November Spawned a Monster
On November 15 a suicide bomb targetted the criminal court buildings in Barisal, in southern Bangladesh, killing two judges. The bomber survived with injuries. Two weeks later (29 November), two separate bombs were detonated in Gazipur and Chittagong, killing 9 and injuring dozens more. One bomber died instantly while the other is in critical condition. The terrorist organisation who has claimed responsibility for all three bombing call themselves the Jamayetul Mujahideen of Bangladesh (JMB). Their demands are simple:
We do not want Taguti [non-Islamic] law, let Qur’anic law be introduced. Law framed by humans cannot continue and only the laws of Allah will prevail.
Bangladesh is shaken and its people are panicked. This is a country with the densest population in the world. You explode a bomb in any packed location, you'll kill dozens. Clearly reactions are frought and anger at the ruling party is open and vociferous as the country shut today in a mass strike (hartal) as an expression of populist rage. The ruling party, the Bangladesh National Party (BNP), who made affiliations with the Jamaati party in a political end game to ensure a parliamentary majority is having to deal with a political alliance with a party (the Jamaat) which sees no qualms in cultivating and empowering its Islamic Fundamentalist tendencies. They now have blood on their hands by giving these religious maniacs with the respectability of political consensus.
This analysis of the events from UnholyWars describes the motives of the JMB:
The JMB, which seeks to establish strict Islamic rule in the Muslim-majority country, also carried out previous attacks on courts. The outfit first carried out attacks on August 17 in court and government office premises in 63 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts, while a second attack was staged in October. Two weeks ago, two assistant judges were killed in the southern town of Jhalakathi by a suspected suicide attacker also allegedly linked to the banned group. Letters said to be sent by the JMB have continued to threaten judges and government officials across Bangladesh, including Supreme Court judges.
It's time for serious talk. Politics aside, we need to ask ourselves "Why does an 18 year old boy strap bombs to himself and want to blow himself up for the happiness of Allah?" Is the motivation money or has he been brainwashed? If so, who is brainwashing them? We can see that most of these kids are madrassa students which is mostly controlled by Islamic Oikya Jote and Jamaat. Is the motivation political power or is it idealogical? I am sure people know where the money is coming from through the Islamic NGO's from countries like Saudi Arabia. Why have we not done anything about it for the last 30 years? The answer is because we are scared to piss of the religious voter. That begs the question - can our political parties solve this problem? clearly they have political and structural limitations.
In the meantime, let us be clear of the root cause of this spate of Islamic Fundamentalist terrorism. It is the direct side effect of a democratic alliance between a right wing secular party (BNP) and an Islamic political party which rehabilitate extremist Islamic fundamentalist groups within it. Call these groups al-Qaeda if you must as their raison d'etre is the same as that of their poster boy bin Laden. Both of these parties are unwilling or incapable of rooting out these groups who in the meantime (5 years of BNP rule) have grown and consolidated their power base. This heart warming picture (right) shows the marriage that has spawned this monster. Ladies and gentlemen, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and Maulana Nizami (Jamaat).
Other bloggers who have covered this story are:
M Arman at Drishtipat (PDF)