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This Week's  Call -in Show: The Challenge of Terrorism in Bangladesh


In its March report Geneva based International Crisis Group writes Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a terrorist organisation, remains active and dangerous despite the decimation of its ranks over the last five years. Its links to the Pakistan group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) remain a particularly serious concern. Since its coordinated bombing attack across the country on 17 August 2005, police have arrested hundreds of JMB members; they have also executed every member of its original leadership, including its founder, Shaikh Abdur Rahman. Its last successful attack was in January 2006. The state has succeeded in tackling the Islamist extremist threat to the extent that organisations such as JMB are struggling to survive. No one should take its demise for granted: the possibility of another attack remains, and the government should move quickly to create a planned police-led counter-terrorism force. It should also step up counter-terrorism cooperation, particularly with neighboring India.


In the light of this report our listeners in the call-in show asked questions on Islamic extremism in Bangladesh, its objectives, Sharia Law and it’s relationship with Islam, the source of funding for the terrorists in Bangladesh, the method to combat it and the relationship between politics and religion. Our panelists in replying to the listeners’ questions said that the objective of the Islamic extremists is to grab the state power and turn Bangladesh into a Sharia state. They think that Sharia state, by definition, is un-Islamic and it is anti-Quranic too. But a lot of people even do not know about this and hence people equate Sharia with Islamic Law. The panelists also discussed about some NGOs which came into being during BNP –led government and are involved with the funding of the terrorists. They discussed the implications of banning religious-based political parties in Bangladesh .

Our panelists were Professor Syed Anwar Hossain of the Department of History, Dhaka University. Professor Abul Barakat of the Department of Economics , Dhaka University and Hasan Mahmud an expert on Sharia and Theology who denounces the use of religion for politics. Professor Anwar Hossain is an analyst on religion and terrorism. Professor Barakat is an analyst on the sources of funding for the terrorists in Bangladesh.


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