Vol. 5 Num 533 Sat. November 26, 2005  
Front Page

Excessive media coverage helps rise of militancy, says Nizami

The media by giving excessive coverage of militants are in fact contributing to the rise of religious militancy in the country, Jamaat-e-Islami Amir Matiur Rahman Nizami said yesterday in an interview with private TV channel ATN Bangla.

Nizami, also industries minister, accused The Daily Star of blowing the Bangla Bhai issue up out of proportion and said such undue coverage would rather help breed hundreds of militants like Bangla Bhai.

"The Daily Star had run a Bangla Bhai story with an eight-column heading," said the amir of ruling coalition partner Jamaat-e-Islami. "If one can easily hit the headlines by committing wrongful acts, then hundreds of Bangla Bhai will be created in the country," Nizami observed.

When Chief Reporter of ATN Bangla Munni Saha asked for his reaction to expelled BNP lawmaker Abu Hena's recent statements linking Jamaat to the militants, Nizami said, "The comments are totally baseless."

"If anything like that [the militant activities] had taken place in his constituency, he should have gone public [with the issue] immediately after the incidents," Nizami added.

Replying to a query about the existence of Bangla Bhai, the minister said, "I don't have any comments on whether he exists or not. If a man really does exist, he won't disappear for my saying that he does not exist."

As the interviewer reminded him of his earlier comments that Bangla Bhai is merely a creation of the newspapers, Nizami said, "Can you tell me for sure that you will publish exactly what we say [to the media]?"

Asked how he sees the activities of the militants, Nizami said, "Those who made the bomb attacks on August 17, spreading leaflets, do not belong to Islam. They did it [bombings] to give Islam a bad name. They are simply being used by the enemies of Islam."

Speaking about what his party is doing against the militants, he said, "We are speaking out against them [militants]. They don't have anything to do with Islam. Unfortunately, the media have been stifling our arguments."

Asked to elaborate on the government measures against the militants, Nizami said, "The

government is taking actions against them [militants]. They are being hunted down and would soon be uprooted Inshallah [god willing]."

On the question why the government has yet to capture Bangla Bhai, he said, "Won't it be tough to catch you if you disguise yourself?"

Asked whether the government's will is enough to nab anyone, Nizami referred to the outlawed party operatives who he said had been evading arrest for decades.