Back in 2013, on May 5th, pro-Caliphate Hefazat-e-Islam and its cohorts, with the direct collaboration of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami had made a foul bid of unseating the democratically elected government in Bangladesh, copying Iranian mullah Ayatollah Rohullah Khomeini, with the evil desire of establishing caliphate in Bangladesh. Thanks to law enforcement and intelligence agencies as well as patriotic people of Bangladesh, who had successfully foiled such notorious agenda of Hefazat.
After almost eight years, Hefazat-e-Islam, with financial backing of Pakistani spy agency ISI and terror-patron nations such as Qatar and Turkey were back on its conspiracy blueprint with the ulterior agenda of implementing their notorious desire of establishment caliphate in Bangladesh, under the pretense of anti-Modi protests throughout the country.
According to intelligence sources, Hefazat-e-Islam and its cohorts and funders were secretly working on their blueprint of unseating the government in Bangladesh for months. Prior to their anti-Modi protests, there had been series of meetings in several madrassas in the country, where front-ranking leaders of the pro-Caliphate group, including Junaid Babunagari, Mamunul Haque and others were present. These Islamist leaders gave provocation to madrassa students to prepare for sacrificing lives in their “jihad” against the “enemies of Islam”.
This time, according to sources, leaders of Hefazat-e-Islam were looking for implementing 10-points, which would enable this notorious and ferocious group in seizing power from the democratically elected government in Bangladesh. Those points are:
- Formation of an interim Islamic government with Junaid Babunagari as its chief. It also finalized a 10-members advisory council, comprising members from various Islamist parties, including Khelafat Majlish, Khelafat Andolan etcetera.
- Suspending the constitution and running the country under Islamic sharia rule.
- Formation of Sharia courts throughout the country by replacing the existing judicial system.
- Trying the members of the ruling party as well as their supporters, including editors and journalists of “secularist and atheist” media outlets. It also had agenda of setting convicted leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, including war criminal Delowar Hussain Sayeedi free from the prison.
- Formation of Islamic constitutional bodies with madrassa teachers, Islamic scholars and leaders of the Islamist political parties.
- Executing the secularists and atheists, including civil-military officials, editors, journalists, cultural activists, social activists, women activists and critics of Islamic sharia rule. It also planned to execute supporters and friends of India by branding them as “enemies of Bangladesh”.
- Release a list of apostates and atheists and gradually execute them through Sharia courts.
- Place students and teachers of Qawmi [Koranic] madrassa in various key civil, military and judicial positions in Bangladesh.
- Promulgate blasphemy law with the provision of death penalty.
- Ban television channels, radio stations, cultural groups, theater groups, cinema halls etcetera.
Hefazat-e-Islam’s connections with Tablighi Jamaat
As Tablighi Jamaat has been serving as the recruitment vessel of various radical Islamic militancy groups, including Al Qaeda and Islamic State, Hefazat-e-Islam had also established connections with it mainly with two agendas – to inspire people towards radical Islam and jihad; and organize Muslims in India against state machinery as well as Hindus. Funders and patrons of Hefazat, such as Pakistani ISI had considered Tablighi Jamaat as a convenient platform of spreading message of radical Islam and religious hatred within Bangladesh and India in particular as well as other nations in the region.
Two wings of Hefazat-e-Islam
Back in 2013, although Hefazat-e-Islam began its notoriety mostly through physical presence, in 2021, their strategy was different. This time, it had established a strong cyber wing mostly comprising madrassa students and teachers, while thousands of radicalized Muslims have enthusiastically joined this second wing of the pro-Caliphate group. Despite the fact of several Hefazat-e-Islam leaders being arrested and interrogated by the law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh, the cyber wing of the group is continuing activities in full swing, and unfortunately, Bangladesh’s law enforcement agencies are lacking required logistics and manpower to combat the dangerous activities of the cyber wing of Hefazat and its like-minded groups and outfits. In my opinion, activities of the cyber wing of Hefazat and pro-Caliphate forces poses much serious threat to our national security as these are being able to have impact on the minds of the Muslims through propaganda materials, which are being flooded in the social media and video-sharing platforms.
It is essential for Bangladesh authorities to take immediate measures in combating the ongoing cyber jihadist activities of Hefazat-e-Islam and its radical Islamic cohorts.