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Dhaka Tribune

Islamic scholars search for Jamaat, militant links in mosque committees

Update : 13 Jan 2016, 07:25 PM

District-based Islamic scholars have started identifying the members of Jamaat-e-Islami and militants in the mosque management committees across the country.

Primarily, they have identified several dozens of such mosques in Chittagong, Sylhet, Habiganj, Dinajpur, Bogra, Satkhira and Chandpur districts. After information on all the mosques are collected, the police will scrutinise those and take further action.

The move was taken by the scholars after they sat with the police chief last month where they discussed ways to combat militant activities.

They also decided to issue a fatwa signed by 1,00,000 scholars against militancy by explaining relevant verses of the Qur’an and the Hadiths since Jamaat and the militant groups misinterpret Islam in their favour. The signature campaign is now under way.

The religious scholars think that Jamaat is instigating militancy for different reasons including to save the party’s top war criminals and establish Islamic rule in the country.

The high officials of the police sat with Alia Madrasa-based scholars on December 5 and later with Qawmi Madrasa teachers on December 17.

Quoting the scholars, officials who attended the meetings said that Jamaat leaders and supporters were in leading position in some mosque committees and that they give wrong interpretation of Islam to instigate people against the government.

Police chief AKM Shahidul Haque thinks that mosques or madrasas are not the breeding ground of militancy. At the meetings, he said the police would not monitor mosques and madrasas. However, they would take action if the scholars inform them about any suspicious activities.

“We have received information from the Islamic scholars on some mosque committees in Sylhet, Habiganj, Chittagong, Chandpur and Sabujbagh of the capital. Now we are verifying the information,” a high official at the Police Headquarters told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

Requesting not to be named, the official said they would take necessary action once the verification was completed.

Dhaka Tribune collected the names of the Islamic scholars, who sat with the police, and spoke to a dozen of them over the phone.

Principal of a madrasa at Birganj of Dinajpur, seeking anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that the domination of extremist groups, especially Jamaat-Shibir, in mosque committees was more acute in the northern part of the country.

After the meeting with the police, they had visited a number of mosques and found the involvement of Jamaat men in at least 15 mosque committees in the district, he said.

“We are collecting further information regarding these mosques and will inform the local administration after verifying the information,” he added.

Similar statements came from some scholars in Bogra, Satkhira and Chandpur districts, when the Dhaka Tribune contacted them. They alleged that the Jamaat men organise Islamic meetings (Taqsir) almost every week at the mosques and give false explanation of Islam.

An elderly scholar from Chittagong, asking not to be named, said: “We have found some madrasa students linked to Jamaat-Shibir. They are being given proper counselling so that they quit such politics.”

If they fail to brings these student back from that path, the scholar said they would inform the police.

Md Moniruzzaman, assistant inspector general (confidential) of the Police Headquarters, yesterday said that the process of identifying the Jamaat members and militants was lengthy as the scholars working on the matter do not belong to any particular group.

“We have instructed officials concerned across the country to consult with the scholars, before giving permission for holding any Mahfil [big gathering] at any place. The scholars will then sit with the speakers and ask them to give sermons against militancy at least for five minutes during an hour-long programme,” Moniruzzaman told the Dhaka Tribune.

He added that they were getting huge response from the scholars across the country.

The government is pondering on banning Jamaat for its role in the 1971 Liberation War and involvement in destructive activities in the last couple of years.

Meanwhile, the anti-militancy fatwa has already been finalised and the scholars are now collecting the signatures.

Maulana Md Fariduddin Masud, Imam of Sholakia Mosque, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday that they had prepared the fatwa based on 11 questions that include whether Islam supports militancy and suicide killings, and whether jihad and terrorism are the same.

“We have already got 12,000 signatures,” Farid said, adding that the fatwa would play a key role to stop militancy in the country. 

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