Religious Parties: To Ban Or Not To Ban

Chowdhoury Mohibul Hassan

Chowdhoury Mohibul Hassan

“Article 31 and Article 12 of the constitution of 1972 contained some provisions which strictly prohibited floating of political party based on religion and the use of religion for materisalising any political interest was banned. Unfortunately, these provisions were omitted from the constitution during the post 1975 period and the religion based politics started in the country” – Barrister Shafiq Ahmed

Passionate wave of progressive spirit appears to be hitting the bastions of religious parties. None other than the prime guard of constitution, honorable Law minister, seems to be leading the wave. We are yet to see his rhetoric turning into reality, but if that ever happens, only heaven knows who will stop the eventual chaos.

Banning of an ideology that is seen as a threat to civil norms is totally acceptable. It’s a much easier task when the idea is in its infancy. But when it has acquired enough support, a significant group of followers, and appeared to have gained enough “moderation” in its tune, banning and therefore a head on confrontation is no longer a good idea.

Almost every country that tried some sort of outright ban, especially in the context of religious parties, had to painfully admit their failure. Today’s Middle Eastern semi-despotic regimes are prime examples. Their attempts to ban the lunatic ideologues gave rise to such wave of fundamentalist violence that the very existence of these states is now questionable. Those Arab states that at once shined like the emerging beacons of secularism, socialism, and nationalism, (quite like us in 1971) were ruined into total anarchy and now lead by an immortal dictatorship.

Bangladesh’s experience with local religious demagogue has been mixed on the other hand. Curious mixture of Mullah, Military, Money and Modernity complicated the scene. Whilst most Islamic countries fell prey to puritan ideals, our mix and match combination with a light touch religiosity of the overall population never gave much political satisfaction to power hungry mullahs; until, of course, recently. Like others, we too are seemingly sliding down the scale, and at this historic point Bangladesh ought to take a political step that will decide her fate in years to come.

The sad fact of life is that where there is religion, there is follower and therefore there are sentiments which are easy to be manipulated. Yet, human mind, if given the right opportunity, time, understanding, and education have shown a profound likeness for liberal democracy that no fundamentalist religiosity can unset.

We have choice at hand. Do we allow them to run free, or choke them to death and therefore let them burst and cause chaos? I think the solution lies in the “third way”, tighter regulation and allowing the political discourse of ideological debate to linger.

For the last three decades, despite absence of democracy, sellers of heaven have not profited from the masses. In a sense their existence resulted in two contradictory outcomes. One is that it prevented a large scale conversion to destructive ideas and showed their policy failure to politically enlightened Bengali nation. The other a fringe minority that felt they failed to rule by God’s thoughts have now lost their minds and following their brethren up in the SWAT hills. It is this small minority that needs to be choked. As for the “bigger” and more diluted followers, keep them keen and keep them mean in the democratic political discourse. They will swallow their eventual demise.


About the author:

Chowdhoury Mohibul Hassan Nowfel is a graduate of London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in Anthropology and Law. He is also a qualified Barrister/Lawyer from the Honorable Society of Lincolns Inn through the College of Law London.


11 Responses to “Religious Parties: To Ban Or Not To Ban”

  1. Mohammad Gafur

    God and Government must not mix. Two seperate entities.

    In Bangladesh, the Jamaat-e-Islami opposed the war of independence and has been behind the gruesome genocide in 1971. It is basically run by a bunch of killers awaiting trial for war crimes of murder, rape, arson and looting. The Jamaat and its followers i the army and intelligence have also been implicated in acts of terrorism including the 10 truck illegal weapons haul in Chittagong in the past. The Jamaat’s ally the BNP even tried to cover up the huge arms shipment from a foreign country.

    It is criminals and terrorists sing religion as a veil to hide their sins against humanity.

    Religion based political parties should be banned in Bangladesh. They have been the biggest souce of money for Islamic terrorist organisations trying o destroy comunal peace and harmony.

  2. Sentu Tikadar

    A very valuable article by Nowfel saheb.
    No country can prosper with religion. The propsperity can only be accomplished by the people who are truely openminded and give value to all without the religin basis.
    To degrade any person becauae of his/her religion is the disrespect to his/her idintity and disrespect to mankind.If a minority religion of any country is humiliated and turchered and migrated to another country, then his/her brain is also migrted which can help to develop the country. Bangladesh lost many brains in past due to the oprresion by religious fundamentalists.The develop of any country depends all its people when all will be given equal respect irrespective of Faits.This can be done only when religious parties are away from politics.To make Bangladesh as a Muslim country will be a shame to the people who are the elite of Bangladesh and to the elites who are living out side Bangladesh.
    India is becoming very developing because it is secular and the minorities feel proud to be Indian and they are in the main stream to develop India while the Minorities of Bangladesh are oppressed and torchured by the Fundamentalists and are compelled to leave their home land. After 1975 so many laws had been made by many rulling parties which all went against the minorities.Religious fundamentalism has defamed many communities internationally and still now Bangladesh why Bangladesh does not understand the value of secularism?
    Who are we and who were our fore fathers? All came from same ancestry. Then why shedding each others blood on the name of religions? The animals with nails, horns and teeth fight with each other. They can not speak, can not read – they do fight but the human created by the Almighty why fight against each other? Did The Almighty told to fight? Oh Yes Almighy told to fihght with the them who does not follow Him? What a disctator this Almighy is ! I do not believe such an Almighty who has no care for humanity but for the care of his dictatirship and power.
    The Almighty who told many things at many times, contradicting things at the same time.The Almighty who teaches to build haterd between man kinds of different faiths I do not believe Him.Rather I shall believe in some one who teahes the people of this earth to live side by side in peace and harmony.

  3. Solitude

    yes you right mr writer.

    we can say we dont like jamaat etc. but we dont have to ban them. if we ban them madrasa ppl will go underground and then problem will go out of hand. if u allow them to be in normal poltics they can see they are wrong. islamic state during Prophet Muhammed (PBH) was very modrn at tht time. becoz he gave woman right etc. but we changed it after. so we cant have no more prophet, so cant have the modern islamic state like him before. we can be good muslims. and we can be a secular country. no peoblem i see.

  4. riton

    i agree with u that we can be a good muslim and i dont agree with u that we can never have that modern and smart islamic state that prophet brought.

    thanks

  5. Engr Khondkar Abdus Saleque( Sufi)

    Let us stand firmly behind Government in its mission to try war criminals. Once identified war criminals are punished terrorism sponsored by anti liberation force will gardually die out. We believe those political parties other than Jamat who sheltered the Jamat criminals and established them have harmed the nation more.If after trial of War criminals Jamat accepts their mistake in 1971 and acts like a sensible political party there is no reason to ban them But they must amend constitution and follow Bangladesh constitution.Banning them will push them uderground and that will create anothe headache.

  6. Mohammad

    If we are talking about democracy , we should allow people to decide their choice. If people decides to support a faith based party to run the affairs, let it be. Nothing should be imposed. In the past we have seen many ideas like ” Islamic Shamajtantra” , ” Boigganic Shamajtantra” taking off but crash landed with no fuel left. I agree with Mr. Nowfel, the heaven sellers are struggling for buyers even after putting their best show in the market. They lost the in the elections all ends up. And that’s the beauty of people power. We like it or not, religion has blended into our political culture. Even Awami League has an affiliated wing called ” Awami Olema League” !!! They even signed friendship charter with an Islamic outfit. I do not think that our leadership has any problem with Islam. Our PM performed Hajj and Umrah several times. She says her prayers regularly. Sheikh Mujib established Islamic Foundation with an aim to propagate Islam in the state !! So it’s not religion which we have problem with. It’s people. It’s people’s hunger for power. That’s what created all our dictators, some even elected thru elections !!! Our threat does not lie with religion based politics, it’s lack of democracy and good governance. All power lies with Jono Netri or Desh Netri. Ask AL GS Mr. Jalil or sacked BNP Sec. Gen Manna Bhuiyan , they may have more to say. Politicians charged and sentenced for corruption, are surrendering in courts in motorcades amid chants festive fanfare over last few days. They all have applied along with PM and KZ to have their cases withdrawn by executive orders !! And that’s where we are loosing the plot. Will banning religion based politics ensure delivery of justice ?? Well justice may be a bit costly for poors, but who cares !! Certainly not Mr. Shahalam of Bashundhara !!!!!

  7. Galib Hasan

    “Religious politics to be ban in bagladesh”. To me it is profound logical for our country. There are religious political parties available in other countries also. But they believe their independence, sovreignty, own culture and history. Here the defference in our country are, those religious political parties they do not believe their own culture, history. They were against our independec. They behave like fanatic. They support islamist terrorism. They can destroy their own society for their own interest. Again ban on religious politics is not enough. we need to reform madrasha education system. need to change their teaching system. As a hole we need to stop the breading place of jongi and stop their financing. our people are blind to islam with out knowing the meaning of islam. so those people are bluffed in the name of religious politics.

  8. Galib Hasan

    “Religious politics to be ban in Bangladesh”. To me it is profound logical for our country. There are religious political parties available in other countries also. But they believe their independence, sovreignty, own culture and history. Here the defference in our country are, our religious political parties they do not believe their own culture, history. They were against our independec. They behave like fanatic. They support islamist terrorism. They can destroy their own society for their own interest. Again ban on religious politics is not enough. we need to reform madrasha education system, need to change their teaching system. As a hole we need to stop the breading place of jongi and stop their financing. our people are blind to islam with out knowing the meaning of islam. so those people are bluffed in the name of religious politics.

  9. Khairul Islam

    Who are these people in white clothes and turbans brought in from various parts of the country for today’s demonstration against empowerment of women?
    Most of them are impoverished or orphans raised in madrassahs funded by Arab money mostly from Saudi Arabia and Libya. These people are mostly recruited by people like Amini and parties like Jamaat-e-Islami to use them to create confusion about the true spirit of Islam in the minds of the naive and the innocent. These people who are picked at a very early age by these religion traders to exploit them in future to get support from rightist parties like BNP. These people are different from the mainstream education and are taught that Awami Leaguers are infidels and Bangabandhu was a ‘ferraun’. They are even brainwashed about their ultimate aim in life should be to wage a jehad which will take them to paradise.

    The government should focus on this section of the impoverished mass that are very easily exploited by religious fundamentalists to tarnish the image of a moderate Bangladesh abroad. Their lifestyle must be looked into and properly addressed so that they do not become recruits of terrorist Islamic organisations in the country and abroad.

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