Hefazat leader’s plea: More than just a statementThe Daily Star #2019_01January 12, 2019
The reason for not sending girls to schools, according to Allama Shafi, who is also head of the Al-Hiyatul Ulya Lil-Zami’atil Qawmiya Bangladesh, the highest organisation of Dawra-e-Hadith of the Qawmi madrasa, is that schooling would make girls disobedient.
Misogynist statements and demands are hallmarks of HI as well as other conservative Islamists.
The interesting aspect of the call is that it is not a demand to the government to stop women’s education.
Perhaps that’s why they are not making demands to the government.
In many instances, such as this one, there is no religious diktat against female education, but by using the garb of religious education, conservative Islamists tend to provide an impression that they are speaking for Islam.
The statement was made at the annual gathering of a madrasa, an educational institution, and by someone who heads a government-approved body called Al-Hiyatul Ulya Lil-Zami’atil Qawmiya Bangladesh.
Whipping up sentiments with religious rhetoric allows these groups to extract what they want from the government.
But past records of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party suggest that the differences would be of degrees, not of kinds.
Yet, what we know is that appeasement has not mutated the HI; instead, against the backdrop of a controversial election on December 30, 2018, its leader has reminded the country of its presence.
As I had written in an earlier article, “If the next election delivers a government with a questionable moral legitimacy, the influence and the strength of the Islamists are likely to grow further” (‘Why are Islamists in the limelight?’