It is time to think about Jamaat-Shibir

October 1, 2013 1:44 am 23 comments __
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By Abdul Mannan

 

An Egyptian court in a bold and timely move banned Muslim Brotherhood last Monday. It was the mother organisation of Jamaat-e-Islam (Pakistan, India and Bangladesh) and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir (in Bangladesh) and many other similar organisations around the world that preaches religious terrorism and extreme violence. Not only the organisation was banned but the court also ordered confiscation of its moveable and immovable assets and declared the activities of its sister organisations illegal within the territory of Egypt. Though the country is ruled by a military government under General Sissi, it was the court that clamped down the ban instead of a military decree. The court also ordered that an independent committee should be formed by country’s Cabinet to manage the funds until final court orders are issued. The verdict can be appealed. The Brotherhood was outlawed for most of its 85 years in existence but carried out its activities under the guise of charitable organisations but covertly remained strongly organised as a political party. During the thirty years of dictatorial rule of Hosni Mubarak (and before him Anwar Sadat and Gamal Naser) no political party was allowed to function in Egypt. But due to extraordinary cunningness of the Brotherhood leadership and its network amongst the Egyptian poor the party not only prospered in silence but spread its roots in the remotest corner of the country. When Mubarak was overthrown in people’s uprising, commonly known as Tahrir Square uprising in 2011 Brotherhood removed its garb and mask opening a formal headquarters and forming a political party called Freedom and Justice Party to contest the ensuing election for the first time since its birth in 1928 and described itself as having “the same mission and goals, but different roles” than the Brotherhood. This was simply a ploy to deceive the common people. By all definition the revolution of the people to remove the dictator Mubarak and taste the much cherished rule of democracy was simply snatched by the cunning Brotherhood.The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt as Ikhwan al-Muslimūn by Hassan al-Banna in March 1928. The group spread to other Muslim countries but has its largest, or one of its largest, organisations in Egypt despite a succession of government crackdowns in 1948, 1954, 1965, 2013 after plots of assassination and overthrow were uncovered. Because there were no other alternative organised political parties in Egypt, Freedom and Justice Party won almost half the seats in the 2011–12 parliamentary elections, and its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, won the June 2012 presidential election. However Morsi was overthrown after mass protests within a year as instead of trying to solve the everyday economic and social problems of Egypt his government was more eager to torpedo Egypt back to the Middle Ages. Some of his cabinet colleagues even declared that a Muslim Egypt should not have Pyramids or Sphinx and they should be blown off like the Talibans did with two thousand year old Buddhist statues in the province of Bamyan in Afghanistan. Soon the common people were back on the streets and the Tahrir Square, triggering widespread public unrest which prompted the General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to overthrow Morsi on July 3. Egypt was backed to square one just because of the sheer stupidity of Morsi and his archaic political thoughts.

Brotherhood not only prospered covertly in Egypt by exported its ideology and doctrine to other Muslim countries in its early years. The founding of Jamaat-e-Islam in Hyderabad, India by Mowlana Maududi in 1941 was prompted by the teaching and philosophy of Banna and his Brotherhood and totally relied on preaching its doctrine through use of force and if necessary using violence. Jamaat was banned in twice in Pakistan and once in India and twice in Bangladesh, once before Bangladesh was liberated through executive order and second time through Constitutional provisions when the 1972 Constitution banned all religion based parties. Jamaat operated as the willing auxiliary forces of the Pakistani army during our War of Liberation in 1971 and committed act of mass murder, selective killing, arson, loot, forced conversion and evicting the people from their homestead forcing them to flee the country. They used their student front Islami Chhatra Sangha (present day Islami Chhatra Shibir) to execute their plans; one of the most chilling was the brutal killing of scores of country’s intellectuals just before the liberation of Bangladesh. In 1977 Chhatra Shibir regrouped to be followed by Jamaat-e-Islami. Those Jamaat leaders who were waiting to face trial for their role in 1971 was released in 1977 and later on became active in politics, but never parted with their old philosophy and doctrine of forcing people to bring to their fold through intimidation and force. It is an irony that later they became part of the state power, in the same state which they opposed during its birth. For long it was demanded that the perpetrators of the 1971 should be brought before justice and those found guilty be punished. Finally their trial began in 2010 in specially set up Tribunals and so far six of the key figures have been tried and found guilty as charged and sentenced to death. In protest Jamaat and Shibir has unleashed a reign of terror across the country to demand the release of those convicted and those being tried. They have burnt butchered to death innocent people and members of law enforcing agencies and caused immense damage to public property. Unfortunately even though such acts are committed in public some of the Western powers consider Jamaat as a ‘Moderate Islamic Party’. This has further bolstered the evil designs of Jamaat and Shibir.

While announcing the judgment by the learned Judges on three occasions Jamaat was termed as a ‘criminal organisation.’ The High Court has declared the enlistment of Jamaat by the Election Commission as illegal reinforcing the demand from those struggling to restore the spirit of on 1971 that Jamaat be banned as a political party. So far government has dragged its feet though starting from the Prime Minister to other important party policy makers have reiterated that banning of Jamaat is just matter of time. However, nothing of sort has happened so far. Jamaat can be banned by enforcing the Act 12 (C) of the Constitution or through use of the Anti Terrorism Act of 2009, or by an executive order. Besides using these measures the Provisions of the Special Powers Act of 1974 can also be used to ban the activities of Jamaat and Shibir. Hizbut Tahir, HuJI, JMB all were banned using this Act. With the banning of Brotherhood in Egypt currently 22 political parties remains banned across the world because of their anti-people and anti-state activities. To ban Jamaat in Bangladesh what is needed is the political willingness and not law. There are enough laws in the country to ban this party which has remained throughout its existence a terrorist and fascist organisation. The recent burning to death of three drivers by Shibir activists by pouring petrol on them should be an eye opener to all, especially for those who consider Jamaat a ‘Moderate Islamic Party.’ Jamaat and Shibir have declared a war on the state. Now let the state take care of itself. It is said ‘a stitch in time saves nine.’

The writer is a former Vice-chancellor, University of Chittagong. – (Courtesy : Daily Sun)

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