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Thursday, February 21, 2013
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Target Friday

Govt takes steps to thwart Jamaat's bid for anarchy

Driven up the wall by mass protests over its war crimes, Jamaat-e-Islami sets its eyes on Friday's Jumma prayers to turn the tide by tweaking religious sentiment of Muslims against the Shahbagh youths.

According to law enforcement agencies, Jamaat, under the banner of a few radical Islamist groups both in and outside the BNP-led 18-party alliance, has planned to bring out demonstrations from around four lakh mosques, including Baitul Mukarram, and madrasas all over the country.

It has set the stage for anarchy across the country tomorrow by carrying out a smear campaign in a few like-minded newspapers, and branding the organisers of the youth movement as atheists, anti-Islamic and anti-social elements for the last few days.

Jamaat also got a big shot in the arm from its main ally BNP, which denounced the Shahbagh youths for their “anti-Islamic” activities yesterday, just a few days after hailing them for their patriotism.

The government is learnt to be on top of these developments, and it has taken steps to crush any plot to destabilise the country and thwart war crimes trial. The information minister yesterday threatened to sue “some newspapers” for running motivated stories.

Wishing not to be named, a top police official said, “The intelligence and law enforcers have tracked down and arrested several masterminds of Jamaat's propaganda wing.”

He also claimed that they have choked Jamaat's financial channel but didn't elaborate.

Sources in the home ministry say the government is considering restriction on movement of more than three persons in certain areas on the day.

The government through different channels is having dialogues with a dozen small Islamist political parties -- a few of which are members of the BNP-led 18-party alliance.

The government is trying to convince them not to side with Jamaat, as the Shahbagh movement and the government's actions were not against Islamic political parties, but against the crimes committed by some Jamaat leaders during the 1971 Liberation War.

It has told these parties that if Jamaat is banned in the future, it would not be because of its Islamic political ideology, but for the party's anti-liberation role in 1971.

The government has sent them a message that it would remain firm against the war criminals, and would not spare whoever speaks ill of Islam either at the Shahbagh gathering or elsewhere.

The intelligence agencies are yet to have any clear idea about how the Jamaat top leaders, who are in hiding now, have been maintaining contacts with their activists.

“We gather that they are not using their phones, internet or other usual forms of communication. But they are somehow maintaining communication to continue their smear campaign against the Shahbagh movement,” said an intelligence official.

All ministers, parliamentarians and leaders of the ruling coalition remain alert following the publication of an objectionable advertisement with anti-Islamic contents to provoke controversy over the Shahbagh movement.

Meanwhile, several policymakers and leaders of the ruling Awami League yesterday gave warnings to the smear campaigners, who are spreading hatred using Islam. They also asked the media not to publish any contents that undermine Islam or hurt religious sentiments.

“Stop publishing false contents or the government will be compelled to take tough action,” Prime Minister's Special Assistant Mahbubul Alam Hanif said at a discussion at Osmani Memorial Auditorium, referring to the publication of objectionable advertisements.

Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said, “They killed Rajib and then hacked into his blog to post anti-Islamic contents to hurt religious sentiments. Those who are doing all these are akin to beasts. We cannot allow them to be involved in politics.”

LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, Jute Minister Latif Siddiqui and Presidium Member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim also gave similar statements.

Jamaat has employed a tactic of not using its name in the smear campaign against the Shahbagh activists. Instead, the party with its sympathisers in the last few days formed several new platforms such as Islami Dal comprised of six Islamist parties led by Islami Oikya Jote, a component of the 18-party alliance, to carry out the campaign.

Nejame Islami and Khelafat Majlish -- both members of the 18-party alliance -- are backing this campaign.

Abdul Latif Nejami, chairman of Islami Oikya Jote, told The Daily Star yesterday, “We are planning to gather at least one and a half lakh to two lakh madrasa students from Dhaka and its outskirts. We shall give the government an ultimatum: either the atheists at Shahbagh are punished or else we will call hartal.”

Requesting anonymity, a Khelafat Andolan leader told The Daily Star that Jamaat is wholeheartedly helping them shape up the smear campaign with funds and manpower.

He said Jamaat was also trying to rope in little known Islamist parties to strengthen the campaign.

“Jamaat wants to have a gathering on Friday [tomorrow] to counter the Shahbagh demonstrations. But we are not sure whether it would be possible,” he said.

In the capital, Islami Andolan Bangladesh and Islami Oikya Jote yesterday brought out processions, demanding capital punishment to the bloggers, who “insulted Prophet Muhammad [SM] and Islam in their posts on the internet.”

They threatened to go for a tougher movement unless the government moves to pass a law in the current parliament session to stop “such blogging.” They also announced holding rallies at the north gate of Baitul Mukarram mosque after the Jumma prayers on Friday.

Islami Andolan Bangladesh staged a demonstration at around 3:00pm yesterday at Baitul Mukarram's north gate.

Islami Oikya Jote held a rally at Purana Paltan at about 5:00pm. Its Secretary General Moulana Abdul Latif Nezami said if the government fails to give exemplary punishment to the alleged bloggers, they will consider the government a supporter of “the atheists”.

Meanwhile, Hefazat-e-Islam, a radical Islamist organisation based in Chittagong, yesterday termed the Shahbagh movement a conspiracy against Islam.

The organisation earlier got published a half-page advertisement in three newspapers with anti-Islamic contents, claiming those were posted on the internet by different bloggers.

Its leader Moulana Junaid Babunagari at a press conference yesterday said they would alert people about the anti-Islamic activities in Shahbagh through sermons tomorrow in four lakh mosques and bring out processions demanding trial of “the atheist bloggers”.

Banaj Kumar Majumder, additional commissioner of Chittagong Metropolitan Police, told The Daily Star that they were yet to get any instructions to counter Hefazat-e-Islam's programmes on Friday.

“But we will remain alert,” he said.

Law enforcers in Sylhet and Khulna have taken measures to avert any untoward incidents.

“We are staying alert and collecting more information from different sources about the future programmes of Islamist groups, “said Nibash Chandra Majhi, commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Police.

Rashid Begum, additional deputy commissioner of Khulna Metropolitan Police, told The Daily Star that a special mobile team along with the regular police force will patrol the whole city this Friday.

Ziauddin Ahmed, assistant police commissioner in Khulna, said at least five check posts will be set up and 500 policemen will be deployed near mosques before the Jumma prayers in the city.

In Jessore, police yesterday arrested 28 Jamaat-Shibir men from a procession brought out under the banner of Olama Mashayekh Parishad.

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The very nature of Jamat, once agin exposed; misuse religion for its evil motives- fishing in troubled water, taking the country and the people to dark ages, its leadership still dreaming of a united Pakistan. These fanatics never hesitated to kill people, torture people, they did those crimes during the liberation war, they did in post independent Bangladesh, spreading fatwas undermining the rights of women, killing the intellectuals, the list is longer. These anti-state and anti Bangladesh elements must be resisted at all cost. A very simple answer to the question, why Jamat should not be allowed to protest or hold rally, is that Jamat is defying the rights of expression- whenever any sound minded peace loving people writes, expresses the desire and demand for a democratic society, preserving the democratic values he or she comes under attacks from Jamat, even killed. How Jamat can expect free hands conducting crime against people and humanity? Why its leadership must not be brought under justice? Those who commit crime and who who support are guilty.

: Masudur Rahman

Let there be a total ban on any kind of activity; movement or show up either by the jamatis or their cadres Shibirs. These are all those parasites that worked against Islam in 1971, by committing genocide and rapes. They even should not be allowed in any mosque until they express TOUBA for their sins and crimes committed in 1971 with the nefarious Pakistani army in Bangladesh.

: Kazi Salim


  • abdul
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 04:06 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    If the other 12 Islamic parties go against the Shahbaag protesters then its game over for the Awami League.

  • zia
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 01:37 PM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    Have we no right to protest the atheist and anti Islamic bloggers.As Muslim all should protest all anti Islamic activities of bloggers.

  • Md. Habibur Rahman
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 02:02 PM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    Some non-believers have gained confidence speaking ill of Jammat regarding their so called role in 1971. They really don't know that Islam and Jamaat are not same. They should remember that their dream of the implementation of atheism in Bangladesh is impossible.

  • tipu
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 02:06 PM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    Government should immediately pass a bill at the National Assembly to prevent anti-Islamic blogging and commenting on internet (face book, twitter, blog, etc). If government fail to do this, then the opposition and JI could brand government as anti-Islamic, pro-atheist ruling class of Bangladesh as the previous period of Bangladesh.

  • Hafeejul Alam
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 03:17 PM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    All those who were and are against the sentiment of our liberation war should be routed out politically as well as by legitimate use of force, if necessary, for at least 80% of our people are against these these regressive groups,

  • Shihab
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 09:21 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    These so-called ulamas are not doing the right things. Many of them committed punishable sins by actively participating in the killing and oppression of Bangalees during the Liberation War in 1971. They should study politics along with religion, not religion only, to understand complex politics of the modern world. I feel sorry for them.

  • Labu Khan
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 03:28 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    I am confused whether Bangladesh is an Islamic or a secular state! Is our nation heading for a war?

    Islam vs Anti-Islam? Believers vs Non-believers? Our politicians irrespective of any party are the main culprits in dividing the nation on the basis of religion. I am afraid that if this confrontation continues, then Bangladesh will soon be a terrorist country like Pakistan.

  • Dr. Iftikhar-ul-Awwal
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 01:26 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    The gathering at Shahbagh (without permission) occupying a vital intersection of the metropolis for the propagation of a particular agenda is causing untold suffering to the travelling public. Further, the agitators and demonstrators have decided to stay put till all the accused being tried for war crimes are executed. By so doing, they have thrown an open challenge to the judicial authority of the country. Will the accused now receive just, right and fair deal amid st a hostile environment now prevailing within a mile from the International Crimes Tribunals? Thinking people who wish to see an international standard trial are now apprehensive and so is the international community watching us intently. I, therefore, urge for the immediate dismemberment of the Shahbagh gathering so that the judges can deliver their judgements independently in peace without any fear or favour. If Shahbagh continues with their radical programmes, it will not take long when we might see the emergence of ultra right wing groups to challenge their authority. What will be the fate of the country then?

  • shariful islam
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:39 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    The bad efforts of the radical Islamist parties will not be successful as the people of Bangladesh have known their real identities. It is time to tackle them socially. It is time to answer their ill-efforts.

  • Mohammed Shah Alam Khan from Ottawa
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 02:42 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    This is unlawful in Islam to use mosque as a political instrument. There are no law in Quran that in any country a group of people could make terrorism in the name of Islam. If a person does not obey Quran he is not Muslim. In this point, how come I could say the members or leaders of Jamaat is a real Muslim! Because they did not obey the Quran they are lying and doing wrong and killing and destroying which were not allowed in Quran. I would like to suggest the intellectual people of Bangladesh to learn Quran and do practice on Islam. If not please don’t go for Eid or say any word in favour or against Islam.

    Since 26 years, I am living in Canada no one from other religious come to me to stop my prayer in office or anywhere. Here no one says anything against any one or their religious. It is government to control these people who come to the road in the name of religious as well as to control Blogger, newspapers and all other publication which says anything against any religious issues.

    Now we could only pray to Allah to save our nation whom we left from these types of fanatic people.

  • mohammed farman ullah bhuiyan
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 02:45 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    As a responsible daily, it should act for the interest of common people. If all the Muslims bring out demonstrations after Jumma prayer, the government should aid them to hold the demonstrations properly, as it is helping the demonstrations at Shahbagh. Government should show neutral and impartial attitude towards all citizens of Bangladesh.

  • ganda babu
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 03:57 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    The Shahbagh demonstration only represents a small minority of confused youth those operating the media into thinking that this is the public opinion. But the reality will become clearer sooner than they anticipate!

  • Fida Likhon
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 08:11 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    Jamaat-e-Islami people are trying to steal the religious sentiments of general people. All pro-liberation forces should go to Mosques of every corner of the villages and cities of the country so that Jamaat-motivated Imams can not politicise Islam for their political reasons.

  • Freeman
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 08:13 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    This is very easy way that Jamaat always tries to divert attention. In Chittagong University, I saw similar activities of Islami Chhatra Shibir in 193-1996. Please protect the country from the Jamaat propaganda.

  • Zahid Hassan
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 08:36 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    BNP is a playground of Jamaat. Jamaat grows within BNP. Ultimately, it is one party BNP-Jamaat. Bangladesh needs a good party to oppose Awami League. Islamist party and Cantonment rooted party are just the parties to steal easy sentiments of the general people.

  • Nirbak
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 08:40 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    Today, all the Atheists, Perverts, Hindus and Non-Muslims are united for a single issue. But the Muslims are divided. Was it the dream of our forefathers, who fought for 200 years against the British. India, the opponent of our ‘200-years’ spirit is desperately interfering and guiding in all such our fundamental internal issues. In fact we need to look back with a cool mind to design our future.

  • bidrohi
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 11:36 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    Now a days, it is very easy to track such hacking (Refering Minister Matia Chowdhury's comments about hacking). Government should employ its IT to track what happened really, disclose all reference to public to know the real plot and punish those anti-Islamist writers.

  • Ronnie Rahman
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:09 PM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    I do fully agree with the comments of Dr Iftikhar. Everyone want a fair and unbiased trial of the war criminals but the current situation is as such that all of those under trial must be hanged irrespective of what is proven in the tribunal. This is an undue demand and certainly against the independence of the court. As such, any judgement given by the War Crime Tribunal are likely to be undermined by the international community.

  • Roni Rahman
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:37 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    Why should not Jamaat have the same right as a political organisation to stage demonstration?

    The persecution of any group is anti-democratic and anti-human rights. It harms us all equally as a society sooner or later.

  • Barkat
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 02:31 AM GMT+06:00 (155 weeks ago)

    The Muslims of Bangladesh have equal and similar democratic right to protest and express their view as much as the youths of Shahbagh have. Why this double standard when Muslims want to make protest.





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