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The Bangladesh Crisis Explored


athiest, anti islam, islamophobia

An OpEd by Mezba Mahtab, a Bangladeshi-Canadian blogger based in Toronto.  There are multiple perspectives on this topic and these are the writer’s views, MuslimMatters does not necessarily endorse them.

A Country in Crisis

“Are there any Hindu temples in the country that has not been burnt yet?”

A survivor wailed her lament to the news cameras. The channel was covering the latest atrocity in Bangladesh, when miscreants torched a small temple and desecrated the idols[1].

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Bangladesh is in the middle of a political and communal crisis. Long been spared the curse of communal violence (Bangladesh did not see the heavy Hindu-Muslim rioting of the 1947 partition, as well as serious clashes when neighboring India was plunged into chaos in 1996, 2001 and 2006[2]), the country’s 9.2% Hindi minority are now the target of outright violent hostility. Today, Amnesty International released a statement deploring the wave of violent attacks against the Hindu minority and calling on the government to act promptly and provide them adequate protection[3]. The finger of blame has been squarely pointed at the country’s largest Islamic party, the Jamaat-e-Islami. Most of the leaders of that party are either in jail (awaiting sentencing for war crimes) or have been sentenced already.

Meanwhile, the work stoppage and lost productivity has cost the impoverished South Asian country US$3 billion so far[4]. Since the death sentence verdict for Delwar Hossain Sayedee, the Vice President of Jamaat-e-Islami, on 28 February, 2013, 16 people died on the first day of strikes called by the party in protest. The following day’s violence left 60 dead. Everyone expected some sort of a backlash after the verdict against Sayedee, but the intensity of the violence and the increasing casualty figures have surprised and shocked many people[5]. The youth wing of the party, the Chhatra Shibir, are alleged to have attacked government buildings, rail links between major cities and torched buses ferrying innocent commuters. Jamaat-e-Islami has officially threatened a few atheist bloggers with death, and they now face a ban from politics due to acts violence perpetrated by the Shibir[6]. Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad, a group responsible for overseeing Hindu temples, said over 700 Hindu houses had either been torched or vandalized[7].

The Jamaat-e-Islami have vehemently denied the claims, and they maintain their protest is against a war crime tribunal that is unfair, unjust, and dishonest. However, survivors of the attacks (over 40 temples have been burnt already) have all stated that the attackers were taking part in rallies organized by the Jamaat-e-Islami and Chhatra Shibir[8]. The Jamaat-e-Islami party has countered by blaming supporters of the ruling Awami League party for the violence. They have also claimed the whole tribunal process is an attempt by the ruling party to settle scores and not about delivering justice[9]. Meanwhile, a group of influential Islamic scholars have planned a rally in Dhaka on March 23, 2013, calling for the death sentence for war criminals and a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami politics, further denting the Jamaat’s religious credentials[10].

The only time minorities and civilians were targeted with such ferocity was way back in 1971, when the country fought for its independence from Pakistan. In fact, the roots of the present violence go back to that conflict, and the two are inherently linked.

The Liberation War of 1971

The year was 1971 and a brutal genocide was going on in East Pakistan. In an attempt to crush the Bengali forces seeking independence for East Pakistan, the West Pakistani military regime unleashed a systematic campaign of mass murder, rape, looting, arson and genocide which aimed at killing millions of Bengalis and destabilizing the country[11].

“Kill three million of them,” said President Yahya Khan at the February conference, “and the rest will eat out of our hands.”[12] Bangladeshi authorities claim that 3 million people were indeed killed, while the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, an official Pakistan Government investigation, put the figure as low as 26,000 civilian casualties[13]. The fact is that the 1971 war was one of the worst genocides of the World War II era, outstripping Rwanda (800,000 killed) and probably surpassing even Indonesia (1 million to 1.5 million killed in 1965-66)[14]. To put this into perspective, the Nazis took 5 years to kill 6 million Jews during the Second World War. The Pakistani Army and its collaborators killed 3 million in just over 9 months.

Chilling firsthand testimony of these massacres came from a brave Pakistani journalist, Anthony Mascarenhas. In an attempt to prove that the situation was normal, the West Pakistani regime deported all foreign journalists, and invited 8 of their own, with close ties to the military, to East Pakistan. They were given a 10 day tour of the province. When they returned home, seven of them duly wrote what they were told to. Mascarenhas, however, refused[15]. With great courage, and making a great sacrifice – he had to leave the land of his birth with his family, never to see it again – he published his article in UK’s Sunday Times. It was this article that alerted the West, so far in support of Pakistan, to the reality on the ground, and gave Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, the boost to resolve the crisis.

It must be mentioned here that Mascarenhas also referenced the murder of non-Bengalis by Bengalis (he estimated the number between 20,000 and 100,000[16]), but then added that the Pakistani army genocide far surpassed that in scale and in planning. At the time of his report, 250,000 Bengalis had already been killed by the Pakistani army, and a further 2 million deaths were planned. Over the course of the next few months, 10 million Bengali refugees (mostly Hindu) would flee to India and a little over 400,000 women would be raped, some repeatedly in army bases. The Guinness Book of Records lists the Bangladesh Genocide as one of the top 5 genocides in the 20th century. Bangladesh finally won her independence on December 16, 1971 when the Pakistani army formally surrendered.

The International Crimes Tribunal

Currently, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh is Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who had led Bangladesh to freedom. One of the promises made by her party in the elections of 2008 was to set up a tribunal to try those few Bangladeshis who had aided the Pakistani army in 1971 in their reign of terror. These had belonged to the Jamaat-e-Islami party, the largest Islamist party in East Pakistan, and their para-military unit Al Badr. Another militia group was composed of by some other religious Bengali parties, and named “Al Shams”. The Pakistani Army, composed largely of elements from Punjab, found itself and its cause pretty much alienated from the local populace, and therefore sought the help of these three groups. Together, the Jamaat, Shams and Badr worked as the local guides for Pakistan Army supporting the troops providing logistics and information. However, as it failed to penetrate the general public which supported independence from Pakistan, its operational capabilities and efficiency remained low[17].

The tribunal, called the International Crimes Tribunal, should have been the standard of justice in the South Asian nation. For over forty years, people had seen those who had plotted against the very birth of the country reinvent themselves as “Islamic leaders”, patriots, scholars and leaders. Some, initially having fled to Pakistan after the war, had returned after a military coup had assassinated Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. For years they had walked through the land in impunity. Suddenly, they would be facing the nation, finally on trial for their misdeeds. For older people who had lived through 1971, the memories of the war were still fresh and wounds still raw. The Tribunal was, and remains, extremely popular in Bangladesh.

However, the rampant corruption that troubles poor countries has made its way to this tribunal. For one, only members of the Opposition were charged and put on trial for crimes against humanity[18]. That may have been just a coincidence – the Jamaat attracted these religious scholars while most freedom fighters had gravitated towards the Awami League. However, greater discrepancies were to follow.

According to Human Rights Watch, “none of the judges heard all the evidence and were unable to assess the credibility of key witnesses, particularly in a trial involving 40-year old evidence and complex legal issues”. The chair of the court resigned after audio tapes and email correspondence were published concerning his conduct in his capacity as the presiding judge in the Sayedee case and other ICT matters.[19] The Economist published further emails and communications on December 13 which it said showed collusion between the judge, the prosecutors, and the executive.[20] Bangladesh newspaper Prothom Alo recounted of how a key defense witness was not allowed to testify[21] and his defense lawyer Toby Cadman (a British citizen) was not allowed entry into the country.

According to OpenDemocracy, under the guise of administering expedient justice, and in the absence of credible opposition, the government has clamped down on all critical voices. In 2010, Mahmudur Rahman, the Acting Editor of the daily Amar Desh was arrested and brutally tortured in custody. This was in response to an article printed in Amar Desh which implicated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s son, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, in corruption. More recently Kader Siddiqi, a decorated 1971 war hero, was summoned to court for suggesting the Bangladesh Home Minister, MK Alamgir, was involved in collaboration with the Pakistani Army in the war of 1971[22]. Justice, it seems, is only for those in the Opposition.

The Shahbag Protests

When the Tribunal found him guilty and handed down a life sentence to Abdul Quader Mollah on February 5, 2013, bloggers and online activists started a protest that soon grew to thousands of people in Shahbag intersection of Dhaka, demanding the death sentence for Mollah. For many Bangladeshis, it heralded the promise of something new – a peaceful, non-partisan protest. Perhaps it would change the way politics was done in Bangladesh. Yet, the movement as a reawakening was doomed to failure from the start.

The Quran instructs Muslims to stand up for justice; yet for Shahbag activists nothing short of the death penalty for all those charged would do. “Fashi chai” (‘we want a hanging’) was their slogan. Forgotten was the notion of innocent until guilty, or the concept of a fair trial, or the independence of the judiciary.

Second, since they decided not to stand up for justice but for an end to a political party (the Jamaat-e-Islami), no one from Shahbag raised their voice against the injustices done by the government. The offices of newspaper, Naya Diganta were attacked and burnt by ruling regime youth following Shahbag’s calls. When the police arrived afterwards, far from dealing with the arsonists, they raided the offices and detained an employee. Meanwhile another opposition newspaper, the Daily Sangram, has suffered repeated police raids upon its offices without any specific allegations being made. Shahbag has threatened arson against both these papers, as well as the daily Amar Desh; the latter was symbolically burned within Shahbag itself[23].

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block Shahbag activists faced was the presence of atheists and those virulently opposed to Islam amidst them. While Bangladesh is a fairly tolerant society with freedom of religion, the organizers should have realized the optics of allowing a few atheist bloggers represent them in the media while they were opposed to the largest “Islamist” party in the country. The number of these bloggers might have been low, but they managed to attract a very large audience.

Asif Mohiuddin, a key organizer of Shahbag protests, had an anti-Islam blog. In an interview on Christian Science Monitor, he said, “Us pushing for the death sentence is the tip of the iceberg; this is a way to begin to unravel religion from politics.”[24] Another blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, another anti-Islam writer and atheist, was tragically hacked to death for his statements[25]. The police have since arrested five students for his murder[26]. These events perpetuated an appearance that the Shahbag movement was a movement against Islam in Bangladesh, when reality was much more complex. Today, those arrested for the murder of Rajib Haider had admitted to be working under the auspices of the Jamaat-e-Islami leadership.

What Can Be Done Now?

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron.” – Quran, 13:11

As a nation, we must pray to Allah for guidance. We must try and change the condition of our people – if we can do so by our actions, that’s the best. If not, then by our tongue and speech, and if not, we must hate evil within our heart. In Bangladesh, the debate has become polarized. Either you support the razakars (traitors) and war criminals, or you are against al Islam. Honest citizens must be the voice of reason. We have to say that yes, we support a trial and we want those who are guilty to be punished, but by a fair, transparent and honest tribunal. And if, as is the case sometimes, there is no enough evidence to find someone guilty, even if we know he is, we must resign ourselves to leaving the judgement of that individual to Allah alone.

[7] Dawn, Hindu temples, homes attacked across Bangladesh


[9] Dawn, Hindu temples, homes attacked across Bangladesh


[12] Robert Payne, Massacre [1972], p. 50.


[15] The article that changed history, BBC,


[18] Key Defendants in Bangladesh War Crimes Trial,


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  1. Bangladeshi Muslim

    March 16, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    Salam Alaikum,

    Thank you for this very balanced assessment of the situation. It does pain me to see the polarization on the issue and the notions held by many uninformed non-Bangladeshi Muslims that this is simply a conflict between secularism and Islam. This is simply not the case. The liberation war left a painful legacy – I myself have family members who were killed by the army for being liberation-minded university professors. Bangladeshis remain religious but have learned to be very weary of how jingoism in the name of “Islam” can be manipulated towards horrible ends. Consequently, the Jamaat has never won more than about 10% of the electorate – its involvement during the war has left it stained.

    Though I long for justice for the crimes of the past, I was troubled by the rhetoric of the Shahbagh protests. One slogan was “Ar konu dabi nai. Razakar-der fashi chai!” (We have no other demand but that the collaborators be hanged). Really?!! No other demand??! What about greater justice throughout the system, or greater accountability and transparency of the government, or less corruption, or a greater effort to improve the condition of women and the poor? I just pray that the spirit we saw at the Shahbagh protests could be directed towards the further good of the society rather than a single political demand stirred by patriotism.

    • Mezba

      April 8, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      Thank you. Yes, some of the demands at Shahbag were really out there, such as the one that openly called for Shibir members to be killed. And not that Shibir or Jamaat has also come out of this smelling like roses, but the dictatorial habits of the ruling party has killed any notion of fair trial or justice in this matter.

  2. Hassan

    March 16, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    Wow, that was extremely well written article. (in terms of style, narrative etc)

    • Mezba

      April 8, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      Thank you. I tried to be objective (which is hard when it’s your nation that is burning), I would like to thank the editors of MuslimMatters for their suggestions.

  3. Hassan

    March 16, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Jamat-e-islami was also against creation of Pakistan. So not surprised that it protested against creation of bangladesh.

  4. Patriotic

    March 16, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    Dear writer and Editor
    Thanks for your nice and informative writing. However there are some mis-information, and all those gainst Jamaat. One thing need to be clear, awamileague in their election menefesto stated they want to try war criminals , but original 195 war criminals were pardoned and handed over to pakistan. War crimes act 1973 was originally enected for trial of army person not any non army. As a collaborators, none of the current accussed name were there and not a single case filed against them anywhere in bangaldesh during last 42 years. Now awamileague name of trial of crimes against the humanity is just vanishing their opposition to smooth awamileague’s way of power. Nothing else. Jamaat and shibir never was involved with attacked of minority rather they guarded those because awamileague attacking at night and trying to push blame on Jamaat and shibir.

    • rahman

      March 16, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      Sorry “patriotic”, but in this day and age, no one is buying these conspiracy theories of awamileague burning down homes of minorities and pretending to be jamaatis/shibir.

      Why is it that whenever something happens that goes against their false narrative, they come up with outrageous nonsense theories to justify themselves?

      Yea, thousands of men (and men only) exiting jamaat controlled/ influenced masjids and going on a rampage against minorities and destroying public property…YEA THEY MUST BE AWAMILEAGUE SUPPORTS BECAUSE IT CAN’T BE THE PARTYI SUPPORT NO WAY..YA THAT MAKES SENSE …!

      The end results of years of continuous brainwashing i suppose.

  5. rahman

    March 16, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Well written article. I just want to point out one thing that may shed some perspective on the ‘demands’ of Shahbag.

    You write “The Qurʾān instructs Muslims to stand up for justice; yet for Shahbag activists nothing short of the death penalty for all those charged would do. “Fashi chai” (‘we want a hanging’) was their slogan. Forgotten was the notion of innocent until guilty, or the concept of a fair trial, or the independence of the judiciary.”

    The movement started right after the sentencing of Abdul Quader Mollah to life in prison. In this case, the defendant has already been declared guilty in the court of law. As you’re Bangladeshi, you are probably aware that once opposition gets into power (in this case, the BNP with Jamaat as an alliance), they would just pardon those war criminals and they would once again walk free. Also, the awami league is pretty facist in its outlook, continually putting its fingers into everything, shutting down opposition protests (pre-shahbag), and generally behaving in an authoritarian way. All of a sudden, Mollah is found guilty in court for murder and rape and not awarded the highest punishment in Bangladesh (which in this case happens to be the death penalty) and the Awami League is silent? Rumors of backdealings for the upcoming elections? What gives?

    I believe the unfortunate reality of bangladeshi politics which would have Mollah waking free within a year and the initial silence of the awami league is what caused the initial frustration that led to the slogan “fashi chai”

  6. Gibran

    March 16, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    This was an astounding article, JazzakAllahu khair.

  7. O H

    March 17, 2013 at 3:34 AM

    Although this article seems balanced, the thing I fear is whether the references & news articles used are unbiased & honest. I would not be surprised if there are biased reports in newspapers which may exaggerate certain incidents or present them in a way which doesn’t reflect the situation in a true manner. May Allaah stablise the situation in Bangladesh & remove the oppressive & corrupt people!

    • Mezba

      April 8, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      Thank you for your concern. I can only go by “what is apparent”, this was the lesson I derived from the seerah of Caliph Umar (ra ). I tried to have a variety of sources to cancel out the biases and please do click on the sources and you can judge for yourself.

  8. O H

    March 17, 2013 at 4:18 AM

    By the way there have been reports of temples being attacked by people who do not belong to Jamaat yet Jamaat were blamed for all these attacks. This reminds of the incident which happened not long ago involving an Awami league activist vandalising the Shahid Minar, probably attempting to blame it on Jamaat-Shibir, who was caught by the police. Unsurprisingly he was released because they said he is a mental patient hence innocent!

  9. Tamim Choudhury

    March 17, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    I appreciate the well-informed and balanced writing. It seems that the nation is being bifurcated, with pro-liberation forces on one side and religious activists on the other. If the turmoil continues, it will only bring suffering to the masses, while the puppetmasters play their political games. One wonders if a third force will take advantage of this turmoil, just like in the past 2006 riots.

  10. momo

    March 17, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    The caption of your article is true, but in a way otherwise. It’s a sort of blame-game taking place at BD by the govt.
    being failed at various sectors, the present govt. is just creating an unrest through out the country.
    As you mentioned “The finger of blame has been squarely pointed at the country’s largest Islamic party, the Jamaat-e-Islami.” the next line is your answer: “Most of the leaders of that party are either in jail (awaiting sentencing for war crimes) ” However, the party is itself busy with their own affairs & existence, so it’s more logical that they wouldn’t do any actions that boosts more problem!
    It is very funny that, whatever happens, instanteneously govt. points at jammat-shibir, &later, after investigation it comes out that it’s someone else( most of the cases chatraleague/ BAL).
    one of the hindu community leader, biplob kumar, is saying that Jammat-shibir is not responsible. pls see the vdo footage:
    see another verdict of recently killed child named ‘taaki’ at Nrayangonj.
    As the real culprits are patronized by govt. the law & order situation is really under threat.

  11. momo

    March 17, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    As you mentioned “a group of influential Islamic scholars have planned a rally in Dhaka on March 23, 2013, calling for the death sentence for war criminals and a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami politics”, these people are not influential Islamic scholars, rather they are also backed and managed by Awami govt. If they were really Islamic, they wouldn’t #1. demand for death sentences of innocent, as it’s yet to prove the crime.#2. they wouldn’t share their voice with the aethists, blashphemist bloggers, whose activities are openly against Islam. beyond writing ill-stuffs at blog, the shahbag activists also sang, spent nights & danced with females which is strictly forbidden in Islam. yes, BD is on the way to become polarized of truth vs false. but it’s very much challenging, as the govt. instruments are fully against truth. most of the media are corrupted and hiding the truth. so it’s really challenge for the mass people to stand beside the truth & reject the false. may Allah show us the right path.

  12. concerned bangladeshi

    March 18, 2013 at 3:08 AM

    Contrary to claims that this article has been balanced, I find it terribly flawed and skewing towards the leftist anti islamic bloggers in Shahbag. It contrives on emotions towards the 1971 conflict and blindly claims that the 3 million deaths are valid. The exact number of deaths have not been established to date, rather the 3 million deaths was claimed by Mujib Rahman on his first visit overseas, and according to those close to him, it was an error of translation of 3 laks (300,000 used in the sub continent), which he translated as 3 million. Even though 300,000 is still a massacre, by an army who was supposed to protect its citizens, and not become an invading force, there is a huge need for the truth to come out. The 1971 conflict was between 2 secularists parties, Bhutto’s who are staunchly secularist, and Mujib’s who was also a secularist, atrocities commited by an army which also upholds secularism to a degree. Blaming the entire 1971 incident on islamic parties is a great crime in itself, tainted by many unsubstantiated claims and now being formed as facts. There is a huge fog of lies covered over the massacre of 1971, and being led by ulterior motives of some sections of the intellectual community in Bangladesh.

  13. Musa

    March 18, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    The article is reasonably balanced; if there is a slight bias , it it in favor of the Shahbag crowd, but that is natural, it is very hard to be perfectly neutral.

    There is one very reason why the Shahbag awakening did not catch up among many religious/rural types, something to do with “guilt by association”, right or wrong. When one sees that almost all Hindus, and virulently anti-Islam atheists on one camp calling for leaders of an Islamic party to be hanged, a simplistic Muslim will not support them, no matter how noble their mission.

    Whether the “mission” is noble or not is another question entirely; some claim it is a protest against war criminals, many others say they are protesting against Islamic parties, and even Islamic banks.Many others say they are fighting for secularism. If Bangladesh did not have reactionary if sometimes violent Muslims, one wouldnt be surprised to see some of the Shahbag protesters saying more anti-Islamic things. Only those who have interacted with some of the atheists would know the hatred they have for Islam and how they mock Islam, and the Prophet saws when they can get away with it

    As far as the Jamaat leaders are concerned, each case is different; Kader mollah for e.g. was almost surely guilty, Delwar Sayidee was sentenced on the basis of dodgy witnesses, and when someone like him says in tears before his sons funeral that he was not guilty, I will believe him and not a group of athiests jumping up and down and screaming “Fashi chai”.

    • Mezba

      April 8, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      Thank you for this very well balanced comment. I tried to be balanced in the article – all my relatives were freedom fighters and yet many of them do not support this trial because of the government’s infractions. To me, this whole trial is a distraction from the failures of Sh Hasina to provide basic necessities for her country.

      “As far as the Jamaat leaders are concerned, each case is different; Kader mollah for e.g. was almost surely guilty, Delwar Sayidee was sentenced on the basis of dodgy witnesses … ”

      I also tend to agree with this sentiment. What I find hypocritical is that the government is OK with the judgement when it serves them, but in the case when it doesn’t, it will change the laws to try and get the verdict they want. Surely any notion of “justice” is destroyed thus.

  14. moam

    March 18, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    As I know from my contacts that this statement is not true entirely “a rally in Dhaka on March 23, 2013, calling for the death sentence for war criminals and a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami politics”. This group is protesting against oppression and pressure on them by Awami govt. and more importantly against the atheist bloggers. May allah guide us all.

  15. Neel

    March 25, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    This is indeed a good analysis! What BD needs is unity not division. The accused must get free and fair trial acknoledged by international bodies. The present tribunal is sham and politically motivated. I am against JI’s brand of politics. But i am for a just trial which will be fitting to the
    millions of departed soul during the liberation war and settle the issue once and for all. It is really painfull not to see any balanced reading and analysis of the present crisis. All the newspapers and electronic media potrayal of the events are one sided bordering on lies and false propaganda. One or two newspaper on other side of the aisle also is not doing a good job either. One has to depend on The Economist or other foreign media to get some truth. This is bad for any democracy. In India most of the english language news papers are against BJP’s brand of politics but their reporting is objective not being opinionated in their reporting which is very much lacking in BD today. I pray BD overcomes this impasse and find a peaceful solution to this conflict.

    • Mezba

      April 8, 2013 at 10:01 AM

      Amen to your dua .

  16. Ivory Tower

    March 27, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Extremely biased and unsubstantiated article. Shame on MM for putting up this garbage.

    Bangladeshi authorities claim that as many as 3 million people were killed, although the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, an official Pakistan Government investigation, put the figure as low as 26,000 civilian casualties.[1] The international media and reference books in English have also published figures which vary greatly from 200,000 to 3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole, with 300,000 to 500,000 being a figure quoted by news outlets such as the BBC for the estimated death toll as counted by independent researchers

  17. Nahyan

    March 29, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Excellent article and overview of the situation in Bangladesh.

  18. Umm Abd'Allah

    March 29, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    I least expected such irresponsibly written article to be published in muslimmatters. From now on the credibility of this website is very sadly in question with regards to my finding a transparent source – that adheres to Islamic principles.

    This is not a blogging site – that anyone’s opinion will be put up for reach to thousands of others – at least for those who seek the truth. 

    This article plainly accuses Jamaat e Islami for the minority issues. This blame has been rejected even by the leftist groups of this Country. Even leftist think tanks have claimed – such level of atrocities have been state sponsored. 

    No significant focus has been placed on the 100+ people who have died, who have been staged out of prayers in the mosque and shot point blank. 

    Sadly in a country which has 85%+ Muslims – the Islamists have become the biggest minorities. 

    I ask – burned houses and structures are more sympathy- arousing than fallen lives? Which standard does this fall into? 

    This is a deliberate attempt to shift our focus.
    And Muslimmatters, just by declaring – this is not endorsed by you, can you Islamically act as a medium of propagation without any sort of verification? 

    Opinions are to be respected. But can anyone without verification be a propagator of that opinion? Is that Islamically allowed? That also on already proven issues. There are facts (not assumptions) that have proven such claims to be false! 

    • Gibran

      April 19, 2013 at 12:43 AM

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      “Sadly in a country which has 85%+ Muslims – the Islamists have become the biggest minorities.”

      Really mother of Abdullah, the tragedy is that Islamists have behaved like criminals. Criminal actions deserve harsh penalties.

  19. Amad

    April 4, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    Well done on the article.

    I think the figure of 3 million becomes a distraction when it is widely disputed. Maybe the better approach would be to give a range of 300,000 to 3 million, with the truth somewhere in the middle likely. Regardless I think what should be emphasized is not the exact number but that any number exists. For a “Muslim army” to inflict any carnage upon a few, let alone thousands and thousands is abominable and sufficient to make the point.

    Finally, there is little doubt that the corrupt government of Bangladesh (like Pakistan) wasn’t interested in justice or healing, but rather political opportunism… And so continues the trend of subcontinent leaders putting politics above human lives and long-term development.

    • Zeeshan

      May 3, 2016 at 7:43 AM


      Your comment is disrespectful to the thousands of ulema and mujahideen who gave their lives to keep Pakistan united in 1971. Hundreds of mujahids (both Bengali and non-Bengali) were organised into the Al-Badr and Al-Shams groups and they fought valiantly against the Indian trained secular Bengali nationalist militias. Several ulema such as Maulana Asadullah Sherazi, Maulvi Farid Ahmad, Maulana Pir Dewan Ali of Dhaka etc were martyred in that jihad by the Bengali rebels. And ALL the Islamic parties during 1971 stood with Pakistan and opposed the separation of Bangladesh (eg Jamaat e Islami, Nizam e Islami, Jamiat Ulema Islam). Even after 1971 and the emergence of Bangladesh, Maulana Maududi ran a ‘Bangladesh Namanzur’ (reject Bangladesh) campaign.

      Here are some quotes from Jamaat e Islami leaders from that time in 1971 (all of whom were Bengali). These statements are from Jamaat e Islami East Pakistan’s newspaper The Daily Sangram. This should be food for thought for you:

      On 20 June 1971, Ghulam Azam at a press conference at Lahore Airport said, “With support from many non-Muslims in East Pakistan, Sheik Mujib intends for secession. (Pakistan) Army has uprooted almost all miscreants from East Pakistan and now there is no power which can challenge the dominance of the army”.

      On August 12, 1971, Ghulam Azam declared, “the supporters of the so-called Bangladesh Movement are the enemies of Islam, Pakistan, and Muslims”.

      On 5 August 1971, Matiur Rahman Nizami (then head of Al Badr) said “Allah entrusted the pious Muslims with the responsibility to save His beloved Pakistan. (But) when the Muslims failed to solve the political problem in a political way, then Allah saved His beloved land through the (Pakistan) army”.

      …“immediately after (the 1965) war, we again submerged under falsehood. Allah’s curse (gojob) came onto us (referring to 25 March 1971). Pakistan is abode of Allah. Allah has saved it time and again; He will protect it in the future. No power of the world will be able to destroy Pakistan”.

      The Daily Sangram quoted Matiur Rahman Nizami as saying, “The Pakistani soldiers are our brothers…It is not a matter of personal dignity or partisan interest, it is a matter of Pakistan’s survival.

      “The only way the Muslims can survive here is Pakistan’s survival,” he said, adding, “With the chaos the miscreants and Indian agents had created since March 1, no one could hope that Pakistan and Pakistani Muslims would be able to survive as independent entities.”

      Lamenting the victory of Awami League in the 1970 elections, Nizami said, “Divisions within the Pakistani and Islamic leaders allowed them to win and cause havoc in this country.

      “I pray to Allah for the success, courage and sacrifice of the military brothers in facing external and internal attacks,” he said.

      He blamed the rulers for misleading and misinforming students on Islam and said, “We forgot our identity after achieving Pakistan. When India attacked our country in 1965, we became self-aware but we were confused as soon as the war ended. Allah punished us. Now we have become self-conscious again, but if we make the same mistake again, maybe Allah will not give us another chance.”

      On August 16, the Sangram reported that Nizami said, “Those who want to secede from Pakistan want to uproot Islam from this country.”

      On September 4, Nizami in a letter to the Pakistani flight cadet who died in an air fight with Bir Sreshtha Matiur Rahman described Matiur as an “Indian agent”.

      On September 8, Sangram reported Nizami as saying, “Every member of the Islami Chhatra Shangha is committed to protect every inch of Pakistan. We are even ready to attack Hindustan to protect Pakistan.”

      On September 9 Nizami said in Jessore, “Allah has punished those who conspired to destroy Pakistan…Those who said Pakistan is a graveyard have not been accepted by the land. The funeral pyres in Calcutta and Agartala are all they got.

      “The way we have come forward risking death, the same way the government should build Pakistan in a purely militaristic manner,” he said.

      Addressing a gathering of Razakars in Jessore the next day, Nizami said, “Every single one of us must identify ourselves as soldiers of Islam and we have to use all our forces to destroy the people who are involved in an armed conspiracy against Pakistan and Islam,” Sangram reported on September 15.

      The next day Nizami urged his followers to “confront and reveal the true identity of the so-called Bengali-lovers”.

      While visiting an Al-Badr camp on September 22, Nizami said, “Only the patriotic youths of East Pakistan can effectively annihilate the Indian infiltrators and their local agents.”

      Celebrating the Badr day on November 14, 1971, Nizami wrote an editorial in Sangram, saying, “Hindu forces are far stronger and capable than us. Unfortunately, a number of infidels have taken their side and are trying to weaken us from within. We have to foil their conspiracy and protect the existence and ideal of Pakistan. This is not possible only by defensive action…It is our luck that the Islam-loving youths of this country have been able to form the Al-Badr unit with the help of the Pakistani military…The youths of Al-Badr have renewed their pledge on this occasion…to stand next to the army to defeat the Hindu forces and annihilate Hindustan and hoist the flag of Islam all over the world.”

  20. Arsalan Razzaq

    April 18, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Ya, put the entire blame on Pakistan army now…..Sheikh Hasina admitted that 1963 Agartala consipiracy was real…..Trust me, no government tolerates traitors……yes the approach adopted by Pakistan army was completely flawed and I would have still objected even if it would killed a single East Pakistani……Why nobody mentions the incidents that happened prior to March 1971? Nobody mentions the massacre of Beharis and other non-Bengali East Pakistanis at the hands of Mujib ur Rehman and his armed rebels that were funded and trained by Indian intelligence agencies…..Has the Bangladeshi government ever apologized for slaughtering non-Bengali East Pakistanis at Dhaka racecourse after Pakistani army surrendered.

    • Gibran

      April 19, 2013 at 12:39 AM

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      One massacre doesn’t justify another. The Pakistan army deserve blame for the savage way they behaved. Sometimes in war, their are only criminals.

      And the first cases of judgement on yawm al Qiyamah are those of bloodshed.

    • Hyde

      April 19, 2013 at 2:31 AM

      Pakistan army has done similar things in Balochistan. It is like every other army in the Muslim world; armed to the teeth but to kill it’s own citizens Get weapons from the West (of course the Fauj itself can’t do diddly squat) and trickle down control over your people. But don’t worry, sooner or later by the grace of God, this drama will all come to an end.

  21. Selim

    July 13, 2016 at 4:16 AM

    Read your article. Thanks for sharing this awesome post………….

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