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Taliban, Hefajoti Islami and The Dream of a Secular Bangladeshi


By Matiar Chowdhury:

No sir no, we do not have Taliban in Bangladesh. But we do have Hefajote Islam, Jamate Islam, JMB (Jamaetul Mujahideen Bangladesh) and also BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) etc. Name goes on and on. They come in all shape and form. Unfortunately, it’s a good business of hatred in South Asian Muslim countries. Never speak about development of the country or any other humanitarian issues, but always fill hate in everyone’s head is the motto for these socalled Islamic Parties. BNP is apparently moderate party (that’s what they say), but they are also the direct or indirect sponsors of Talibani type Islamic parties in Bangladesh. I remember some of their parliament members had to be thrown out of the Bangladesh parliament for their hate speech against our Hindu community. Now, on 19 August 2021, Hefajote Islami supreme leader Babu Nagri passed away. He has lots of other title all around his name. But, to me all sounds funny, when these type of so called Islamic leaders lack in basic humanity.

Before his death, he saw how most of his followers and fellow leaders were put in jail by the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government. All this started happening during and afterwards when, Honourable Prime Minster of India Narendra Modi’s visited Bangladesh early this year.

As a Bangladeshi secular citizen, it was difficult for us to overlook and ignore the violence Hefajotis were committing earlier this year. But, the Bangladesh government initially showed restrain and waited to show the world; that these backward and uncivilised Hefajote Islami followers, neither believe in Islam nor they love their country. They are always racist towards our minority Hindus, Buddhist, Christian and atheist fellow citizens. They do not like female leadership. They ignore the fact that Bangladeshi female cricket team beat, our mighty neighbour India to become Asian T20 Cricket champion just few years back. Our male cricket team, yet to give us such victory in International Cricket. I am not showing off (or maybe I am !!! Please pardon me!), but, YES, my dear readers we Bengalis can play cricket these days beside being good in football. But I always hope our sports rivalry with our colourful diverse Mota Bhai India (or Really Big Elder brother) in the neighbourhood will always remain in the sports ground. Please never beat us in Cricket (or any other sports), but we pray that you always beat our Crazy Meja Bhai Pakistan. Woh toh gaya, due to crazy Talibani brain poison !!

Now coming back to the serious topic of Hefajoti Islami. In Bangladesh, Hefajoti Islami leaders make a lot of money from ‘WAZ’ or so called Islamic speech and Madrasa funding. These so called Islamic speeches are mostly hate filled speech against everyone except Hefajote version of Muslims. So, in a background as such government started taking actions early this year. Death to any human being is sad. But sometimes it is necessary. Our police forces shot and killed more than 17 Hefajote Islami supporters. One of their key leader Mamunul Haque was caught red-handed with another man’s wife in a resort near outskirts of Dhaka. This is when his followers were almost ready to go to heaven for this leader and also, their hate filled version of Islam. Government had then thrown him in jail and all other trouble makers including some of their key leaders and followers, were also put in jail one by one.

For us it was like Eid. Because as a Bangladeshi, we do not want to go backward or become a failed state unlike our neighbour Pakistan or Afghanistan. We want to be a progressive secular developed welfare country. Yes we do have Muslim majority. AND, Yes I am a Bengali and I am a Muslim. But, I am and I will always remain secular Bengali first and foremost., I will sing loud that “Amar shonar bangla ami tomai valobashi” Oh my beloved Golden Bangla I love you more and even more”.

We shall never forget the contribution and outmost sacrifice made for us by Indian forces and the common Indian citizens during 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. But, hopefully India will also respectfully remember the historic contributions made by the British East Bengal regiments and East Bengali rebels during British Era for the cause of Indian freedom struggle.

In a time, when Afghanistan is controlled by the backward Taliban, our expectation from Bangladesh is all secular progressive forces of the sub-continent will fight against theseTalibanis hand in hand.

( Matiar Chowdhury London 5th Septeber 2021.)