Press conference held by Hefazat-e-Islam: Calls for political dialogue, resistance against Islamophobic attacks and protection of national sovereignty

Hefazat press conference 11.3.15

A press conference was held by Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh on Wednesday March 11 2015 at 11am at the A B seminar hall adjacent to the Darul Uloom Hathazari madrasa in Chittagong. A written statement was presented by the central organizing secretary Maulana Azizul Haque Islamabadi on behalf of the Amir of Hefazat-e-Islam, Shaykh al-Islam Allama Shah Ahmad Shafi. The Secretary-General Allama Hafiz Junaid Babunagari answered various questions asked by reporters at the press conference. Senior Nayeb-e- Amir Muhibbullaha Babunagari, Mufti Faizullah, Maulana Mahmudul Hasan, Maulana Muinuddin Ruhi, Maulana Mir Idris, Maulana Habibullah, Maulana Muneer Ahmed, Maulana Ishaq, Maulana Jalal, Maulana Kamrul Quashemi and others were also present at the press conference.
In the written statement read by Maulana Azizul Haque Islamabadi on behalf of the Amir of Hefazat-e-Islam, he said, “Today we meet with our journalist brothers with a heavy heart. I sincerely thank you all for your appearance at the press conference. Bangladesh has become stagnant due to the political conflict between the government and the opposition. Due to severe political instability and conflict among parties, unrest has spread to the villages, towns and the capital of the country. Our country is in danger because of this clash. Bloodshed, terror, violence and human rights violations exceed the limits. Ordinary people are dying of alleged gun battles, crossfires and petrol bombs. People are being abducted. Dead bodies are found ditched randomly. Two innocent imams of mosques were crippled by being shot in the legs. To suppress the opposition movement the force applied by the state in terms of brutality and atrocities ultimately jeopardise the security of the common man. People are not being able to move safely in the streets. Trade, economics and education is stagnant. The honour of our country is now being destroyed. The country’s future prospects are going in a dark direction.”
He further said, ”We believe this deep political crisis has been created since the government was not elected by the decision of the majority of the people. By removing the neutral caretaker government system from the constitution, they forced the nation into violence and extreme division. The country is on the verge of destruction because of blockades and strikes in protest. This cannot go on, the people cannot accept this anymore. As citizens of the country, we want peace. We want an end to the political violence, conflict and murder. So we would like to warn the government and the opposition: come to an understanding through dialogue. Otherwise, the peace-loving citizens will not hesitate to take any difficult decision to get themselves rid of such situation.”
He added, ”The government and the opposition are in a competition to draw foreign powers In the interest of their political struggle for power. Such mentality of theirs is very degrading for an independent nation. This country was not liberated to serve under foreigners. The freedom loving people of this country reject this sort of leadership and politics. If there is any plot to make our country like Iraq or Afghanistan by allowing foreign forces to penetrate the country, the political parties will have to bear the responsibility.”
He also said,” we noticed that, to divert the spotlight from the current political crisis, innocent Islamic scholars and madrasa students are being framed for terrorism. We noticed that a particular section of media and political groups together tried to stage such incidents on numerous occasions. To stigmatise the country’s Islamic scholars in front of the international community and to destroy madrasa education, they performed various flag operations by staging false terrorism scenarios. For political purposes, they spread rumors that the qaumi madrasas are ‘terrorist breeding centres’ and by presenting simple Islamic books as ‘jihadi books’ in the media, they are carrying out a conspiracy against Islamic scholars and madrasa education at large, although no one has any credible evidence to prove such a thing. So we are ask that these efforts to undermine Islamic scholars and madrasa education be brought to an end.”
He asserted, ”Islam is a religion of peace. The goal of Islam is to establish peace. Islam doesn’t support terrorism and contemporary tribulations. The qaumi madrasa education system does not contain anything that is not supported by Islam. Anyone who is studying in the qaumi education system is not enslaved by the current consumerist capitalist world. Manners, morals, religious ideals and practicing the knowledge of One God is their main purpose. As they are not subservient to the corporate world, undermining efforts are going on against qaumi madrasa education and Islamic scholars.”
In the written statement he also said, “In the government cabinet, there are some apostates and disbelieving ministers who are continuously attacking Islamic rules and values with their malicious remarks and statements. The Social Welfare Minister made statements insulting hijab which is a mandatory part of Islam. The Finance Minister remarked that riba (interest) is not illegal or forbidden in spite of the fact that Allah has clearly forbidden it. By hurting the religious sentiments of Godly people, they want to destabilise the country. It is our religious responsibility to prevent them. We are calling upon the people to resist these kinds of Islamophobic atheist and apostate individuals.”
He stated, ”Due to the increasing distance of the people from the guidance of the Quran and Sunnah and also for their adopting foreign cultures, the citizens of our country are facing a tough test from God. There is no other way out of this crisis except to come back to the path shown by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). Bangladesh cannot be freed from this difficult situation without Allah’s infinite goodness and mercy. So all of us will have to be united with full confidence and trust in Allah Almighty. To save our country and faith, we urge upon everyone to form a united resistance. May Allah give us strength and protect the country’s independence and sovereignty, Ameen.”

Hefazat’s programme:

  • Conduct prayers in all the madrassas and mosques across the country for the salvation of the souls of those who died in the crossfire of political violence and for the recovery of those burnt and injured from the attack of petrol bombs.
  • Arrange special dua in every madrasa and mosque for seeking Allah’s help to get rid of the crisis that the country is currently going through.
  • A two-day risalat conference will be held at Chittagong Laldighi Maidan on 9th and 10th of April,2015 and another two-day risalat conference will be held on 27th and 28th of march at the cental eidgah Maidan of Cox’s Bazar.

A Bangla version of this report is available here.