Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh was banned in independent Bangladesh for opposing the 1971 Liberation War and assisting the Pakistani Army in carrying out mass level genocide, murders, rape, abduction, torture, looting and arson attacks. The top leaders of the pro-Pakistan party then labelled the freedom fighters as Indian spies, malaun, kafir and enemies of Islam.

But its leaders started to return home and came out of hideouts after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in August 15, 1975 by the blessings of military dictator Ziaur Rahman. Zia also released some 26,000 razakars facing trials under the Collaborators Act and also revoked the law to stop the trials. He also removed secularism from the constitution and later formed the BNP with the people against the Awami League and the freed razakars.

Zia also paved the way for Jamaat to resume religion-based politics. For this, many new groups of Islamists grew overnight to take the advantage. His successor HM Ershad helped Jamaat and its B-teams to grow further by recognizing Islam as the state religion. These two military men wanted to cling to power by appeasing the radicals of this Muslim-majority country.

It helped them to stay in power illegally for years. But the damage has already been done. The radicals have been demeaning the country’s constitution as well as spreading hatred against the non-Muslims and non-Sunnis. They have established an empire within the state by taking hold of the hundreds of thousands of mosques and madrasas.

The abuse of Islam is still on in 2016; but more widely and openly. Unfortunately, the incumbent government is interested in suppressing the freethinkers and secularists than bringing to book the mullahs who instigate violent attacks.

It is now established that Jamaat-Shibir is behind all the small and big Islamist parties and groups as well as militant organizations. The militants come out of the dens when Jamaat-Shibir cannot take to the streets demanding release of the top Jamaat leaders now facing trial for their 1971 crimes against humanity.

As the execution of Jamaat’s incumbent chief Motiur Rahman Nizami and top financier Mir Quasem Ali nears, the members of Shibir and other militant groups have started to destabilize the country by carrying out targeted killings labeling the victims as atheists. Bangladesh experienced 1971-like attacks on non-Muslims and Awami League supporters across the country in February and March 2013 after the verdict against Jamaat preacher Delawar Hossain Sayedee was pronounced.

However, as Jamaat has spent millions of dollars to appoint lobbyists, journalists and human rights activists, they are coming up with new propaganda at home and abroad to criticize the war crimes tribunal and the trial process. Latest, the UN human rights body demanded that Nizami and Quasem should not be executed. It should be mentioned that the US considers Jamaat as a moderate political party and maintains good relations with its top leaders.

Example of Jamaat abusing Islam

# Recently, the Facebook pages run by Shibir members claimed that two top Jamaat leaders – Kamaruzzaman and Mujahid, who had been executed for their 1971 crimes – went straight to the heaven for their contribution to the fight for Islam.

# Several months back, Jamaat leader Tareq Monwar gave a speech somewhere abroad about the execution of another war criminal Abdul Quader Molla. Tareq said: “Hefazat-e-Islam chief Allama Shafi in his dreams saw Quader Molla meeting with the Prophet in the heaven.”

# On March 17, 2010, Dhaka City Jamaat chief Rafiqul Islam Khan compared Nizami with the Prophet during a meeting of Islami Chhatra Shibir. He said the Prophet in his lifetime was “tortured, falsified and conspired against” and “the same is happening in the case of Nizami.”

# The International Crimes Tribunal in October 2014 said that Jamaat misused Islam during the war to foil the birth of Bangladesh. The court said the offences committed by Jamaat and its militia forces are absolutely against the sanction of the Holy Qur’an and Hadiths.

# Tribunal said Nizami also violated the Quranic injunctions and prophetic traditions.

# Nizami played anti-Islamic role by forming al-Badr force, the “death squad” and commanding, supporting, and encouraging the force in order to exterminate and kill Bangalee intellectuals and pro-liberation people and also providing moral support and endorsing the barbaric activities of Pakistani Army.

# During the war, Nizami abused Islam by saying “Pakistan is the house of Allah,” “Hindus are always enemies of Muslims” and “Islam and Pakistan are one and indivisible.”

# Nizami did not prevent his subordinates from committing atrocities and crimes against humanity during the war.

# Tribunal said Jamaat and Islami Chhatra Sangha (now Islami Chhatra Shibir) functioned as a “communal” as well as “criminal organisation” to implement the plan and design of the Pakistan occupation forces.

# Surprisingly, during the appeal case of Nizami, his counsel Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, also an adviser to the BNP chief, prayed to the court that Nizami be spared from death sentence for his old age and for being an “Islamic scholar” and “gentleman.”

# Tribunal said even though Nizami had education in Islamic religion and is the writer of several Islamic books in which he depicted true Islamic attitude towards the non-Muslims, he had the opposite deeds and thoughts during the war.

# Tribunal said: “If we consider the Qur’anic verses and the Hadiths, then there is no room to say that the acts of killing unarmed civilians, plundering their properties, infringing their fundamental rights, reigning coercive climate by causing physical and psychological harms in furtherance of common design and plan are compatible to the spirit of ‘Islam’ and ‘humanity’ … Thus, we are constrained to hold that Motiur Rahman Nizami being educated in Islamic education had consciously and also deliberately misused the name of the Almighty Allah and the holy religion ‘Islam’ in 1971 during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in order to ruin and root out the ‘Bangalee Nation.’”