The Jamaat Factor

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A train set on fire by activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh

Delwar Hossain Sayedee, an Islamic preacher and a senior leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, the country’s largest Islam-pasand party, was sentenced to death on 28 February for war crimes committed during the 1971 Liberation War. Within hours, Jamaat cadres and activists clashed violently with police and law enforcement agencies. Scores have been killed in some of the worst political violence the country has experienced in recent years.

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A Deadly Divide, But Not A Civil War

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In December I was discussing with friends whether the War Crime Trials would have an effect on voters. In spite of its being a central election promise, we doubted that they would. Issues such as corruption, nepotism, the energy crisis, the price of essentials, law and order or employment/education opportunities would be more likely to be important factors for voters in the next election. It’s evident now that the issue has emerged as ‘The Factor’ – who instigated, backed and helped develop it to its bloom is being debated fiercely. Continue reading

Making a stand, taking a side

Propaganda image on various groups, including “Basher Kella”

In the current political theatre, the central character is Jamaat-e-Islami. The Shahbag Awakening started as a reaction against a possible Jamaat-Awami backdoor deal. A month on, I think such a deal looks very remote right now.

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New York: Those Protests outside Marriott


It started as a carefree walk through New York’s Times Square to unwind after a long day. Then, far off in the background, I thought I heard sounds I hadn’t heard for years and not on this side of the planet. The pulsing of slogans, and high-pitched oratory that once seemed so impressive even if one disagreed, but which now represents sclerosis, fatigue and frustration. But, that is back “home”, not here in New York, surrounded by skyscrapers and tourists.


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