Militant training camps in a number of Bangladeshi Madrassas By Manoj Saxena

6 04 2009

According to press reports, more than 700 militant training camps are in operation within the 69,000 Koranic Madrassas in Bangladesh. Talibans, returned from Afghanistan battle field or Kashmir, Palestine and Chechen war fields are giving training to the young students of the Madrassas with the agenda of shifting Bangladesh from present democratic structure to Caliphate state.

Dhaka’s prominent Bengali newspaper The Janakantha published an opinion editorial on April 5, 2009, where columnist Laila Najnin Harun said, in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, a huge Madrassa cum militant training camp is openly operating at Kamrangirchar area, while law enforcing agencies are showing ignorance to this fact. She questioned the role of law enforcing agencies for such ignorance stating, this will allow the militants in further gaining strength.

Kamrangirchar’s Noria-Alia Madrassa was earlier used for militant training purpose by Harkajutl Mujahedin Bangladesh (HuJI) under the command of Mufti Abdul Hannan. Madrassas principal Moulana Ahmadullah Ashraf is the patron of such activities. During the Afghan war, Ashraf’s son took part in militancy with Talibans and died there.

Noria-Alia Madrassa in Kamrangirchar is the main base of Dhaka’s ultra radical group Bangladesh Khulafah Andolen (Caliphate Movement of Bangladesh). War criminal and Islamic terror mastermind Mufti Fazlul Haque Aminy is the advisor of this Madrassa. According to Bangladesh intelligence report, this Madrassa continues to receive large amount of money from different foreign donors on a regular basis.

According to expert reports there are more than 69,000 Madrassas in Bangladesh, mostly Koranic, which breeds militants. Bangladeshi law minister Barrister Shafiq Ahmed said, clerics in these Madrassas allure the students with the dream of heaven thus finally motivating them in Jihad against all non Muslims. Raping Hindu females are taught to be a sacred obligation of every Muslims. Madrassa students also consider all progressive people as ‘Murtads’ as well non-Muslims and consider killing them as holy task. These students attempted to assassin Bangladeshi progressive poet Shamsur Rehman in 1999. Same sects of people were behind the brutal attack of another progressive writer named Humayun Azad, who died in Germany while on treatment. Attackers injured Humayun Azad, a prominent writer and teacher of Dhaka University with sharp weapons.

Secularist forces are under attack in Bangladesh. When secularist and anti Jihad political party – Awami League (AL) won a landslide victory during December 29 election last year, anti secularist forces started conspiring to oust AL from power. With this agenda in mind, they plotted a bloody massacre inside BDR headquarters in Dhaka during February 25 this year. Several army officers were killed by the militants and their affiliates. While government started investigating the matter, some fanatic newspapers and forces in Dhaka became active in shifting the focus of the investigators to blank by pointing some secularist leaders as the ‘collaborators’ of this incident.

World renowned Bangladeshi peace worker and minority rights activist Shahriar Kabir in a commentary said, for the offense of only a few hundred BDR jawans, there is conspiracy of dismantling the entire para-military force. Referring to statement made by Col. Shams, who was saved from the mutiny, Shahriar Kabir said, outsiders were behind murders inside the BDR headquarters, and the investigators should find out these killers.

He vehemently opposed trying the BDR jawans and others related to the mutiny in Court Martial. Mr. Kabir referred statements by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which said, trial in Court Martial will be a great injustice. He appreciated the efforts taken by Awami League government in compensating and rehabilitating the families of killed army officers during the mutiny.

Shahriar Kabir has also rightly raised the illegal arrest, torture and murder of hundreds of people during ‘Operation Clean Heart’ conducted by Bangladesh Army under the command of Lt. Gen. Hassan Massud Chowdhury, who recently resigned from Anti Corruption Commission due to various allegations. He said, killer army officers and soldiers as well members of RAB and police, who took part in brutality during Operation Clean Heart were given impunity by BNP government.

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Bangladesh Rifles Uprising : A Jihadi Warning

28 02 2009

Source: DIKGAJ’s Blog

I began to write this post on the 26th of December last year, but held it as I thought it might appear too paranoid. Now the drama of the BDR uprising made me rethink that my earlier worry about the real strengths of the Jihadis within the Bangladesh state machinery and armed forces were justified. I have already written at some length about the general long term societal balance of forces within Bangladesh society. Here I have maintained that the forces of Bengali nationalism is slightly weaker than the forces of Islamic retrogression – and it has been so right from the post-47 start of the journey as part of Pakistan.

The immediate background of the BDR uprising could turn out to be a damp squib officially – it will be blamed on long-standing grievances, and “wayward” soldiers. But it takes a greater significance in the light of the recent urging by the emissary of Pakistan to the BD government to drop the proceedings towards war-crimes trials of the Rajakaras and the AlBadrs, Al shams for their atrocities during ‘71. On top of that the AL led government moves ahead with transit and trade agreements with India, a reasonable and pragmatic move on the part of Bangladesh as the country is even now crucially dependent on Indian imports of essential commodities. This draws immediate vehement protests by the nearly decimated BNP, as expected. Just like many political parties in Pakistan, a lot of political careers are made in Bangladesh by inflating up the “demonic” “Hindu” India. However, it is Pakistan’s palpable fear at possible re-exposure of Pakistan’s role in the ‘71 war of liberation that is significant.

Why does Pakistan have to be so paranoid about it ? It is already almost 40 years old – and could be passed off as a historical event, and not redounding on the current regime! There could be question of compensation and fear by a bankrupt Pakistan government. But financial compensation is a lesser worry, given the Pakistan government’s traditional expertise in moving money around meant for one purpose to fuel another pet agenda, and the fact that it can still milk the USA for some time into the near future. With the increasing acceleration of the Pakistani Army and the Taleban coalescing into a neo-Caliphate on the gray borderland between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the now overtly Jihadi Pakistani state can be worried that the war-crimes trials could damage and expose the true character of Jihadi Islam, to a population which has so far proved a safe haven for Jihadi terror to be launched on India. It is the ideological delegitimization that worries the Jihadis of the subcontinent, and the transit agreements could actually cover eventual move towards military agreements between India and Bangladesh to destroy the Jihadis themselves in the eastern part of the subcontinent.

I will primarily characterize this election as a four-cornered struggle for state power in which the forces in order of “strength” are (1) the military establishment (2) the Jamaat (3) the Awami League and associates (the so called “great alliance”) (4) the BNP +non Jamaat associates. The military as per my earlier analysis is in favour of Islamic consolidation of the state regime – in tune with the power base of the military command among the elite of Bangladeshi muslim society, whose prime feudal motivations of gaining and controlling “land” and dominance over society is best served under strengthened Sunni Wahabi authoritarian framework. The military has consistently reasserted its dominance over the state machinery whenever it had felt that its long term strategy of bringing Bangladesh closer to the Islamic axis centred in Saudi Arabia is being threatened – this was why it eliminated Mujibur and even its own – like Jia, or leftist “heretics” like Col. Taher. At present, the prime tool is the Jamaat. As I have mentioned before, the Jamaat will be the key political force which can be used by the military to serve its agenda. The Jamaat was allowed to suffer the least in the anti-corruption drive against the political establishment. To be fair, the military’s weakness for the Jamaat could be coming out of reasons very similar to those that kept the two major political groups also “strangely” weak towards the Jamaat – that all the political elite including the Jamaat share core social networks at the same level and that all the non-Jamaat political elite share political secrets as to activities during the 71 struggle as well as post-Independence that could be used by the Jamaat to manipulate them.

The Jamaat is the direct descendant of the philosophy of Moududi – the ideologue and founder of a strict Wahabi/Sunni interpretation of Islam whose core message therefore almost always inevitably landed up into the domain of cataclysmic confrontation with everything deemed “unIslamic and therefore anti-Islamic”. The top leadership has been accused persistently of war-crimes but they take pride in claiming that apparently none of these accusations could be proved – they can do so, as the Bangladesh military post-Independence ensured (with the help of factions within the “liberators”) that cases/investigations/charges were withdrawn and that the Jamaat were politically rehabilitated. The Jamaat has minuscule vote share, but displays an impact and influence on Bangladesh state power hugely out of proprtion to its apparent electoral strength. The Jamaat will be the most likely stable political Islamic group to receive Saudi and extended Islamic expansionist network support, and this Islamic axis will see Bangladesh and Jamaat’s role as crucial to its overall expansionist agenda of takeover of the subcontinent in the name of Islam. The Jamaat of course has now turned ultra-nationalist and pretends to fight “colonial aggression” which of course as conveniently for Islamic agenda is seen only in India which is portrayed as “Hindu/Kaffir”. Hiding under the ultra-nationalist slogans is of course the mother of all colonialism – the ultimate Jihadi Islamic takeover of not only Bangladesh but the entire subcontinent – an experiment already started by the Taleban in the west of the subcontinent. The recent Mumbai attacks is a signal that Islamic agenda for the subcontinent is intensifying and Indian “war posturing” will be used as a rallying cry and panic button to push further for Islamic consolidation in Bangladesh. (Mumbai Islamic message)

The Jamaat’s strength does not lie in numbers, but the social networks among the elite, the theologians and the international Jihadi and Sunni Wahabi fundamentalism – (1) the military has ensured that it suffered almost nothing in the anti-corruption drives and so will claim themselves as “pure” and untainted compared to the others – and is likely to be rewarded for this by the electorate (2) the various military regimes as well as political ones, by failing to try the culprits of war-crimes and infighting among the “liberators” has ensured that newer generations have far less concerns about what happened almost 40 years ago than other “more pressing” concerns (3) the Islamic propaganda machinery allowed to flourish under the pro-Islam military regimes as well as political forces have been able to increase the rate of Jihadi Islamization of the rural as well as a section of urban Bangladeshi youth – Islam holds several attractions for males especially – it promises all that they biologically desire, consumption, women and power – without having to make the hard effort of intellectual skills development required to compete in a modern knowledge based economy, or having to tolerate modern rights given to women over their sexuality or their bodies. (4) sections of the younger generations are likely to be relatively free of qualms about experimenting with an authoritarian Islamic system which of course at first they would like to believe would be along the lines of Malaysia or Iran- especially since the military has succeeded in discrediting the pre-existing political establishments. All these factors could have been instrumental in repeating the general pattern observable all over the subcontinent – of increasing radicalization of younger recruits who gravitate to the armed forces in Islam dominated countries.

The Awami League represents strongest electoral combine as of date but will have to reckon with the Jamaat. The BNP has taken a bad knock but will not lag far behind the Awami League, as the military would have strong connections with the setup and would like to keep it afloat as a second line of defence and the major political face of the Islamic agenda which will be led from behind by the Jamaat – this is simply a tactic to allow the Jamaat to grow and takeover.

The uprising was most likely to have been carefully planned, with sleepers trained by Pakistan and Jihadi organizations acting in careful coordination to use genuine grievances and liquidate the older generation of commanding officers – a group less likely to be submissive completely to the charms of the Jihadis. The core group has most probably now vanished, and been taken to safe havens maintained by the Jihadis in West Bengal under a tolerant Leftist regime. This was simply a warning, in showing that the force which is on the border of Bangladesh is out of control, and that the Jihadis still hold the keys of state power. It could not have happened unless key elements of the security apparatus allowed it to happen.