Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana State introduced the resolution in the House of Representatives on November 20
A resolution has been placed in the US Congress, calling on the Bangladesh government to stop radical organizations including Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chhatra Shibir, and Hefazat-e-Islam, who pose an on-going threat to the country’s stability and secular democracy.
Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana State introduced the resolution, titled “Expressing concern about the threat posed to democracy and the democratic process by theocratic groups operating in Bangladesh,” in the House of Representatives on November 20, according to the US Congress official website, reports BSS.
The House Resolution 1156 has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the website says.
The resolution called on the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department to halt all partnerships and funding arrangements with groups affiliated with radical organizations, including Jamaat, Shibir, and Hefazat, reports UNB.
The resolution said religious minorities were targeted by the BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Islami Chhatra Shibir, during previous elections, as a result of which 495 Hindu homes were damaged, 585 shops were attacked or looted, and 169 temples were vandalized between November 2013 and January 2014.
It also said Jamaat-e-Islami activists have been involved in recent attacks on religious minorities in Bangladesh.
Mentioning that national elections are expected to take place in Bangladesh on December 30, 2018, the resolution called on the Bangladesh government to heed the Bangladesh Election Commission’s request to ensure security for minorities and maintain communal harmony for a peaceful election.
The resolution acknowledged the victims of the 1971 War of Independence and the spirit of secular democracy on which Bangladesh was founded.
The nation of Bangladesh achieved independence in 1971 and established a secular democratic state, the resolution mentioned, noting that “this freedom was won at the cost of approximately 3,000,000 deaths, more than 10,000,000 displaced, and 200,000 women raped, many at the hands of Islamist militants led by Jamaat-e-Islami.”
The resolution said repeated attacks on religious minorities, expanding religious intolerance, and growing destabilization caused by radical groups, including Jamaat, Shibir, and Hefazat; undermine economic and strategic interests of the US in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile in a statement, Philadelphia-based think tank Middle East Forum (MEF) has welcomed the resolution, saying “Jamaat-e-Islami is an influential and dangerous Islamist group with a long history of violence.”
In October, the Bangladesh Election Commission revoked the registration of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, a major ally of the BNP-led 20-party alliance, in compliance with a High Court order.
In August, 2013, the High Court declared Jamaat’s registration illegal following a writ petition filed in 2009 by Bangladesh Tariqat Federation’s Secretary General Rezaul Haque Chandpuri and 24 others.
In the petition, they said Jamaat was a religion-based political party and it did not believe in the independence and sovereignty of Bangladesh.