Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami

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Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami
Founder Abbas Ali Khan (Joypurhat)
Headquarters Dhaka, Bangladesh
Ideology Political Islam
Seats in the Jatyo Sangshad
0 / 300
Politics of Bangladesh
Political parties

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ জামায়াতে ইসলামী), previously known as Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, and Jamaat for short,[1] is the largest[2] Islamist political party in Bangladesh.[3][4] On 1 August 2013 the Bangladesh Supreme Court declared the registration of the Jamaat-e-Islami illegal ruling that the party is unfit to contest national polls.[5][6][7][8] Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami wants to expel minorities from Bangladesh, and reunify Bangladesh with Pakistan.[9]

In 1971, the predecessor of the party Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan took a stance against the independence of Bangladesh and opposed the break-up of Pakistan. It collaborated with the Pakistani Army in its operations against Bengali nationalists and pro-liberation intellectuals. Many of its leaders and activists participated in paramilitary forces[10] that were implicated in war crimes, such as mass murder, especially of Hindus, rape and forced conversions of Hindus to Islam.[11][12][13][14] Jamaat-e-Islami members led the formation of the Shanti Committee, and the Razakar and Al-Badr paramilitary forces.[10][15][16]

Upon the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, the new government banned Jamaat-e-Islami from political participation and its leaders went into exile in Pakistan. Following the assassination of the first president and the military coup that brought Maj. Gen. Ziaur Rahman to power in Bangladesh in 1975, the ban on the Jamaat was lifted and the new party Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh was formed. Its leaders were allowed to return. Abbas Ali Khan was the first Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh. The Jamaat agenda is the creation of an "Islamic state" with the Shariat legal system, and outlawing "un-Islamic" practices and laws.

In the 1980s, the Jamaat joined the multi-party alliance for the restoration of democracy. It later allied with Ziaur Rahman's Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Jamaat leaders became ministers in the two BNP-led regimes of prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia. Its popularity has decreased and in 2008, it won only two of 300 elected seats in Parliament. In 2010 the government, led by the Awami League, began prosecution of war crimes committed during the 1971 war under the International Crimes Tribunal; by 2012, two leaders of the BNP and eight of Jamaat had been charged with war crimes. By March 2013, three Jamaat leaders had been convicted of crimes. In response, the Jamaat has held major strikes and violent protests across the country, which have led to more than 60 deaths (mostly by security forces)[17] and a mass destruction of public and national properties.

History of the party[edit]

British India (1941–1947)[edit]

The Jamaat-e-Islami was founded in pre-partition India by Syed Ab'ul Ala Maududi at Islamia Park, Lahore on 26 August 1941 as a movement to promote Socio-Political Islam. Jamaat opposed the creation of a Pakistan as a separate state for the Muslims of India. Jamaat-e-Islami did not support the Muslim League, then the largest Muslim party, in the election of 1946.

After independence and partition, Maududi moved to Pakistan from India. The current party in Bangladesh developed from the East Pakistan wing of the formerly national party.

Pakistan Period (1948–1971)[edit]

After the creation of Pakistan, Jamaat-e-Islami divided into separate Indian and Pakistani national organisations. Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami developed from the Jamaat wing in then-East Pakistan.

Jammat-e-Islami participated in the democratic movement in Pakistan during the Martial Law Period declared by General Ayub Khan. An all-party democratic alliance (DAC) was formed in 1965. Ghulam Azam of Jamaat was a member of the alliance, which also included Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[18][19]

During the Bangladesh Liberation War, a by-election was ordered by the military administration of West Pakistan; it appointed Rao Farman Ali in charge. Ali wanted to reward the rightist political parties who helped the army and awarded 44 seats to Jamaat.[20]

Later Ghulam Azam coordinated the development and operation of paramilitary forces during the war, including Razakar, Al-shams, Al-badr for collaboration with the Pakistan Army. These units committed genocide and other war crimes at the time, most notorious of which were the systematic execution of Bengali pro-liberation intellectuals on 14 December 1971. As the war neared its end, a final effort to wipe off as many intellectuals as possible took place, to eliminate the future leaders of the new nation. On 14 December 1971, over 200 of East Pakistan's intellectuals including professors, journalists, doctors, artists, engineers, and writers were picked up from their homes in Dhaka by the Al-Badr militias . Notable novelist Shahidullah Kaiser and playwright Munier Choudhury were among the victims. They were taken blindfolded to torture cells in Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Nakhalpara, Rajarbagh and other locations in different sections of the city. Later they were executed en masse, most notably at Rayerbazar and Mirpur. Jamaat strongly opposed an independent Bangladesh, which it considers to be founded against the principles of Islam.

Bangladesh Period (1978–present)[edit]

Jamaat was banned after the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, and its top leaders fled to West Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, first president of Bangladesh also cancelled the citizenship of Golam Azam, the leader of Jamaat. Azam then moved to UK and Pakistan, and other leaders moved to the Middle East.[21] Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated in 1975, enabling army chief Major general Ziaur Rahman to seize power. With Rahman's coup, Jamaat again resumed political activities in Bangladesh. Rahman also allowed Azam to return to Bangladesh as the leader of Jamaat.[21] After the end of military rule in 1990, mass protests began against Azam and Jamaat under war criminal charges headed by Jahanara Imam, an author who lost her two sons and husband in the liberation war. Azam's citizenship was challenged in a case that went to the Bangladesh Supreme Court, as he held only a Pakistani passport. Absent prosecution of Azam for war crimes, the Supreme Court ruled that he had to be allowed a Bangladeshi passport and the freedom to resume his political activities. Bangladesh police arrested Jamaat-e-Islami chief and former Industry Minister Matiur Rahman Nizami from his residence in the capital in a graft case on 19 May 2008. Earlier, two former Cabinet Ministers of the immediate past BNP-led alliance government, Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and Shamsul Islam were sent to Dhaka Central Jail after they surrendered before the court.[citation needed] The Jamaat-e-Islami party has become less popular. In the parliamentary elections of December 2008, the Jamaat-e-Islami party garnered fewer than 5 seats out of the total 300 that constitute the national parliament. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party is concerned, as the Jamaat-e-Islami has been their primary political partner in the Four-Party Alliance.[22]

The Jamaat in parliamentary elections[edit]

1973 Parliament Election 1979 Parliament Election 1986 Parliament Election 1991 Parliament Election 1996 Parliament Election 2001 Parliament Election 2008 Parliament Election
Party was banned because of its contention with Bangladeshi independence and collaboration with the Pakistani army. Party was allowed to start political activities. Back in those days they ran under the name of Islamic Democratic League and they contested the pole allying with resurfaced Muslim League. Won 10 seats.[23] Won 18 seats.[23] Won 3 seats.[23] Won 17 seats. (took part by forming alliance with 3 other parties.)[23] Won 2 seats.[24](took part by forming alliance with 3 other parties.)


Involvement in war crimes[edit]

Many of Jamaat's leaders are accused of committing war crimes during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971 and several have already been convicted by the International Crimes Tribunal.[25]

International Crimes Tribunal[edit]

By November 2011, the International Crimes Tribunal had charged two BNP leaders and ten Jamaat leaders with war crimes committed during the Bangladesh liberation war.

Abul Kalam Azad, a nationally known Islamic cleric and former member of Jamaat, was charged with genocide, rape, abduction, confinement and torture. He was tried in absentia after having fled the country; police believe he is in Pakistan.[26] In January 2013 Azad was the first suspect to be convicted in the trials; he was found guilty of seven of eight charges and sentenced to death by hanging.[27] Azad's defence lawyer, a prominent Supreme Court lawyer appointed by the state, did not have any witnesses in the case; he said Azad's family failed to cooperate in helping locate witnesses and refused to testify.[28]

The summary of verdict in the conviction of Abdul Quader Molla recognized the role played by Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing ('Islami Chatra Sangha') as collaborators with the Pakistan Army in 1971. The party was found guilty of forming paramilitary forces, such as Razakar and Al-Badr. It was said to have taken part in the systematic genocide of the Bangladeshi people and other violent activities.[29]

As a result of the trials, the activists of the 2013 Shahbag Protest have demanded that the government ban Jamaat from Bangladeshi politics.[30][31] In response, the government started drafting a bill to ban Jamaat-e-Islami from Bangladeshi politics.[32]

On 28 February 2013, Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, the deputy of Jamaat, was found guilty of genocide, rape and religious persecution. He was sentenced to death by hanging.[33] His defence lawyer had earlier complained that a witness who was supposed to testify for him was abducted from the gates of the courthouse on 5 November 2012, reportedly by police, and has not been heard from since. The government did not seem to take the issue seriously after the prosecution denied there was a problem.[34]

Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, senior assistant secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami was indicted on 7 June 2012 on 7 counts of crimes against humanity.[35] On 9 May 2013 he was convicted and given the death penalty on five counts of mass killings, rape, torture and kidnapping.[36]

Ghulam Azam, ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh until 2000 was found guilty by the ICT on five counts. Incitement, conspiracy, planning, abatement and failure to prevent murder. He was sentenced on 15 July 2013 to 90 years imprisonment.[37]

Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami was sentenced to death by hanging on 17 July 2013.[38]

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, who fled to UK after the liberation of Bangladesh and a leader of the London-based Jamaat organization Dawatul Islam[39] indicted for crimes against humanity and genocide and being a leader of the Al-Badr militia. He is also accused of the murder of Bangladesh's top intellectuals during the war, although he has denied all charges.[40]

Cancellation of Registration[edit]

On 27 January 2009, Bangladesh Supreme Court issued a ruling after 25 people from different Islamic organizations, including Bangladesh Tariqat Federation’s Secretary General Syed Rezaul Haque Chandpuri, Jaker Party’s Secretary General Munshi Abdul Latif and Sammilita Islami Jote’s President Maulana Ziaul Hasan, filed a joint petition . Jamaat e Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mujaheed and the Election Commission Secretary were given six weeks time to reply, but they did not. The ruling asked to explain as to "why the Jamaat’s registration should not be declared illegal". As a verdict of the ruling, High Court cancelled the registration of the Jamaat-e-Islami on 1 August 2013,[5][41] ruling that the party is unfit to contest national polls because its charter puts God above democratic process.[5][6][7][8][42]

On 5 August 2013 the Supreme Court rejected Jamaat's plea against the High Court. The chamber judge of the Appellate Division Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik while rejecting the Jamaat’s petition seeking stay on the High Court verdict, said that the Jamaat could move a regular appeal before the Appellate Division against the verdict after getting its full text.[43]

Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir[edit]

The student wing[44] of this organisation is the Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir, a major organisation at many colleges and universities including the Chittagong College, University of Chittagong, University of Dhaka, Rajshahi University, Islamic University etc. It is also influential in the madrassa system. It was known as Pakistan Islami Chattra Shangha[45] before the Liberation war of Bangladesh. Members of Pakistan Islami Chattra Shangha led the formation of Al-Badr that involved in the 1971 killing of bengali intellectuals and some of them have already been convicted by International Crimes Tribunal[46][47][48][49][50] It is a member of the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth. Activists of this organization extort money from the students of many educational institutions, hostel residents and traders of neighbouring areas[51][52] in the name of Baitul Mal (party fund).[51][52] Activists of Shibir also pressure the students to sign the supporter's document (form) of the organization as well as join the organisation.[51] This student group is also involved in violent clashes with other student groups,[53] is extremely militant and has been linked to numerous acts of violence.[54] The group has also been linked to a number of larger terrorist organizations both in Bangladesh, and internationally.[54] It has been dubbed by the IHS Inc. as the world third most violent terrorist group.[55]

Relation to Violence[edit]

Supporters of Jamaat and its student wing Shibir stand accused of being involved in committing violence to retain their political power.[56] They have been accused of cutting opponent political party activist's tendon to instigating riot by spreading false news.[56][57][58]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ITTEFAQ.COM". Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Sanjay Kumar, The Diplomat. "Islamic Fundamentalists Terrorize Minorities in Bangladesh". The Diplomat. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "Bangladesh's election: The tenacity of hope - The Economist". The Economist. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Bangladesh and war crimes: Blighted at birth, The Economist
  5. ^ a b c Writ Petition 630/2009; Jamaat loses registration -
  6. ^ a b "Bangladesh court declares Jamaat illegal". Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "BBC News - Bangladesh high court restricts Islamist party Jamaat". BBC News. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Farid Ahmed and Saeed Ahmed, CNN (1 August 2013). "Bangladesh high court declares rules against Islamist party -". CNN. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "BANGLADESH Islamic party wants to expel minorities, reunify with Pakistan - Asia News". Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Rubin, Barry A. (2010). Guide to Islamist Movements. M.E. Sharpe. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-7656-4138-0. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Bangladesh party leader accused of war crimes in 1971 conflict". The Guardian. 3 October 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Charges pressed against Ghulam Azam". New Age. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Ghulam Azam was 'involved'". The Daily Star. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "Bangladesh: Abdul Kader Mullah gets life sentence for war crimes". BBC News. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  15. ^ "ভারতীয় চক্রান্ত বরদাস্ত করব না (We will never tolerate Indian conspiracy)". The Daily Sangram. 13 April 1971. 
  16. ^ Fair, C. Christine (16 June 2010). Pakistan: Can the United States Secure an Insecure State?. Rand Corporation. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-0-8330-4807-3. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  17. ^ BBC (2013), Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina rejects blasphemy law .
  18. ^ Gholam Azam
  19. ^ Rahman Nizami
  20. ^ Salik, Siddiq (1977). "Politico-Military". Witness to Surrender (First ed.). Dhaka, Bangladesh: The University Press Limited. p. 110. ISBN 984 05 1373 7. 
  21. ^ a b BBC News - Bangladesh war crimes trial: Key defendants
  22. ^ [1]. The Daily Star
  23. ^ a b c d BANGLAPEDIA: Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh
  24. ^ "National Election Result 2008: Seat Wise Total Status". Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  25. ^ "". The Guardian. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  26. ^ Quadir, Serajul (21 January 2013). "Islamic cleric sentenced to death for Bangladesh war crimes". Reuters. 
  27. ^ Ahmed, Tanim; Golam Mujtaba (21 January 2013). "ICT’s death penalty for ‘Bachchu Razakar’". BD News 24. 
  28. ^ Correspondent, Staff (21 January 2012). "Azad to be hanged for war crimes". The Daily Star. 
  29. ^ "Summary of verdict in Quader Mollah case". The Daily Star (Bangladesh). 6 February 2013. 
  30. ^ "Shahbagh grand rally demands ban on Jamaat", The Daily Star, 9 February 2013
  31. ^ "Cry for Jamaat ban". 8 February 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  32. ^ "‘Bill to ban Jamaat on way’". 12 February 2013. 
  33. ^ Jazeera, Al (28 February 2013). "Bangladesh Jamaat leader sentenced to death". Al Jazeera. 
  34. ^ Adams, Brad (16 January 2013). "Bangladesh: Find Abducted Witness". Thomson Reuters Foundation. 
  35. ^ Correspondent, Staff (16 April 2013). "Kamaruzzaman verdict ‘any day’". Bd News 24. 
  36. ^ Hossain, Farid (9 May 2013). "Backlash feared as Bangladesh sentences Islamic politician Muhammad Kamaruzzaman to death". The Independent. 
  37. ^ Khalidi, Toufique Imrose (15 July 2013). "90 years for Jamaat guru Ghulam Azam". BD News 24. 
  38. ^ India, DNA (17 July 2013). "Top Islamist Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed gets death for war crimes in Bangladesh". DNA India. 
  39. ^ Genocide 1971, An Account Of The Killers And Collaborators Genocide ’71 (5 ed.). Muktijuddha Chetana Bikash Kendra. pp. 185, 248.
  40. ^ "British Muslim leader Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity". The Telegraph. 2 May 2013.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  41. ^ HC declares Jamaat registration illegal
  42. ^ Bangladesh’s volatile politics: The battling begums
  43. ^ "Bangladesh SC rejects Jamaat’s plea against disqualification". The Hindu. 5 August 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  44. ^ "Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS)". Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  45. ^ "Islami Chhatra Shibir". Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  46. ^ The Hindu
  47. ^
  48. ^ "Key man of Al-Badr". The Daily Star. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  49. ^ "Mirpur butcher Molla must die, says SC". Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  50. ^
  51. ^ a b c New Age
  52. ^ a b "Shibir rented out RU hall seats". Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  53. ^ "Islami Chhatra Shibir". Priyo News. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  54. ^ a b "Terrorist Organization Profile: Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS)". National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  55. ^ "Global Terrorism & Insurgency Attacks Rapidly Increase in Five Years, According to IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre". Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  56. ^ a b "National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism". University of Maryland. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  57. ^ "Photoshopped pic of Sayedee used to instigate Bogra violence". The Daily Star (Bangladesh). 4 March 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  58. ^ "Fanatics used fake facebook page to run rampage in Ramu". The Daily Star (Bangladesh). 14 October 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 

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