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Jamaat e Islami re-branding as Freedom and Justice Party

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Jamaat e Islami re-branding as Freedom and Justice Party

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Finally several key figures of Jamaat e Islami Bangladesh (JIB) have started the process of giving the pro-militancy party a new shape by copying the tactics of Muslim Brotherhood. This was mentioned by Barrister Abdur Razzaq, Assistant Secretary General of JIB in an interview with vernacular daily the Prothom Alo. Razzak has recently ‘resigned’ from JIB in protest of the party’s unwillingness in seeking apology for its nefarious role during the war of independence of Bangla-speaking in 1971. It may be further mentioned here that, prior to his ‘resignation’ from Jamaat e Islami, Razzaq was playing key-role in maintaining communications with the Western policymakers on behalf of this pro-militancy radical Islamic party. Although Razzaq’s so-called resignation and subsequent expulsion of a couple of JIB leaders have generated enthusiasm within the anti-JIB forces, particularly the ruling Awami League, the reason behind this ‘resignation’ and ‘expulsion’ are part of the masterplan of re-branding the party and re-emergence of it under the banner of Freedom and Justice Party of Bangladesh, copying Muslim Brotherhood. Majority of JIB leaders are convinced, if they can rebrand the party by changing it from Jamaat e Islami to Freedom and Justice Party, it can eventually come to power in a Muslim dominated Bangladesh with a “landslide” victory in the general election, similarly as Turkish Islamo-fascist, Reception Tayyip Erdogan’s Freedom and Justice Party (AKP).

Replying to a question by the Prothom Alo on the reason behind his earlier efforts in bringing reform within Jamaat e Islami, Razzaq said, “If you want to lead a country, you need to understand the realities of that country. You are doing politics and for that, you need to adopt policies of expanding your reach within the society to politically face other parties. Take the example of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. By re-branding it as Freedom and Justice Party, they succeeded in expanding its reach (in the society). Look into the history of AK Party in Turkey. They also have gone through reforms. Shouldn’t they adopt such reforms, they wouldn’t be able forming government through absolute majority in the election. They didn’t come through power through any manipulation (electoral). I wanted to say, there should be reform in my party (Jamaat e Islami) as well”.

Barrister Abdur Razzaq also hinted about creating space for women in getting key positions in a radical Islamic party like Jamaat for the sake of getting positive vibe from the Western policymakers.

As vernacular daily Prothom Alo reminded Barrister Razzaq about Jamaat e Islami’s slogan saying ‘Allah’r Ain Chai’ (Want Allah’s Law) and it’s constitution stating total determination towards enforcing ‘Allah’s sovereignty’, which is “referred as it’s (Jamaat’s) critics as radical Islam”, Razzaq said, “Radical stands for terrorism. Jamaat believes in the politics of moderate Islam [dear readers, there is no such terminology called politics of moderate Islam in the book of political science]. Other Muslim nations [he must be referring to Egypt, Turkey, Iran Tunisia, Malaysia, Pakistan etc] have also adopted the same policy. Jamaat of 1947, 1971 and 2019 aren’t same. Changes (in politics) have been taking place in other countries in the world. When Congress (Indian National Congress) was formed in 1880, it’s leader was a Scottish (national). Later Subhash Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi (became its leaders). Muslim League was established in 1906 under the leadership of Sir Salimullah. Salimullah’s Muslim League and Jinnah’s (founding father of Pakistan) Muslim League wasn’t same. Taking realities into consideration, reform is essential. That reform must be implemented (with Jamaat e Islami)”.

Reason behind Razzaq’s abrupt resignation:

Although most of the political leaders from the two mainstream parties, such as Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party are in awe at the sudden resignation of this prominent Jamaat e Islami leader, the reason behind it is completely strategic as Razzaq’s resignation has started the process of r-ebranding of pro-militancy Jamaat e Islami into Freedom and Justice Party of Bangladesh. The reason behind this move is clear. Jamaat now wants to emerge as a mainstream party carrying the ideology of Bangladeshi nationalism mixed with Islam. It’s allies in the world have suggested Jamaat to copy Reception Tayyip Erdogan in order to ultimately coming to power in the next general election.

While with the resignation of Razzaq, the ball of reform in Jamaat e Islami has started moving, it is strongly pursuing Western policymakers, especially the United States in exerting pressure on the ruling party in Bangladesh in holding another general election by the end of 2019. There already are clear indications of such pressure coming from the Trump administration as well as the United Nations within next few weeks. Meanwhile, a large number of ‘renegade’ leaders of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are actively plotting of expelling Tarique Rahman and his imprisoned mother Khaleda Zia from party’s top most positions by applying the constitutional provisions of the party. Once BNP is freed from Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman, it will disassociate it’s alliance with Jamaat e Islami and join hands with Freedom and Justice Party of Bangladesh – meaning, a larger nexus of nationalists and Islamists are in the offing.

Anti Awami League bloc, particularly BNP and Jamaat have become enthusiastic at the recent Germany visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, where Chancellor Angela Merkel didn’t meet her, though had been greatly expected by the Bangladesh side. Second reason behind anti-Awami League bloc’s enthusiasm is following the letters from the House Foreign Relations Committee to President Donald Trump, United Nations as well Pentagon Commander’s dossier. They have started believing, the ruling party in Bangladesh is gradually becoming isolated from the international community following the “questioned” general election of December 30, 2019.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the editor of Blitz. Follow him on Twitter @Salah_Shoaib

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