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 .
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.