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Piety and Politics: Secularization and Islamization in Bangladesh

  • Md Nazrul Islam
  • Md Saidul IslamEmail author
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Abstract

This chapter analyzes state-sponsored secularization and Islamization in Bangladesh. Secularism interpreted by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (the founding president of Bangladesh) was the recognition rather than the rejection of religions. Nevertheless, Mujib proceeded to secularize the society and to that end, he took several measures in practice. But the gap between a secular state and a non-secular people was clearly evident, which forced Mujib to launch Islamization of the polity despite the fact that the state was still secular in ideology, albeit in written form. Sheikh Mujib gradually began the process of Islamization, which was later institutionalized by the military rulers. Both Generals Zia and Ershad successfully used religion as a tool for political legitimization. Subsequent rulers followed suit with the exception of Sheikh Hasina whose regime took the opportunity of the post-9/11 world and adopted strategies to emasculate the Islamic forces and their influence in the state. Secularism was restored in the constitution, again not on a consensual basis of the population, but as a “tactical guise” to win international supports. Aside from state actors, we will also critically analyze the role of other non-state actors or non-political organizations and institutions (e.g., Tablighi Jamaat, the Ahl-i-Hadith Andolan, and the Hefazat-e-Islam) that also made significant contributions to Islamization in Bangladesh

Keywords

Islamization Secularization Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Ziaur Rahman Tablighi Jamaat Ahl-i-Hadith Andolan Hefazat-e-Islam Violent secularism 

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political StudiesShahjalal University of Science and TechnologySylhetBangladesh
  2. 2.Division of SociologyNanyang Technological UniversityJurongSingapore

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