Bangladesh, which has a long history of mixed culture due to liberal religious views, is now experiencing the fourth and possibly the last phase of Islamic Revolution since the independence in 1971 from a religion-based country named Pakistan which has a failed Shariah-based system.

The latest phase of the movement surfaced in 2012 and gained huge supports throughout 2013 because of Qawmi madrasa-based Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam’s radical movement demanding blasphemy law and professing that atheists should be killed.

It gained momentum this year after the High Court rejected a petition against state religion provision and with the wave of murders of over three dozen secularists, Lalon followers, war crimes trial campaigners, Shia and Ahmadiyya Muslims; preachers belong to Hindu, Buddhist and Christian communities; and attacks on their worshiping houses – reportedly perpetrated by local extremists with the help of international terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, Taliban and Islamic State.

Now even the registered and non-registered Islamist parties and groups are announcing in public that Shariah Law must be in place in the country to save Islam from atheists and secularists. Their concerns echo the statements by the militant groups carrying out the killings and attacks.

The movement is visible on the streets, especially Fridays, when the Muslim devotees take to the streets after the Juma prayers. The speeches and slogans are later seen on Islamic blogs and Facebook posts by pages and profiles linked to the movement.

All these components are now operating under the same invisible platform though they have differences in ideology and methodology. Many of their leaders linked to banned militant groups are now in jail. So the responsibility of leading the movement rests upon the leaders who are yet to be labeled as militants; for example, Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chhatra Shibir, Hefazat and Islami Oikyo Jote.

Apart from the targeted killings, the other visible symptoms of the revolution are:

# quick spread of Islamic attire in cities and rural areas – mainly among the women;

# fatwa against working women;

# frequent religious sermons in open places and mosques;

# abuse of loudspeakers of the mosques to spread propaganda;

# attacks on houses and establishments of non-Muslims, and non-Sunni communities;

# hate campaigns on Facebook and blogs against other religions and India;

# labeling the Bangalee cultural traditions like Pohela Boishakh as anti-Islam;

# fatwa against music and cultural activities;

# campaign against sculptures;

# demand to scrap education and women policies;

# demand for formulating blasphemy law; and

# most significantly, the silence of the progressive Muslims with regard to the anti-Islamic activities by the Islamist groups and radical preachers.

Now that the government has given silent approval to the sensitive movement while trying to put the pro-government Islamists against them, it is evident that the efforts to stop the revolutionary Islamists will fail, because of the presence of a large number of extremists and their sympathizers in parliament, government jobs, judges and lawyers, and intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

Moreover, it should be noted that apart from the parties which are out of power for over a decade and the persons affected by the incumbent government’s decisions and court orders, the intelligence of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and jihad financiers in other countries including the UK and the USA are also backing the revolution in Bangladesh.

When they succeed, the Islamists hopes that they will be able to infiltrate and attack neighboring India and Myanmar, and gradually turn those countries into Islamic states.

Note: Hefazat chief Shah Ahmed Shafi, also the principal of Hathazari Madrasa in Chittagong, recently claimed that peace can be established in Bangladesh if the laws of the Qur’an and the Hadiths are followed.

“Otherwise, the culture of injustice and crimes will prevail. If you follow the Islamic laws, one day the people of Bangladesh will be able to build Golden Bengal [an idea coined by father of the nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman].”