesh began its tilt into tough Islam. The returning jihadis from Karachi in 2001 added the latest edge to the Islamic sweep in Bangladesh.
'The dreaded Harkatul Jihad al-Islami (HUJI), whose leader Qari Saifullah Akhtar was arrested from Dubai for his involvement in the attempt to kill President Pervez Musharraf in 2003 and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in 2004, has been active in Bangladesh since 1996, as part of a policy of regional jihad radiating from Kandahar under the patronage of Mullah Omar and Al Qaeda. Because of the impunity offered to HUJI by the Bangladesh state, other vigilante groups like Bangla Bhai in the north and Jangi Bhai took the field and created their own domains of power before they were arrested.
'Six years ago when HUJI tried to kill a poet named Shamsur Rehman, the government had to clamp down on HUJI. Around 44 members of HUJI were arrested. Two men, a Pakistani and a South African, claimed they had been sent to Bangladesh by Osama Bin Laden with more than $300,000, which they distributed among 421 madrassas. The seminaries in Bangladesh, now numbering 64,000, have been receiving Saudi funds and stiffening their brand of Islam.'1
Jama'atul Mujahideen has unequivocally conveyed in the manifesto what it wants to do. It has called for nothing short of jihad against the People's Republic of Bangladesh. What is all the more ironic is that the four-party alliance government has blamed it on the main opposition Awami League as well as India, whereas the Islamic militants have left leaflets near each explosion claiming the responsibility in its entirety.
* See appendix-2 for complete text of the leaflet
Moreover, those who where arrested in connection with bomb attack most of them admitted their link with Jamat-e Islami. Huge number of books, booklets and other propaganda materials of Jamat-e Islami were recovered from their den. Thankfully, unlike in the wake of the bomb attacks in Mymensingh in December 2003, the government has not yet gotten columnists like Muntassir Mamun and myself arrested and put on remand blindfolded with the intention of forcing us into 'claiming' responsibility of the vandalism.
Rejecting their link with bomb blast leaders of Jamat-e-Islami- a component of the ruling alliance- have disdainfully opined that the Awami League has done it with the purpose of frustrating the upcoming SAARC Summit, in much the same fashion as the BNP did it after the killing of former finance minister Shah A M S Kibria in January 2005. The Jamat leaders were even more specific in their allegations and held responsible India's intelligence agency RAW and Israel's Mosad. Likewise, the fundamentalist allies of the four-party government have blamed the bomb explosions on left political organisations, intellectuals and some democratically oriented newspapers, albeit the police chief of the country held Jama'atul Mujahideen responsible for this in his interview on BBC on 20 August.2
Majority of those arrested in connection with the August 17 bomb blasts are leaders and activists of the fundamentalist militant outfits Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Jagroto Muslim Janata Bangladesh, Ahle Hadis Andolon Bangladesh and Harkatul Jihad. While on remand, many of them have confessed in the joint interrogation cell of the intelligence agencies to their involvement in the explosions. They have also implicated a handful of militant leaders including their spiritual leader Abdur Rahman, at whose instance the explosions were carried out. At the same time, they have named quite a few foreign trainers including Pakistanis and Sudanise.3 Some of them have said that they will make confessional statements in the court.4
The intelligence experts of the country have opined that this manoeuvre only signalled larger-scale attacks in the days ahead. Two militant leaders arrested in Satkhira are reported to have said that the August 17 bomb blasts across the country were meant to merely signal an imminent jihad.5
Jama'atul Mujahideen is no frail organization. Its activists were arrested in Dinajpur while making bombs in May 2002 and in Joypurhat while fighting against the police in August 2003. The arrestees did not deny their involvement with Jamat-Shibir, a component of the alliance government. The books and documents seized from the house of Mujahideen leader Montejar at Khetlal in Joypurhat served to explain the close link of these clandestine militant outfits to Jamat-Shibir no matter how desperately the latter denies it, vis-à-vis their connection with international terrorist networks of the fundamentalists. Newspapers published reports on what the police seized from this house. ' the police seized electoral leaflets of former Jamat chief Abbas Ali Khan, a letter from Sirajul Islam, a student of Baniapara Ebtedayee Madrasa, seeking financial assistance from Jamat's party fund Baitul Maal, receipts of subscription for Baniapara Ahmadia Madrasa mentioning amounts of subscription received and a copy of the 13 February 2005 issue of the Daily Bhorer Kagoj, whose banner headline read Rajshahi University closed sine die, 2 killed in JCD-Shibir clash, more than 150 injured. The police also informed that they seized a number of books and publications belonging to Jamat-Shibir and diaries of Shibir activists with the party monogram printed on them just the following day.
' Mujahideen leader Montejar owns the house where the militants assembled for training. About one month before the killing of five disciples of a pir (spiritual guide) in the village of Begunbari under Kalai police station in the district of Joypurhat on 20 January 2003, Jamat activists manoeuvred in the vicinity under the leadership of Montejar, who reportedly declared that anti-Islamic activities would be resisted wherever they took place. Consequently, the savage killing was carried out there. At the same time as openly blending with Jamat leaders and organising rallies and processions, the absconding militant leader took it upon himself to raise the armed outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen. He would regularly train more than a hundred people in military and guerrilla tactics in his house, according to local sources. Besides, the police have also seized a letter sent to Montejar by district Jamat Secretary Abdul Matin Sardar giving a plethora of organisational instructions, which confirm the link between Jama'atul Mujahideen and Jamat-e-Islami.'6
The police seized from Montejar's house a number of books on jihad authored by Mowlana Masud Azhar, commander-in-chief of Pakistani militant outfit Joish-e-Mohammad. An Indian Airlines aircraft (IC414) was hijacked in December 1999 demanding Masud Azhar's release.7
Many investigative reports published in different news papers of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan exposed cross country network of Islamic militants. Recently South Asian News-Feature service (internet edition) published a news on Pakistan based Lashar-e-Taiba militant's activities in Bangladesh. Quoting 'The Hindu' of India a SAN-Feature Service report mentioned : 'Abdul Karim Tunda, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let) militant wanted in India in connection with a series of bomb blasts in Delhi and neighbouring States between 1996 and 1998, is believed to be alive and operating from Pakistan.
'Disclosing this, The Hindu newspaper said today Tunda was so far suspected to have been killed in a blast in Bangladesh a few years ago.
'Abdul Razzak Masood, the alleged LeT chief coordinator in Dubai arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi police last Monday, allegedly disclosed during his interrogation that he came across Tunda during a visit to Pakistan in November-December 2003. He met Tunda in his shop opposite Markaj Taiba main gate at Muridke in Lahore, a place close to the LeT headquarters.
'Abdul disclosed that Tunda has two wives and two sons. The younger one, Shahid, helps him in the perfume business, while the elder son is a LeT activist. An expert in manufacturing bombs, Tunda is wanted in 33 cases under the Explosives Substances Act in Delhi and nearby States.
'Tunda was also instrumental in brainwashing Jalees Ansari, a doctor with the Birhan Mumbai Municipal Corporation, who triggered over 40 blasts in Mumbai and Hyderabad during 1992 and 1993. When Jalees was arrested in January 1994, Tunda fled to Bangladesh and set up his hideout at Jatra Bari in Dhaka, said The Hindu.
'He also visited a madarsa in Dhaka, where he apparently ran a research centre to develop improvised explosive devices. Quoting intelligence sources, the daily said, the building where he lived housed several fundamentalist organisations, which published inflammatory magazines.'8
The hoodlums belonging to militant outfits have to be set free no matter how often the police arrest them, thanks to their strong bond with powerful government ally Jamat. The alliance government did not hesitate to get hapless journalists like me arrested and harassed on police remand. However, this never happened to the activists of the militant outfits of Jamat. The police gave journalists a first-hand account of their experience of interrogating the Mujahideen activists arrested in Khetlal - 'whenever we question them, they start bellowing Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great). Being Muslims by faith, what can we then do?'9 Besides, the police have to frame puny charge sheets against the arrested militants at the directive of higher authorities. When cases are moved to the court, the police are rarely available to bear witness against them. Judges, therefore, have no option but to acquit the militants. Exactly the same thing happened to the Jama'atul Mujahideen militants arrested on 1 April 2004.
There is no evidence whatsoever that the alliance government, since coming to power in 2001, has tried a single militant fundamentalist on grounds of bomb blasts, killing, repression, or dishonour of the country's constitution or sovereignty. Moreover, the Harkatul Jihad militants arrested and imprisoned during the Awami League (AL) rule have been set free and the cases filed against them are being treated like unclaimed corpses in the mortuary thanks to the magnanimity of the alliance government. Even during the AL rule, very puny and weak charge sheets were framed against the arrested militants.
The nation witnessed ruling party leaders grinning on television on 17 August. Asked by journalists about the intelligence failure regarding so many explosions, the state minister for home affairs was all smiles saying 'You could think like that!' Watching a beaming law minister on television on the same date, it appeared as though nothing as interesting as the countrywide bomb blasts had ever happened in Bangladesh. The good-looking law minister was babbling in a way that the viewers could hardly make anything out of it. From his words it appeared as though the bombers were quite unidentified as in case of Madrid and London and hence it was imperative to urge Interpol and Scotland Yard to come and arrest them.
From the words of ruling party leaders as reflected on television, it appeared as though they would really do something this time to arrest this trend. However, we know very well that those who have been arrested will be set free sooner than later and will prepare for the next attack with renewed strength. The kind of threats issued against the administration, judiciary and all infidels only goes to show the vigour of the fundamentalists. Secretary General of the ruling BNP has spoken of administrative measures against them, whereas each and every tier of the administration is composed of fundamentalists. It is far from truth that the government, whose cabinet consists of fundamentalist war criminals like Nizami, Mujahid and S Q Chowdhury would take any measure against more than 70 militant outfits like Mujahideen and Harkat.*
A lot has been written in the press about the failure of the police and intelligence agencies of Bangladesh from time to time. The police and intelligence agencies of an impoverished country like ours may be lacking in modern facilities and logistics. However, there is no reason to think that they are incompetent in terms of merit. They had to either set free those arrested in connection with bomb attacks at the directive of higher authorities or frame stunted charge sheets against them so that they could easily be granted bails as in the past. The Khulna police arrested notorious militant leader Bangla Bhai back in 2002. However, he too had to be set free later.10 In a similar fashion, all of the militants arrested with arms, bomb-making materials and seditionist publications were set free in later periods.
In the wake of the brutal killing of former finance minister and top AL leader Shah A M S Kibria through grenade attacks in last January, the Habiganj police arrested a local leader of Shibir. As a sequel, the local Police Super and Officer in Charge were transferred and the Shibir leader was set free in no time at all. This time also, the Officer in Charge of Satkhira was served a show cause notice because of disclosing information to journalists regarding the militant connection of the arrestees. Newspapers ran stories on how the local leaders of the ruling alliance moved to free the arrested militants in various parts of the country this time as well.11
We are aware as to why the Jamat-e-Islami intends to shift the blame onto AL, India and Israel after the bomb explosions. However, we cannot fathom why left-leaning intellectuals like Badruddin Umar or Farhad Mazhar are intent on ruling out the involvement of Jama'atul Mujahideen and the likes of it in the explosions. Like Jamat-e-Islami, they too have invented Indian, Israeli and American links and implicated the AL. They argue that since al-Qaeda's target is American imperialism, it cannot have anything to do with Bangladesh's JMB or its likes and hence with the countrywide explosions. This is also because the activities of the militant fundamentalists of Bangladesh do not run counter to imperialism.
Notwithstanding, reports of western intelligence agencies including CIA have often made mention of the link between al-Qaeda and Taliban and the Pakistan chapter of Jamat-e-Islami. It goes without saying that there is little or no political and ideological difference between the Bangladesh and Pakistan chapters of Jamat-e-Islami. Regardless of the differences in names and locales, the main goals of all the militant Islamic organisations of the world are to establish Islamic Sharia law based on the Koran and Sunnah in all the Muslim-majority countries and to create opportunities for their network to be expanded in non-Muslim countries. In either case, the fundamentalists are inclined to resort to terrorism.
Those who talk of intelligence failure with regard to the August 17 bomb blasts across the country are indeed living in a fool's paradise. When the top leaders and ministers of the government openly blame the explosions on AL and left organisations, the police and intelligence agencies have no difficulties as to whom to arrest and whom to set free. Thanks mainly to the pressure created by the mass media, the government arrested nearly 400 persons in the first fifty days after the explosions this time around. Out of 400 at least 50 militants admitted their link with Jamat-e Islami. The investigative reports carried in the press in the fifty-day period speaks volumes about the bonds of militant fundamentalists with allies of the four-party government and their dreadful networks both inside and outside the country. In this case, the newspapers of Bangladesh have duly played a significant role in the interest of national security.
The manoeuvre that we witnessed on 17 August is but the work of only 2 or 3 of more than 70 militant outfits active in Bangladesh, and through this JMB warned the government for the third time that unless Islamic Sharia law based on the Koran was imposed in Bangladesh, they would wage jihad. Both Jamat-e-Islami and Islamic Oykko Jote have warned the government against rounding up any capped and bearded persons. Our worst fear is that the government may soon crackdown on leaders and activists of the opposition political parties on charges of August 17 bomb blasts, thereby letting the real perpetrators go scot-free. At this opportunity, many militants have thrown away their Islamic outfits, shaven their beards and started wearing shirts and pants.
In pursuance of the August 17 explosions, an intelligence agency is reported to have cautioned the government that anti-government forces are planning to launch a much larger-scale attack and kill non-Muslim religious leaders. The intelligence report submitted to the government says, 'with a view to intensifying anti-government campaigns and boosting public opinion against the government, some elements are planning on attacking and killing priests and clerics of non-Muslim religious communities. Three non-Muslim religious institutions, namely National Dhakeshwari Temple at Lalbagh, Japmala Church at Tejgaon and Dharmarajik Buddhist Temple at Kamalapur, have been made targets of the attacks.'12
We believe that the intelligence agency has gotten such reports published in newspapers like Ittefaq and Inqilab with the sheer intention of upsetting AL and left political parties. Their attempt is meant to serve two purposes. The trend of harassing religious minorities with the purpose of transforming Bangladesh into a monolithic Muslim state set off in the wake of the advent of the four-party alliance to power in 2001 still continues unabated. Once this plan is materialised, the already endangered religious minorities will be facing extinction and it will pave the path for the extra-constitutional forces to grab power.
Nowhere in the world have the militant fundamentalists ever come to power through democratic means. The Taliban came to power in Afghanistan by waging a bloody civil war. We witnessed the ultimate manoeuvre in Bangladesh on 17 August. The grenade attacks on Kibria's meeting in Habiganj in last January, Opposition leader Sheikh Hasina's meeting on 21 August last year or British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury in Sylhet in May last year (2004) are all sequential episodes of a militant manoeuvre. And it won't be long before such shows will be regularised. We have every reason to believe that armed jihad will be waged even before the next general elections.
It is widely said that fundamentalism in most of the Asian and African countries spreading its roots because of poverty and ignorance of the people. There is no doubt about the fact that young jobless people in poverty striven Muslim dominated countries are easy prey of Islamic Militancy. But it's not the only reason. We have seen the presence of Islamic Militancy in many countries of economic affluence. After the collapse of socialist powers in Russia and Eastern Europe USA emerged as the supreme power, able to do any kind of intervention in any country on any issue and there is no balance of power. Those who wanted to oppose capitalism and US imperialism in cold war era they received all kind of support from Soviet Union and socialist countries of Eastern Europe. Even China in the era of Chairman Mao supported political forces that opposed imperialism. After the collapse of socialist camp Islamic Fundamentalism emerged with an ideological weapon pretending to fight back US interest but targeted anything related with progressive western ideas which include democracy, secularism, women's right, scientific achievements and humanism.
A few verses of Koran and Hadith provided the spiritual strength of Islamic Militancy. In the West Islamic fundamentalists are taking advantage of the identity crisis of young Asian and African Muslims. Most of them born in the western countries, know very little about their national and ethnic identity, facing various types of discrimination, looking for ideological support are easy prey of fundamentalism. When they discover Islam as an effective weapon to fight for political and spiritual power they just grab the idea of Jihad. Leaders of Bangladeshi Jamate Islami are visiting western countries quite often particularly UK & USA. We have a large Bangladeshi population in London and New York. Taking advantage of western democracy these fanatic leaders are preaching hate against the West in the name of Islam.
Bangladeshi Islamic militants are receiving huge fund from the Middle East countries. A few of the militant leaders who were arrested in connection with the serial bomb blasts of 17 August admitted that, they received fund from different Islamic NGOs, based in Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries. Recently the Asia times Online has disclosed that at least 10 Islamic NGOs are channeling funds to various Islamist extremist outfits in Bangladesh. Quoting the Intelligence agencies, the Asia Times said, 'while the bombs of August 17 did not signal any great technical expertise they were crude, homemade bombs the geographic spread of the operation signaled that a well-established terror network was behind the violence.
The investigative report said "The serial blasts forced the Bangladesh government, which has for years been denying that Islamist extremists are present and active in the country, to admit the involvement of Islamists in the violence.
Quoting "a report prepared by Bangladeshi intelligence agencies", the Asia Times said it has "confirmed long-suspected links between Islamic NGOs and the mounting extremist violence in the country."
"The report, which was prepared after a six-month investigation into the working of Islamic NGOs, named 10 NGOs with links to extremist activity. The NGOs are the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), Rabita Al-Alam Al-Islami, Society of Social Reforms, Qatar Charitable Society, Al-Muntada Al-Islami, Islamic Relief Agency, Al-Forkan Foundation, International Relief Organization, Kuwait Joint Relief Committee and the Muslim Aid Bangladesh", said the Asia Times.'13
David Montero, a correspondent of the 'Christian Science Monitor' tried to explain 'How extremism came to Bangladesh'. In an article on bomb blast of 17 August he wrote, 'For years, they gathered in hidden training camps, mosques and madrassahs, learning how to use weapons and build bombs. In their diaries they scrawled slogans of political alienation. On Aug. 17, their ideology culminated in a series of nearly 500 bomb blasts that shook the nation and killed three people.
'In the aftermath of the attacks, Bangladesh is confronting a realization long suspected but consistently overlooked: Islamist militant groups have taken firm root here, demonstrating a widespread, highly co-ordinated, and well-funded network. The government, after consistently denying the threat, recently blamed Jama'atul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB), for the attack.
'Bangladesh is not supposed to be a breeding ground of extremism. Although one of the world's poorest countries, it is often lauded as a development success story. Poverty rates have declined, life expectancy is up, and the economy has consistently grown by 5 percent annually for years above average for most developing nations.
'But remarkable development and extremism are not mutually exclusive. The rise of JMB, observers say, shows how homegrown militancy, invigorated by foreign funds and leadership radicalized in Afghanistan, has flourished here because of growing economic inequalities and acrimonious politics that have crippled the functioning of democracy.'14
We are watching the mushroom growth of Islamic NGOs in Bangladesh. Before present four party alliance Govt. assumed power in 2001 the number of Islamic NGOs was less than four hundred. During the last four years this number has increased up to eleven hundred, which is almost half of the total NGOs operating in various fields in Bangladesh. The social welfare minister of Bangladesh is Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid is the general secretary of Jamate Islami.
Besides, receiving funds from the Middle East countries Jamate Islami has set up a unique economic network in Bangladesh. Eminent economist Prof. Abul Barakat of Dhaka University spent several years in tracing Jamate Islami's growing financial power. Quoting Prof. Barakat David
* See appendix-1 for the list of Islamic Militant organisations active in Bangladesh
Montero wrote, 'What he discovered frightened him. "Their central vision is to capture state power," he says, adding the party generates almost $200 million in annual profit, according to his analysis of Jamaat-owned businesses, which he says runs the gamut from banks and insurance companies to technology and media concerns. "They are an economy within the economy a state within a state," he says, with some profits used to fund militant organizations like JMB.'15
Many of us mistakenly believe that militant fundamentalists will never be able to conquer Bangladesh because peace and harmony have existed in the country for thousands of years and Sufis preached Islam here. As a matter of fact, Muslim Sufis always placed love, knowledge, spiritualism and humanism above religious rituals. We have seen similar humane values in the writings of Hindu saints like Kabir, Tulsidas, Mirabai, Chandidas, Ramkrishna and Swami Vivekananda. Spiritualism and humanism achieved highest level of accomplishment among different faiths in India and Bangladesh.16'
Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Kashmir have an even richer Sufi legacy. The last three decades have witnessed the militant fundamentalists obliterating the humanistic society and the Islam of world peace and humanity that were constructed over centuries by Sufis like Fariduddin Attar, Jalaluddin Rumi, Mahmood Shabistari, Sheikh Sadee, Hafiz and Jami in Iran, Rahman Baba, Abdullah Ansari, Qader Baidel and Hakim Sanair in Afghanistan, Ghulam Farid, Waris Shah, Abdul Latif and Data Ganj Baksh in Pakistan, and Lalladed, Nuruddin Baba and Habibullah Nawsheri in Kashmir.17'
We have also observed some Sufi religious leaders of Chechnya and Central Asia, who are regarded as reaching the height of spirituality, resorting to arms and violence following in the footsteps of the Wahabis. Albeit the general people of these countries with rich Sufi tradition are not fundamentalists as in case of Bangladesh, the fundamentalists could not be prevented from going to power or Talibanising the society.
If we confine our protests to calling a strike or two and organising a few meetings and processions resolving that the people of Bangladesh will never tolerate the fundamentalists' grab of power, the imminent disaster cannot be prevented. The progressive, democratic forces of the country shall have to get united, rally the common people behind them and put up an all-engulfing resistance against the religious militants and fundamentalists. This should not suffice; the peace loving people of the world will have to be united against the outrageous rise of fundamentalism.
If the government is to show a semblance of transparency, it should not be content with cracking down on JMB or Harkatul Jihad only. It should, of necessity, ban Jamat-e-Islami and Islamic Oykko Jote, which actively sponsor and promote militancy in Bangladesh. Putting the top Jamat leaders on remand and interrogating them there will help the administration identify the perpetrators of bomb blasts.
We fervently hope that the political parties believing in the spirit of liberation that is secular democracy and leaders of professional bodies and civil society will have serious discussions among themselves and come up with a national programme in order to save the country from the ferocious clutch of the militant fundamentalists without further ado.
1. The Daily Times, Pakistan, 22 August 2005
2. The Daily Jugantor, Bangladesh, 21 August 2005
3. The Daily Sangbad, Bangladesh, 22 August 2005
4. The Daily Samakal, Bangladesh, 24 August 2005
5. The Daily Samakal and Sangbad, Bangladesh, 19 August 2005
6. The Daily Bhorer Kagoj, Bangladesh, 20 August 2003
8. SAN-Feature Service, August 27, 2005. Exposing Tudas activities in Dhaka this report said : 'In Dhaka, Tunda lived with the pseudonym Abdur Rehman and Suleiman. He had great influence on the Darul students, some of whom would form a security ring around him. Tunda also worked for an organisation that allegedly patronised fundamentalist outfits in Bangladesh . In 1997, he was found living in the Mohammadi Housing Society in Dhaka.
The police learnt more about his activities after two of his Bangladeshi students, Mati-ur-Rehman, code named Moosa, and Akbar, code named Haroon, were arrested from Sadar Bazar railway station in Delhi in February 1998 in connection with the serial blasts. The police arrested 24 other members of the module, including Tunda's confidants, Kamran and Shakeel. The militants, who addressed Tunda as Baba, told their interrogators that they triggered the blasts at his instance.
The newspaper said, Moosa disclosed that he first met Baba when he was pursuing primary education in Dhaka. In that madarsa, Baba would offer prayers and teach students. Like several others, Moosa came close to him and then Haroon also joined him in October 1997. Moosa recalled that Baba would remain busy experimenting with chemicals and taught his students ways to manufacture bombs.
9. The Daily Sangbad and Ajker Kagoj, Bangladesh, 20 August 2003
10. The Daily Prothom Alo, Bangladesh, 22 August 2005
11. The Daily Bhorer Kagoj, Bangladesh, 23 August 2005
12. The Daily Ittefaq, Bangladesh, 22 August 2005
13. Quoted in SAN-Feature Service, October 2, 2005
14. Quoted in SAN-Feature Service, September 8, 2005. David Montero further mentioned : 'Since the Aug. 17 attacks, police have arrested more than 300 people and begun to understand more about the JMB. The group was banned in February after members confessed to bombing 'un-Islamic' targets, including theater shows and the offices of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
Abdur Rahman, the spiritual head of the organization, told the press last year that he admired the Taliban and had traveled to Afghanistan. He claimed his organization had been operating underground since 1998, with the aim of founding an Islamic state. His network was active across the country, he said, with 10,000 trained full-time operatives, and 100,000 part-time activists, funded with a payroll of more than $10,000 a month, a huge sum by Bangladeshi standards.
16. Chandidas wrote in 15th century : 'Listen O brother man,/ Man is above everything./ There is no greatest truth than Him.'
Similar words are quite common in medieval Bengali literature. This tradition continued till 19th century. Sufi Baul composer Lalon Shah wrote : 'God created man in eternal beauty/ I am told there is nothing nobler than Him/ Even gods and goddesses pray to be born as Man.'
'All the people ask is Lalon a Hindu or Muslim/ Lalon says I know not what I am/ I do not know my innerself.'
Secular ideas reflected in many of Lalon's writings : 'Oh, when will such a human society be created/ Where no racial distinction will exist between/ Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians.'
17. Iranian Sufis like Jalaluddin Rumi, Shabistari, Sadi and Hafiz contributed in building secular society with humane values. What Lalon wrote in Bengal in 18th century Rumi wrote similar words in 13th century : 'What shall I do, O Muslims?/ I do not recognise myself.../ I am neither Christian nor Jew/ nor Magian, nor Muslim/ I am not of the East, nor the West,/ not of the land, nor the sea.'
In 14th century Mahmood Shabistari of Iran wrote : "I" and "You" are the veil/ between heaven and earth;/ lift this veil and you will see/ no longer the bonds of sects and creeds./ when "I" and "you" do not exist/ what is mosque, what is synagogue?/ what is the Temple of Fire?'
List of the Militant Islamist groups of Bangladesh
These names appeared in daily new papers on different occassion from 20 January 1999 to October 2005. Every year the number is increasing. Most of these organizations are underground or semi-underground. Their activities become public if police raid their den or if they confront with law enforcing agencies. This list does not include main stream Islamic political parties like Jamate Islami, Islami Oikyo Jote, Islamic Shashantantrik Andolan, Zaker Party etc. that take part in electerol process. Students and other front organizations, which are officially linked with these parties also excluded from this list.
1. Jamayatul Mujahidin Bangladesh (JMB)
2. Shahadat-e-al Hikma
3. Hijbul Taohid
4. Al Harat al Islamia
5. Al Markajul al Islami
6. Jamayatul Falaiya
7. Taohidi Janata
8. Bishwa Islami Front
9. Jummatul al Sadat
11. Harkatul Jihad al Islami Bangladesh (HuJi)
12. Jayshe Mostofa
13. Al Jihad Bangladesh
14. World Islamic Front for Jihad
15. Jayshe Mohammed
16. Warat Islamic Front
18. Al Khidmot
19. Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB)
20. Hijbullah Islami Somaj
21. Muslim Millat Saria Council
22. Ahle Hadis Andolan Bangladesh
23. Hijbul Mahadi
24. Bangladesh Santrasbirodhi Dal (Basbid)
25. Hijbul Thahrire
26. Al Qaida
27. Al Islam martyrs' Brigade
28. International Khatme Nabuwat Movement
29. Amra Dhakabashi
30. Araakan Rohinga Force
31. Islamic Solidarity Front
32. Araakan Peoples Army
33. Liberation Mayanmar Force
34. Araakan Mujahid Party
35. Rohinga Independents Force
36. Rohinga Independents Army
37. Rohinga Patriotic Front
38. Rohinga Solidarity Organaigetion
39. Rohinga Islamic Front
40. Jamiate Ahle Hadis Andolon
41. Jamiatul Ehhia-ut-Turaj
42. Hayatul Igasa
44. Ahle Hadis Jubo Sangha
45. Anjumane Talamije Islamia
46. Tahfije Harmine parished
47. Aiammah parished
48. Al Harmaine
49. Khedmate Islam
50. Hifajate Khatame Nabuat
51. Young Muslim
52. Rivaival of Islamic Heritej Society (RIHS)
53. Al Jajira
54. Isalmi Jihad Group
55. Islami Soinnya
56. Ahale Hadis Tablige Islam
57. Islahul Muslemin Parishad
58. Kalemar Jamaat
59. Far East Islami Sangathan
60. Al Tanjib
61. Bangladesh Islam Raksha
62. Tanjim Bangladesh
63. Iktadul Tulah Al Muslemin (ITM)
64. Amanatul Forkan Al Khayriya
65. Ibtedatul Al Muslemin (ITM)
66. United students Association of Arakan Movement (USM)
67. Lujna Mecca Al Khayeriya
68. Al Sayeed Mujahid Bahini
69. Taamir Ud-Deen
70. Allahr Dal
a) Allah'r Dal Brigade
b) Ahsab Bahini (Suicide squad)
c) Shahid Nasrullah Al Arafat Brigade (Suicide squad)
71. Al Islami Sanghati Parishad Bangladesh
Leaflet of Jamatul Mujahideen issued on 17 August 2005
In the name of Allah the most magnificent and the most kind
On behalf of the Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh
A CALL FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF ISLAMIC LAWS
All praises be to Allah and all salutations and prayers be for Muhammad (Sm). I bear witness that there is no Allah but Him and Muhammed (Sm) is his apostle. In the holy Quran Allah has revealed:
No one but Allah can make laws. (Sura Yusuf- 40)
Hear ye! It is for Him to create and give orders. (Sura A'araf-54)
To execute the laws of Allah a group of My creatures will always carry out armed struggle (jehad). They will be harsh on their enemies, who will oppose them but fail to cause them any harm. They will continue to wage the war till the day of resurrection. (Sahi Muslim hadis)
Call to People
Assalamu Alaikum, dear Muslim brothers and sisters of the country,
Allah has created us as his representative on earth only so that we serve and worship Him solely. He sent to us His last messenger Muhammad (Sm) so that we may learn to avoid Tagut in our belief and action Allah says, "I despatch apostles to all people with the responsibility to ensure devotion to Allah alone and rejection of Tagut." (Sura Nahl - 36)
If a human being worships someone other than Allah, serves or owes allegiance to him or makes Allah his partner then such a partner lord is called Tagut. A powerful Tagut is an oppressive ruler who alters Allah's laws, that is he makes laws approving impiety. For example, he approves of rape, interest, drinking of alcohol and obscenity; or he puts up hindrance to jehad. Similarly if a ruler forsaking Allah's laws follows laws made by him or other non-believers he is also a powerful Tagut.
In a Muslim country there can be no laws other than the laws of Allah. But it is a matter of great regret that in a land inhabited by 90 percent Muslims the laws of Allah are not enforced in Bangladesh. On top of it from the districts to the capital city in the courts of law justice is dispensed according to laws based on a man-made constitution. This constitution has been framed by some sinful learned men. Whereas men should serve Allah and follow His laws they have instead put forward a challenge by framing a constitution of their own.
The state powers in the country are wielded by a junta inimical to Allah. Because the process under which the head of the state or other rulers are elected is totally anti-Islamic. The Quran or Hadis do not recognize any democratic or socialist system that is enacted by infidels and non-believers. These systems are in direct contravention of Allah's laws. The laws of the land are the brain-children of infidels, non-believers and Jews precisely to destroy Muslim mores and faith. It is time for the Muslims to stand up and react.
Jamatul Mujahideen discards the existing judicial system of the country and they stand for the demand for upholding Allah's laws and faith in Allah. At the same time it rejects the constitution that conflicts with Allah's laws and calls upon all to abandon the so-called election process and run the affairs of state according to the laws of Allah and the traditions of the prophet. JM is firmly committed to establishing Allah's Din in this land of Allah. As long as the laws of Allah are not enforced, please cease invoking the courts of Tagut laws. Instead seek solutions to your legal issues according to Allah's laws from Khatibs (sermomonizers) of mosques, Muhaddeses ( hadis experts) of Madrassas or experienced Alems (learned men). Neglecting the Tagut laws seek justice from Allah's laws.
Allah has revealed:
"Do they seek judgment on the basis of laws of Jahiliya (Ignorance)? Is there anybody other than Allah who can resolve issues better? (Sura Maidah - 50).
"Shall I look for another judge other than Allah?" (Sura Aanam -114)
"Have not you seen those who claim that they brought faith that was given to them before? They want to establish Tagut although they have been asked to defy Tagut. (Sura Nisa -60)
Call to Bangladesh Government
Salute to those who are willing to listen! Once you have been admonished you cannot turn back to sin and darkness. Allah sent his apostle with true faith as a messenger of good news and warning to people. Those who responded to his call, Allah has guided them well. But those who turned away, the prophet fought them. Thereafter they followed Islam willingly or otherwise. Therefore, Bangladesh government is called upon to enforce the laws of Allah. We shall cooperate with you. We are not after power. We want the rule of Allah's laws and not of Tagut.
The workers of Jamatul Mujahideen in Bangladesh are soldiers of Allah and they have taken up arms to enforce Allah's laws as did our prophet, his companions and all fighters of Islam from time to time. Jamatul Mujahideen wants to put an end to irreligious activities and anti Islamic beliefs and customs and secure Allah's pleasure by firmly establishing Tawhid or faith in one Allah. This they believe will bring in happiness for you in both this life and afterlife.
JM has asked Bangladesh government twice before through leaflets and publicity materials to establish Islamic rule. Each time the government has arrested their workers but JM did not retaliate. This is the third call of JM for Islamic rule in Bangladesh. This time if the government does not establish Islamic rule and instead arrest Muslims for seeking Allah's laws and suppresses ulemas (learned in religion) the JM will go into action against concerned people and authorities.
Call to the treasury and opposition benchesblockades simply for gaining power. It is within constitutional right to hold people hostage simply to protest the misdeeds of some person or some coterie.
The democratic system under the dispensation of infidels divides the nation into various parties by creating treasury and opposition benches. They cause harm to people by hartals and
Those who want to strengthen institutional democracy must give up partisan politics and government as well as opposition parties must join hands to seek relief from Islamic rule. Abandoning Tagut laws they must enforce Islamic laws to get rid of irreligious activities, anti Islamic beliefs and customs and obscenities and allow people to follow Islam properly. If you are afraid of Bush-Blair coalition and do not want to set up Islamic rule you better leave Tagut politics altogether. Insha Allah under coordinated efforts of learned religious scholars and Islamic thinkers and leaders, the people will establish Islamic rule in the country.
Call to bureaucrats and judicial officers of the government
If the government does not establish Islamic rule please desist from administering Tagut laws and justice. By cooperating with establishing the laws of Allah glorify your life with Allah's pleasure. Members of all law enforcing agencies -Army, BDR, Police, RAB -should be up and doing in protecting Allah's laws rather than Tagut laws. Do not obey Tagut laws but follow Allah's laws. Do not fight Allah's soldiers for Tagut laws. Give up serving Tagut laws and turn into Allah's soldiers. Those who will not leave Tagut service, Insha Allah action will be taken against them under Allah's laws. Allah says, " The believers carry on armed jehad for Allah's glory while the infidels fight for Tagut. You are bound to fight against the followers of Satan. Verily Satan's circle is very weak" (Sura Nisa -76)
Call to Muslim world
In the world of today George W Bush is the greatest terrorist. He is carrying out terrorist attack on Muslims and trying to take away their faith by imposing infidel's constitution on Muslim land. He wants to establish the infidel system of democracy all over the world and in the name of the new world order seeks to bring the world under his zone of influence. It is like the wish of new Ferauun. But Allah's soldiers will not allow this wish to be fulfilled, nor will they allow the success of the infidel concept of democracy. Democracy is a Tagut invention and the most important weapon for establishing Tagut rule. Those who seek to establish Tagut rule are terrorists and militants. But Allah says, "Ye believers, pick up your arms and spread out in separate or joint formations. " (Sura Nisa -71)
We call upon the world Muslims to compel all your governments to enforce Islamic rule. In all Muslim countries establish Islamic rule through armed jehad and banish Tagut rule. Leave the United Nations of the infidels. Set up a Muslim United Nations and strengthen the followers of Islam all over.
Warning to the infidels and non-believers
All rulers including Bush Blair administrations are hereby warned to give up their occupation of Muslim countries. Do not try any further to patronize Muslim countries. Muslims all over the world have woken up. Please stop persecuting the Muslims or else you will not be safe anywhere in the world. The anti-Islamic NGOs are also being warned to stop their action programmes directed against the Muslims or else Insha Allah they will be completely uprooted.