As an anti-militancy journalist and counterterrorism expert, I have always been warning politicians in Bangladesh about their romance with a pro-Caliphate group named Hefazat e Islam (HeI).
But sadly, it seems to me that our politicians have gone rogue and they are rather over-enthusiastic in mixing with the element with the hope of getting support from the radical Muslim bloc in the country.
Taking full advantage of this favorable situation, HeI men are gradually becoming active and vocal in Bangladesh, clearly with the ulterior agenda of transforming a secular Bangladesh into a Caliphate.
There is no ideological difference between Hefazat e Islam and Islamic State. Both are preachers of radical Islam, jihad, and establishment of Caliphate.
In their eyes, every non-Muslim, “apostate” and “infidels” are “enemies of Allah” and the only “remedy” these notorious groups have for those “enemies of Allah” is – killing in the name of “holy” jihad.
On January 11, 2019, head of Hefazat e Islam, Shah Ahmad Shafi, a 95-year-old radical Islamist, who also runs a madrassa named Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam madrasa in Chattogram district, during a gathering of HeI had asked the guardians to refrain from sending their children to schools and colleges.
He said parents may let their daughters study up to grade five so that the girls can keep a tab on their husband’s finances and write letters to their husband.
HeI kingpin Shafi said, “Don’t send your daughters to school, college. You may let them study up to grade four or five so that they can keep track of their husband’s money and write letters to their husband.”
He further said, “But if you let your daughter study a lot, she will not be your daughter any more after some days. Someone else will take her away as you’ve seen in newspaper reports what happens to the girls who study grades [higher than grade V].”