Implication of political Islam in Bangladesh
The struggle underway throughout much of the Muslim world is essentially a war of ideas. Its outcome will determine the future direction of the Muslim world and whether the threat of terrorism continues, with some Muslim societies falling back even further into patterns of intolerance and violence. Radical and dogmatic interpretations of Islam have gained ground in recent years in many Muslim societies. While there are many reasons for this, and while a large and growing body of literature continues to be engaged in exploring them, it is clear that structural factors play a large part.
The prevalence of authoritarian political structures and the atrophy of civil-society institutions throughout much of the Muslim world have left the mosque as one of the few avenues for the expression of popular dissatisfaction with prevailing political, economic, and social conditions. Aside from a willingness to resort to violence to compel fellow Muslims to conform to their religious and political views, radicals or fundamentalists enjoy two critical advantages over moderate and liberal Muslims.
The first is money. Saudi funding for the export of the Wahhabi version of Islam over the last three decades has had the effect, whether intended or not, of promoting the growth of religious extremism throughout the Muslim world. The radicals’ second advantage is organization. Radical groups have developed extensive networks over the years, which are themselves embedded in a dense net of international relationships. This asymmetry in resources and organization explains why radicals, a small minority in almost all Muslim countries, have influence disproportionate to their numbers.
As liberal and moderate Muslims generally do not have the organizational tools to effectively counter the radicals, the creation of moderate Muslim networks would provide moderates with a platform to amplify their message, as well as some protection from extremists. Most of the developing countries like Bangladesh are facing this problem vigorously. It would also provide them a measure of protection from their own governments, which sometimes repress moderates because they provide a more acceptable alternative to authoritarian rule than do the extremists. In Bangladesh, radical fundamentalist groups with the shape of Wahhabi version of Islam affected several Muslims to go for the terrorism (so-called revolution) for erecting Islamic state. But no sort of fanatic motion is accepted to people and this extreme group named as Jamatul Mujahidin Bangladesh (JMB) has been smashed for the execution of its top five leaders’ execution in the land of Bangladesh with the joint venture action triggered by both present govt. and democracy loving people of Bangladesh.
Naturally, people of Bangladesh are highly pious in acting, viewing and obeying religious norms and values, whether he is Hindu or Muslim and so and so. We watch that Hindus and Muslims being a vast majority in our country expose their wholehearted worship to their lord in celebrating religious occasion like Durga Puja, Shoroshwoti Puja of Hindu community and Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha of Muslim community and other communities are also privileged to celebrate their socio-religio cultures despite the Muslim majority country. If a group or even nation is constrained to observe their own culture, that would not be the democratic standard in a system.
Culture is what a nation contains; it is the expression of human mind. No force can be opted to hinder on this process of expression, it will blossom with its optimal form in spite of erecting bulky fence tightly. And political culture often symbolises its political will of the people of a particular democratic system. So, religion as an instrument of culture or political culture like other apparatus vis- language, custom, literature etc should have greater implication or acceptability in politics of any country. The concept of political Islam, seeming to me, has broadened its position in politics of Muslim countries like Bangladesh from this point of view and if someone claims it the rational, nothing could be said against it. Basically, Islam as an eternal and divine guidance always launches its continuity through indicating the well-being of people, which the democratic standard belongs to and also said, ultimate target of democracy is to frame welfare state where the special concern goes toward the public.
There is no part of human life which Islam does not discuss and show the way of the practice and implementation so as to consider Islam the complete code of life. So, the process of politicisation and politics of country now have been the discussable phenomenon of Islam. Political Islam is shaped as an absolute concept and practicing ingredient in most of the Muslim countries having its greater implications in the state and politics. Political Islam is a unique phenomenon and one that appears to defy conventional political analysis.
This mystification of Islamically oriented parties is due, in part, to a natural suspicion of actors who defy the Western divide between religion and politics. More problematic, however, is the tendency to conflate Islamists who use violence with those who do not. Al Qaeda, a clearly apocalyptic organisation whose primary objective seems to be the slaughter of innocents, cannot in any serious sense be compared to political groupings like the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (the region’s oldest and most influential Islamist group), the Jordanian Islami Action Front (IAF), Tunisia’s Al-Nahda, Morocco’s Justice and Development Party (PJD) and Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), all of whom have explicitly renounced violence and committed themselves to peaceful participation in the democratic process. Political Islam or Islamisation has laid its hand on the politics of Bangladesh since the liberation of this country in 1971. Presently, the acute impetus of political Islam led mainly by Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and Islami Oikkyo Jote and others and they have become popular for their identifiable constructive initiatives i.e. humanitarian and development concern.
Besides, country’s present voyage against corruption has not touched largely for their (Islamic forces) non-involvement with corruption and having their integrity in field of politics. Their (Islamic forces) journey is to make a welfare state through restoring democratic standard in Bangladesh.
Presently, the earth-shaking triumph in the election of 2007 has given Hashimi Typee Erdogan, the new prime minister from Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, superior heroic prominence in the Muslim world for his broadened touch of socio-economic sectors in an efforts of culminating the country in the zenith of development. Secularists’ dominance in Turkey is larger than that of other countries in the world, but they have been defeated by the Islamic force for their superb attention to the social sectors.
If the Islamic forces in Bangladesh are able to concentrate themselves superbly towards constituting peaceful atmosphere of Bangladesh with their two positive weapons-“ideology and social welfare act for people”, a conquest of political Islam is not far away from their aspiration.
[The writer is the Director, Organisation of Integrated People (OIP)]