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Bangladesh: the revival of fundamentalism, a threat to women and democracy
ICC Note:
Extremist Muslim groups are gaining power in Bangladesh and upcoming elections have left minorities, especially Christians, nervous. If they win, the Islamic parties desire to rule with Sharia law will bring an obvious increase in discrimination and persecution of Christians and women in particular.
By Nozrul Islam
8/14/2013 Bangladesh (AsiaNews)- Growing popularity of the Islamic party (Jamaat-e-Islami) with extremist groups, such as Hefajat-e-Islam, whose leader has issued statements against women during Ramadan. The group wants a constitution based on Sharia, the eradication of minorities and separation between the sexes. The rekindled “sympathy” for the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Islamic party, and especially for fundamentalist groups linked to it is of increasing concern in Bangladesh. Above all Hefajat-e-Islam (Defense of Islam), which in recent months has made radical and violent statements, especially against women, minorities and secularism in the country. This is according to reports from Catholic sources – anonymous for security reasons – sent to AsiaNews.

“You women – he says – should sit in the house of your husband, take care of his things and raise his children. This is your job. Why should you leave the house?”. “Why send your daughters to work in textile factories? – He asks his audience – They leave home at 7 am and do not come back before midnight. You do not know what men they are with, you do not know how many zina [unlawful sexual activity, ed] are involved in”.

Some commentators note that a victory of the Nationalist Party (Bangladesh Nationalist Party, now in opposition) is highly likely in these elections and – most importantly – its strongest ally: the Jamaat-e-Islami, which was excluded from the electoral race, because deemed “undemocratic.”

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