10 Apr, 2009
Historically, Islamic terrorism was rooted in defining Islam as a “state religion”. In independent Bangladesh, the long-standing failure to establish secular democracy has given opportunity for the rise of political Islam and Islamic extremism. By knocking down the secular ascent of the foundational Constitution of Bangladesh, dirty politicians—particularly General Ziaur Rahman (the founder of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, BNP)—characterized Bangladesh from a secular to an Islamic nation. This paved the way for the rapid rise of Islamic politics and extremism.
Many nations around the world—such as Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and United States—have successfully introduced anti-terrorism legalization. It’s a need of the hour for Bangladesh to follow suit and introduce constructive and effective anti-terrorism legislations.
Ironically, it is a truth that laws alone will not be able to deter Islamic terrorism in Bangladesh. Before introducing anti-terror laws, the government should first work towards secularizing the country. The first step in this endeavor would be kicking out “bismillah” (in the name of Allah) from the opening statement of the constitution and also “Islam” as the state religion, the root of Islamic extremism. Bangladesh, both internally and externally, must project itself in the spirit of secularism, which will be a step forward towards a better and progressive Bangladesh.
The anti-terrorism laws should be extraordinary that fits the pure democratic standard, and distinct from the laws of Bangladesh Penal Code. In drafting the law, the government should keep in mind that no-one should be able to use it as a political instrument.
While drafting the law, the government should keep in mind that the law should not only focus on the present or past activities of extremist Islamic groups in Bangladesh, but also focus on rooting out Islamic extremism, root and branch, from the society.
We have also experienced that incarcerated Islamic extremists in Bangladesh have been indoctrinating and recruiting small-time young Muslim criminals inside prisons during their imprisonment. In a situation like this, the government must also set up separate prison-cells only for Islamic extremists.