Foreign Policy Blogs

Political Party Implicated in Terrorism

Now that our quiet and uncomfortable introductions are out of the way, I’d like to point to another article that follows up on the one I wrote about yesterday.  The Daily Star reports that :

“The Detective Branch of police produced Mufti Harun Izahar, son of Islami Oikya Jote leader Mufti Izaharul Islam, Shahidul Islam and Al Amin alias Saiful before the metropolitan magistrate’s court seeking their 10-day remand, said Sanwar Hossain, Assistant Commissioner of DB.”

“Meanwhile, Izaharul Islam, chairman of an IOJ faction, protested the arrest of his son Harun Izahar and the two others denying their involvement with LeT [Lashkar-e-Taeyeba]or Huji [Harkatul Jihad al Islami.”

“[Detective Branch] officials said Izahar, [the suspect arrested yesterday, son of a leader of the Islami Oikyo Jote, an Islamist political party aligned with the BNP] along with another suspect, did recce [reconnoiter] of the US embassy area several times to devise an attack plan. They also detected several calls the three made to several Pakistani militant leaders.”

This is stunning news.  The Islami Oikyo Jote or the Islamic United Front was a member of the ruling coalition in power from 2001 to 2006, led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).  Whatever the leadership status of Mufti Izaharul Islam, this news means that a political party that had parliamentary seats in the Bangladeshi Parliament, the Sangsad Bhaban for over 5 years is allegedly involved in acts of terrorism aimed against the U.S. and against the interests of the people of Bangladesh.  It beggars the imagination, but try to put together in your mind a set of circumstances where the son of one of the leaders of Angela Merkel’s center right coalition in power in Germany were arrested and charged with plotting to bomb the U.S Embassy in Berlin.  But here we are  a step removed: the BNP is no longer in power.  The left leaning Awami League can prosecute this case.  It remains to be seen whether it will do so.

In 2006 the International Crisis Group published this assessment of the course of political development in Bangladesh.  Among other things the piece argued  that:

“Islamic militancy has flourished in a time of dysfunctional politics, popular discontent and violence. The questions of whether Bangladesh’s traditional moderation and resilience will see it through or whether escalating violence and political confrontation could derail its democracy are vital ones. Serious instability in the world’s third most populous Muslim country could not fail to have wider implications. The situation does not justify great anxiety about the outbreak of major conflict domestically or the nurturing of significant extremism and terrorism internationally but there are elements of fragility in the system which need close watching and engagement.”

I don’t think even the interested and knowledgeable reader of Bangladeshi politics would find much difference in the state of Bangladeshi political development now–going on 3 years since this piece was published.



Faheem Haider

Faheem Haider is a political analyst, writer and artist. He holds advanced research degrees in political economy, political theory and the political economy of development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and New York University. He also studied political psychology at Columbia University. During long stints away from his beloved Washington Square Park, he studied peace and conflict resolution and French history and European politics at the American University in Washington DC and the University of Paris, respectively.

Faheem has research expertise in democratic theory and the political economy of democracy in South Asia. In whatever time he has to spare, Faheem paints, writes, and edits his own blog on the photographic image and its relationship to the political narrative of fascist, liberal and progressivist art.

That work and associated writing can be found at the following link:

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