Ultra-Islamist and pro-Caliphate Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI) is taking full preparations in emerging as a political party in Bangladesh, following decisions made by Junaid Babunagari and Mamunul Haque, along with few other top-figures of the organization. It is also learned, following recent countrywide cases of Hefazat’s flexing-muscle in the name of protests, which actually were anarchism, vandalism and terrorist acts, this notorious pro-Caliphate group is looking for establishing branches and franchises in a number of countries, including India, Britain, European nations, Australia, Canada and the US. It may be mentioned here that, HeI, with financial support from Pakistan and Qatar had continued countrywide extreme notoriety during the second half of March 2021, as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bangladesh to join the golden jubilee celebration of independence as well as birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Hefazat-e-Islam emerges as political party
According to analysts, Hefazat-e-Islam already is a political party, which is working in disguise of a non-political organization, while its goal is to gradually increase its supporter base and also establish its own armed wing, with the notorious agenda of staging an Iran-prototype Islamic revolution in Bangladesh.
Most importantly, more than one-third of Hefazat-e-Islam leaders, who succeeded in seizing control of this Qawmi madrassa-based organization in November 2020, are directly connected to Islamist political parties such as Jamaat-e-Islami as well as militancy groups such as Hizbut Tahrir and Neo-JMB, and those Hefazat leaders took part in the 2018 general election under the platform of BNP-Jamaat alliance.
According to information, the inclusion of leaders of Jamiyat-a-Ulamaye Islam, a component of the 20-party alliance led by the BNP, is the prime example. Thirty-four of its leaders made it to the 151-member new committee of Hefazat-e-Islam.
Jamiyat is registered with the Election Commission in Bangladesh as a political party. In fact, this was for the first time Hefazat made the general secretary of Jamiyat its secretary general, although earlier it was believed, Hefazat-e-Islam would be led by non-political individuals. Six top leaders of Khelafat Majlish (Caliphate Forum), a component of pro-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led alliance had also been included in the existing committee of HeI.
At least 16 leaders of Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish, four of Islami Oikya Jote (Islami Unity Front) and six of Khelafat Andolon (Caliphate Movement) were accommodated in the Hefazat’s new committee.
Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish and Islami Oikya Jote are also registered with the Election Commission as political parties.
Ever-since the new committee of Hefazat-e-Islam, comprising politicians with direct links with Islamist forces in Bangladesh as well as connections with Qatar, Pakistan and even Afghan Taliban groups, HeI is gradually showing its notorious face of being another version of Al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS).
Hefazat-e-Islam establishing international branches
According to credible sources, since August last year, leaders of Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI) are communicating with various individuals in the US, Britain and European nations, as well as India and Nepal with the target of establishing branch of HeI of forming alliance or granting franchise. It is further learned, hundreds of members of Tablighi Jamaat are ideologically supportive to HeI, while there is a strong possibility that Hefazat may finally succeed in establishing international branches and franchises with the direct help from Tablighi Jamaat and radical Islamic groups in the western nations.
Hefazat-e-Islam’s dangerous goal
Although Hefazat-e-Islam, by pretending as non-political entity has already succeeded in getting its ‘Daora-e-Hadith’ degree recognized by the government as equivalent to Masters degree, as well as many other undue demands been accepted by the government, the group now is focusing on penetrating as much as possible of its ‘Daora-e-Hadith’ degree holders within civil and military services in the country. It may be mentioned here that, ‘Daora-e-Hadith’ degree is purely based on Koran-based education, where those students of the Qawmi madrassas are poisoned with heavy religious extremism and religious hatred. Hundred percent of Qaomi-madrassa teachers and students consider democratic system as “law of Satan” or “law of the enemies of Allah”, while they firmly uphold nefarious spirit of murdering non-Muslims in the name of jihad and establishment of Sharia rule or Caliphate through political and armed movement. According to my opinion, there is no ideological difference between Hefazat-e-Islam and those radical Islamic militancy groups such as Al Qaeda, Islamic State etcetera.
The new leadership of Hefazat are in favor of strengthening its political strength alongside military wing, meaning, this is going to ultimately emerge as the next jihadist outfit, posing gravest threat to national security of Bangladesh, the region and the world.
Policymakers in the world, as well as counterterrorism organizations should take the case of Hefazat-e-Islam very seriously, and in case of necessity, the US Department of State, as well as governments in India, the European Union, Britain and Middle Eastern countries should designate Hefazat-s-Islam as an emerging militancy outfit.