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Bangladesh: A Declaration of War

Bangladesh: A Declaration of War

“So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are (true) believers.” [1]

It is with sadness and regret that we hear the news of the extrajudicial and unlawful killing of ‘Abdul Qader Mullah (Raḥimullah) [2] who was one of the leaders of the largest Islāmic party in Bangladesh, Jamaat-e- Islāmi (the Jamaat).

In order to make sense of the present, we must seek to understand the past.

Background

What happened on Thursday 12th December 2013, allegedly finds its roots in what took place in 1971 in the conflict between the then West Pakistan (present day Pakistan) and East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh) in what was known as the ‘War of Independence’ or to Bangladeshis ‘the War’.

The war was waged by Indian-backed guerrilla forces of East Pakistan against the Pakistani army when Shaikh Mujibur Rahman, who was head of the leading political party in East Pakistan, the Awami League (A.L.), was detained by the ruling Pakistani President, Yahya Khan in 1970. In these years, there was rising discontent in East Pakistan over the atrocities committed by the Pakistani army against Bengalis and the neglect of the issues and needs of East Pakistan by the ruling regime. Despite forming a majority of the population, the Bengalis in East Pakistan were poorly represented in Pakistan’s civil services, police and military. There were also conflicts between the allocation of revenues and taxation.

Yahya Khan ordered the arrest of Mujibur Rahman and initiated ‘Operation Searchlight’ on 25 March 1971. The Operation included plans to murder Bengali intellectual, cultural, and political elite in order to eradicate the challenge to its rule. The conflict lasted for 9 months during which it is estimated by the government of Bangladesh that up to 3 million people were killed – this figure is in dispute and there is no way of verifying the actual number of how many perished.

The Jamaat party which was originally set up by Syed Ab’ul ‘Ala Maududi (Raḥimullah) in India in 1941 as a movement to promote Socio-Political Islām in India and later in West and East Pakistan, strongly opposed an independent Bangladesh during the War, which it considered to be against the teachings of Islām – to be fighting a fellow Muslim on the basis of nationalism.

Upon the independence of Bangladesh, the new government banned Jamaat from political participation and its leaders went into exile in Pakistan. The Constitution of Bangladesh proclaimed a secular democracy with freedom of religion, expression and conscience as its fundamental tenets.

On 15 August 1975, a group of junior army officers invaded the presidential residence and killed Mujib, his family and personal staff. Only his daughters, Sheik Hasina Wajed and Sheikh Rehana survived.

Following a period of turmoil, General Ziaur Rahman came to power in 1977 and reinstated multi-party politics and founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) . This was also the period when the ban on Jamaat was lifted and its leaders were allowed to return to Bangladesh.

The Arrests and the Trial

Hasina Wajed, the daughter of Mujib became the leader of A.L. in 1981. She held position as Prime Minister between 1996 – 2001. In 2009, A.L. once again returned to government. Despite a 40 year delay and lack of any previous allegations concerning the conduct of the those accused of war crimes, Hasina resurrected the obsolete International Criminal Tribunal (ICT) for the first time since 1973 to bring alleged perpetrators of crimes committed in the war to justice. The ICT, when it was founded was supposed to be modeled on the Nuremberg Tribunals which were set up in Europe following the Second World War to bring Germany’s Nazis to justice.

On 26 July 2010, the ICT issued arrest warrants against four Jamaat leaders, its Ameer, Motiur Rahman Nizami; its Secretary General, Ali Ahsan Muhammed Mujahid and Senior Assistant Secretary Generals, Muhammad Kamarauzzaman and Abdul Qader Mullah (Raḥimullah). Another leader and renowned scholar, Dilwar Hussain Saydee was also later arrested. The charges brought against them can broadly be categorised as (i) Crimes against Humanity; (ii) Genocide and (iii) War Crimes. [3]

Right from its inception, the ICT has been widely condemned as politically motivated and lacking in basic safeguards of the rights of the accused and viewed as a Kangaroo Court. [4] The government of Hasina has also amended the Constitution and passed new laws known as the Amendment Act 2009 to curtail the rights of accused persons facing ‘war crimes’ allegations. [5] Just as it is relatively silent on fair trial rights, the Act is silent on the definitions of war crimes and crimes against humanity, rendering it impossible for the defense to address core elements whilst giving the government-appointed prosecution and judges apparently free reign to mould the law as they go along in proceedings that expressly provide for the death penalty. There has been severe curtailment of the defense’s right to call witnesses. [6]

In December 2012, The Economist published contents of leaked communication evidencing communication between the chief justice of the ICT and the government. [7] In February 2013, all those accused were given death sentences. Following this, further criticism was made once again by The Economist in March 2013 mentioning government interference, restrictions on public discussion, not enough time allocated for the defense, the kidnapping of a defense witness and a judge resigning over his impartiality all brought into question the findings from the ICT. [8]

The Human Rights Watch (Asia branch) said in November 2012 that “the trials against the alleged war criminals are riddled with questions about the independence and impartiality of the judges and fairness of the process”. [9] Toby Cadman, an international law expert and advisor to the Jamaat stated that “the international community should take immediate action to stop the injustice.” [10] Speaking for the British Government, Sayeeda Warsi of the Conservative Party said of the verdicts “we remain strongly opposed to the application of the death penalty in all circumstances”. Amnesty International said in February 2013 “The government must not simply use their majority in Parliament to change the law so that they can ask the Supreme Court to impose a death sentence. We urge the government to resist this. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel and inhuman form of punishment, and the government should abolish it altogether, not call for it”. [11]

A War on Islām

Whilst it is clear that mass killings did take place in Bangladesh during the War at the hands of the Pakistani army and their sympathisers, there is no proof that those who are accused were ever involved in this. It is of course feasible that some members of Jamaat had participated in perpetrating some of these acts but ultimately, the Jamaat are collectively held responsible primarily because they were opposed to the creation of another state. What the A.L. have done however is to exploit this in order to maintain their grip on power and have been using the art of propaganda for years on end vilifying and demonising the Jamaat with the use of degrading and demeaning words such as Rezakars and Shibir – traitors and enemies of the state. As the author George Orwell stated, “He who controls the present, controls the past”.  [12]

The genuine hurt, pain and grievances felt by Bangladeshis concerning the War should not be underestimated – you will often find in households within the UK and beyond families being vehemently divided over this issue – father on side of A.L. whilst the son/daughter on the side of Jaamat. It is for this reason that you see many rejoicing in the streets a few days ago in Bangladesh at the announcement of the death of Abdul Qader Mullah and celebrating by treating one another to sweets, a custom associated in Asia with joyous festivities.

Bangladesh was founded on nationalistic principles where allegiance to one’s nationality and land is the principal mantra running through the DNA of the country and therein lays the problem. At the time of the Messengership of Muhammad (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam), the Arabs had no power.  In the north, Syria was under the Romans who appointed local Arab rulers. Similarly, in the south, Yemen was under the tutelage of the Persian Empire and was ruled by Arabs under its domination. Arabs were masters only of Hijaz, Tihama and Naid, which were waterless deserts with a few oasis’s here and there. Here it is also well-known that the Prophet (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) was called ‘al-Amīn as- Sādiq’, (The Trustworthy and Truthful) by his people. His lineage was from the Banu Hashim, which was the noblest branch of the Quraish. It can therefore be said that the Messenger of Allāh (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) was quite easily capable of kindling among his compatriots the fire of Arab nationalism and would thereby have united them. They would have responded gladly to this call for they were weary of continual tribal warfare and blood feuds. He would then have been able to free the Arab lands from the domination of Roman and Persian imperialism and would have been able to establish a united Arab state. But nationalism is not the Sunnah (the way) of Allāh (Subḥanahu wa ta’āla). The ‘grouping’ of men which Islām proclaims is based on the Deen alone, the faith in which all peoples of any race or colour are equal under the declaration of “Lā ilāha illAllāh” – it was this declaration which brought together a community of the first generation of which there was Abu Bakr (RaḍiAllāhu ‘anhu) from Arabia, Bilal (RaḍiAllāhu ‘anhu) from Abyssinia, Shuaib (RaḍiAllāhu ‘anhu) from Syria and Salman (RaḍiAllāhu ‘anhu) from Persia all as brothers in faith.

Yet the government of Bangladesh lives off nationalism just as a leech lives off blood – by doing so, Hasina is able to continuously remind the people of her link to someone who the country regards as the father of the nation, Mujib and thereby tightening her grip on power. A.L is determined to destroy, weaken and eliminate its opponents and what better way to do this then accuse them of war crimes for siding with the Pakistanis which touches the nerve of many Bangladeshis. They are playing with people’s feelings and this is gutter politics of the worse kind.

It could be argued that Hasina has waged a clear war on Islām and has been descending the country further and further into secularism. Since she came into power, there have been many reports of women being detained, harassed, and expelled from their student dorms solely for wearing the ḥijab or carrying religious books. Many others have been forced into having illicit sexual relations with leaders of the ruling government, refusal to comply resulting in detention, harassment, and assault after being branded as ‘fundamentalists’ by the government. Bangladesh is the only Muslim country where prostitution, although prohibited by the constitution, is legal. The current secular government is targeting Islām in a majority-Muslim country.

It should not be forgotten that Hasina said of the oppressed Muslim refugees of Burma in August 2012 that they were not “her problem” as Bangladesh was already an overpopulated country. In addition, earlier this year we saw the government sponsored Shabagh movement, a group of students, writers and bloggers made up of atheists, agnostics, secularist and nationalists to curb the influence in Islām as never seen before. They were instrumental in whipping the country into a frenzy, calling for the death sentence of the Jamaat leaders during which many Muslims were killed when there was an outpouring of rage, after the Shabagh were making a mockery of Allāh and his Rasūl (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) blogging statements such as:“Allāh lovers are sleeping, there are no slaves of Allāh to counter the attack against Him. Everyone who replies in objection to my post is screwing Allāh”; another said “Allāh is taking drugs now [hence why he is not dealing with us]” whilst another said “If Allāh comes down [to help the Jamaat leaders], we will hang him too” Laa hawla wa la quwata illa billah.

A Wikileaks leaked cable in November 2010 from the US State Department said: “There is little doubt that the hard-line elements within the A.L. party believe that the time is right to crush the Jamaat and other Islāmic parties”. [13]

All the leaders have been given death sentences and Jaamat has been banned once more and will not be able to participate in the forthcoming elections on 5th January 2014. Abdul Qader’s family were arrested a few days ago soon after his death preventing them from being able to pray the janazah and bury him.

Conclusion

This, my brothers and sisters is the situation of Islām in Bangladesh which has culminated in the murder and killing of an innocent man today with no due process being followed. Hasina is sowing the seeds of hatred which will divide and destabilise the country for years to come. There is no doubt that the country will now descend into chaos, particularly as today is the day of Jumm’ah and we pray that Allāh protects them and keeps them safe.

As for the oppression taking place, Allāh is not unaware of what is taking place: “And think not that Allāh is unaware of what the oppressors do, He only grants them respite until the day the eyes will stare in horror.” [14] But the Sunnah of Allāh is such that everything is done in stages and with patience. Indeed, Allāh (Subḥanahu wa ta’āla) created the earth in six days and in this is a sign because we know He needs to simply say “be” and it is. The response to the actions taking place in Bangladesh is with Allāh. For He said: “Whosoever acts with enmity towards a close servant of Mine (wali), I will indeed declare war against him…”  [15]

Triumph is not limited to immediate victory, which is but one of the many forms of triumph. So for those who are joyous today with the news of the death, know “There is no laughter except that it is eventually followed up with weeping.” [16]

The pages of history show us that the conditions which the Islāmic Call had to face in its first period of its existence were not too dissimilar than the conditions of today, be it in Bangladesh or elsewhere. It was confined to the valley of Makkah, hounded by the people in power and authority; and, at that time, it was a complete stranger to the whole world. It was surrounded by mighty and proud empires which were against its basic teachings and purposes. In spite of all this, it was a powerful call, as it is powerful today and will remain powerful tomorrow. The source of its real power is hidden in the very nature of this belief; that is why it can operate and has always thrived under the worst conditions and in the face of the most severe opposition and against all the odds through the resolve, striving and sacrifices of its adherents. Certainly many were many were the Martyrs before Abdul Qader Mullah (Raḥimullah) from the very first of them, Summayah (RaḍiAllāhu ‘anha) who remained strong in her resolve against the tyrant Abu Jahl to more contemporary times such as ‘Omar Mukhtar (Raḥimullah) who when he was told by the judge that he would be excused if he called on the Muslims to abandon the resistance in Libya against the Italian invaders, he responded by saying “we do not surrender, we win or die”, or indeed Syed Qutb (Raḥimullah), who when he was asked to say a few good words in support of the oppressors in exchange for being pardoned, he said “Indeed this finger which testifies the Oneness of Allāh in alah [prayer], it refuses to agree on anything – in support – of this oppressive regime”, so too we find that in ‘Abdul Qader Mullah’s last words he said: “If this government kills me unjustly, that will be a death of martyrdom…I am totally innocent.. I have dedicated my whole life to Islām… I have never bowed to injustice and it is out of question to seek clemency to any worldly person”. We see in each of these cases that the believer in this deen of Allāh (Subḥanahu wa ta’āla) may lose his physical power and may be overpowered and conquered even. Yet, so long as his imān does not depart from him, then he is the most superior. He remains certain that this is a temporary condition which will pass away. Even if departure from this dunya is his portion, he will never bow his head. Departing from this dunya comes to all, but for such a soul, there is extra gratification for being in the service of Allāh knowing he will proceed to the Garden, while his oppressors go to the Pit.

And how amazing is it that the enemies of Islām having been seeking to hang ‘Abdul Qadir Mullah for the past two days, but the Qadr of Allāh was that He wanted the soul of this ‘abīd, this servant of his to be taken on a Friday night, a blessed night for it was narrated that ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Amr (RaḍiAllāhu ‘anhu) said: The Messenger of Allāh (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) said: “There is no Muslim who during the day of Friday or the night of Friday but Allāh will protect him from the trial of the grave.” [17]

What an honourable death and how fitting it is that a man from the land of the Green is now in the bird that is Green (InshAllāh) for the Messenger of Allāh (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam) said “Their (i.e. the martyrs souls) will live inside green birds that dwell in designated lamps which hang on the throne of Allāh, they will roam freely in Paradise as they please, then return to these lamps”  [18]

We ask Allāh that he accepts him as a martyr and grants his family steadfastness, patience and tranquillity. And remember do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are (true) believers.” 

 

source; www.islam21c.com

[1] Surah ali-Imran 3: 139

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25361890

[3] Warrants issued for Bangladeshi Islāmic party leaders on charges of crimes against humanity”, Fox News, 26 July 2010

[4] http://my.telegraph.co.uk/nivritchari/nivritchari/9/the-economist-sued/

[5] http://www.hrw.org/news/2009/07/08/letter-prime-minister-sheikh-hasina-re-international-crimes-tribunals-act

[6]http://9bri.com/members/john-cammegh/

[7] http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21568349-week-chairman-bangladeshs-international-crimes-tribunal-resigned-we-explain?zid=306&ah=1b164dbd43b0cb27ba0d4c3b12a5e227

[8] Justice in Bangladesh: Another kind of crime”. The Economist. 2013-03-23. Retrieved 2013-04-18

[9] Watch, Human Rights. “Bangladesh: Government Backtracks on Rights”. Retrieved 1, February 2013

[10] Ghafour, Abdul (31, October 2012). “International community urged to stop ‘summary executions’ in Bangladesh”. Arab News

[11] http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/bangladesh-resist-pressure-push-death-sentences-war-crimes-tribunal-2013-02-15

[12] George Orwell, in his book ‘1984’.

[13] Allchin, Joseph (21, December 2012). “The Midlife Crisis of Bangladesh”. Foreign Policy.

[14] Surah Ibrahim:42

[15] Bukhari

[16] Ibn Sirin

[17]  al-Tirmidhi

[18] Muslim

DISCLAIMER: All material found on Islam21c.com is for information purposes only. The views expressed on this site or on any linked sites do not necessarily represent those of MRDF & Islam21c.


 

About Z A Rahman

15 comments

  1. May Allaah give everyone involved in this farce what they deserve! Allaahu Alam how Qader Mollah was but I am uncomfortable seeing his name alongside Omar Mukhtar and Syed Qutb.

  2. What about putting Pakistani ex military on trial for the crimes thry commited?

  3. Hasina is a shaitan. The tyrant has lied and soon she will fall.

  4. Assalamu alaikum
    @ Bangladeshi. I am a daughter of someone who fought during the war. I was raised hearing the stories from my father and mother what Pakistani army done. Today the same mother cried for injustice done to Mulla rahimullah. This is not bringing the justice, it is an attack on Islam. First of all there is no prove he was guilty. Just because Pakistani army done wrong, does not justify nationalism over Islam. I am first muslim then Bangladeshi. All this nationalism will perish on the day of judgement. There is nothing wrong loving your begali foods over other countries food, looking through the field when sunset and many more precious things about Bangladesh. But it’s wrong to spill blood over it.

  5. What about those hundreds of Bangladeshis this man got killed during the 71 war?

    Don’t they deserve any justice?

    • As the article says. There is no evidence implicating AQ Mollah to any crime. Why do you people always repeat like sheep that he killed and did such and such, without any evidence whatsoever? Let common sense prevail.

    • Muslim Bangladeshu

      Everybody deserves justice. However you are automatically assuming this man killed all those people. He has always dened it, even in his last words. If he truly did all those crimes, how come the government was only able to bring 12 prosecution witness and they were flawed as well. If he surely did the crime, why did the government had to cheat to hang him. Please think about all these things instead of finger point just because other people told you so. If you have good proof that he commited these crimes, then you should come forward as well.
      If he is innocent, may Allah Grant him one of the highest places in heaven. I have never met a braver man in my life time.

    • Bangladeshi_too

      Dear Bangladeshi, are u ready to testify against this man before Allah swt? (Well, if u really believe in Allah)

  6. May Allah SWT have mercy on him, accept him as a martyr and make his final abode in Jennah.

  7. it is indeed sad that this barbaric execution has been allowed to take place and the entire Ummah just sat and watched, pontificated, with verbose speeches and articles. Sadly we are now just followers of rhetoric and sanctimonious speeches and our ummah is just one large paralysed body. Apart from all the writings and talk, what has any muslim organisation, any muslim state, any muslim leader, any Sheikh done about this?? nothing!!!!! we just carry on with our excellent writing skills. These have no effect on the paralytic minds of muslims, unless we change our approach and methods of mobilising muslims.

  8. “The memory of the heart eliminates the bad and magnifies the good; thanks to this artifice, we are able to bear the past.”
    – Gabriel García Márquez
    I found this last night and pondered……how could anyone ever forget the bad..yet knowing forgiveness magnifies the good….and having read your article…it seems the people of Bangladesh deserve, like Khalil Gibran’s Robin, to be free to practice their faith in the manner that comforts them..the division of India into 3 separate countries tore the people of a truly great continent apart……perhaps this is what the people always represented……freedom instead of being caged within politics of the day. People have to fly in imagination of faith and music in order to find their freedom……..xx

  9. Brilliant post and totally agree. We as a Muslim have to be patience and continue working towards the cause of Allah.

  10. Good read and balanced. Pakistani army perhaps is the only Muslim army certainly in the modern era who violated the honour of our Muslim sisters in Bangladesh. Shame on them and as the article suggests they will face the consequences one day. Bangladesh only wanted independence because they were treated like second class citizens Which is tragic but this is what happens in all Muslim lands as we oppress our own people. Why did South Sudan gain independence?, because the ruling Muslim elite treated them like dogs. I have nothing but sympathy and respect for Bangladesh whose people despite being oppressed by Pakistans army still show respect for Pakistani citizens.

    As for the Abdul Qadir Mullah the whole case was flawed and he would have received a fair trial in non Muslim lands where the case most likely would have been dismissed on lack of evidence. May Allah forgive his shortcomings and grant him a lofty place in Paradise. This was and evident political and personal case that shows why Muslims are in such a pathetic state when we find each other’s blood cheap.

    • Dear Imran,
      You either have misheard or heard the exaggerated stories of people or maybe reading Wikipedia for your sources about some of your comments. Right now if a party in Bangladesh stands up against its government and says we want to form our own nation, the same stuff will happen. This is nothing new and does not matter if its a Muslim or non Muslim country. History proves it over and over again when rebellions happen.

      Your comment about Pakistani army and Bangladeshi sisters is also exaggerated and thanks for mentioning this to show how infuriated you are about all this as the article does not mention this. Please provide proper sources for this. Alot of stuff happened and there were Bihari, Indian, and locals involved and you just put the blame on Pakistani army. Were you an eye witness there or know any eye witnesses who say Pakistani army did this. I agree if there are cases b/c i wasnt there either to disprove it but like i said there were other parties involved who wanted Bangladesh to seperate.

      B/c of comments like these i know a whole lot of Bangladeshis who do not like Pakistani’s b/c of these things eventhough they may have been commited by a very small few which the rest of Pakistani’s are not to blame.

      What should be remembered is that as Muslims you should not point each others short comings and try to unite as commanded by Allah SWT that we are one nations. Not Bengali or Pakistani or Saudi or what not. Best of luck to you in finding peace with all the Muslim nationalities.

      Yes i am a Pakistani but most importantly a Muslim.

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