“The Taliban do not represent Islam,” says Syed Tayabul Bashar Maizbhandary, Bangladesh’s Sufi leader, South Asia News

Senior Bangladeshi Sufi leader Syed Tayabul Bashar Maizbhandary said “the Taliban do not represent Islam” and “academics must say it loud and clear”.

Speaking exclusively to WION Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Sidhant Sibal, Maizbhandary said: “Anyone who sees what is happening in Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban as a revival of Islam, they are absolutely wrong, the perspective is wrong and has nothing to do with Islam.

Syed Tayabul Bashar Maizbhandary is the co-secretary general of the Bangladesh Tariqat Federation, a Sufi political party that is also part of the ruling alliance.

He is a member of the Maizbhandar Shariff, the largest Sufi group in Bangladesh.

Her father is the leader of the Sufi group, which has millions of followers not only in Bangladesh but around the world.

During the conversation, he said: “The Taliban are a radical organization … one of the impacts is in terms of security, on young people. It is a cause of concern for the subcontinent, not just Bangladesh or India. “

Here is the full interview.

WION: Bangladesh’s economy has grown steadily in recent years. Bangladesh is also a star player on social indicators. But 50 years ago, when Bangladesh was born, the country and its people faced enormous hardships, widespread massacres, atrocities on minority communities, intellectuals, etc. How has Bangladesh overcome the challenges posed by those who oppose the spirit of the 1971 Liberation War?

Syed Tayabul Bashar Maizbhandary: We are celebrating 50 years of independence, and under the current government and the current leadership of the Bangladeshi Awami League, the leadership of Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina, Bangladesh has developed tremendously in terms of the economy and overall development of the country . It has gone a long way and as you have seen in international organizations, Bangladesh is becoming a tiger in terms of the economy. The country is doing much better and will continue to grow under the current leadership.

WION: The situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated rapidly in recent days and the Taliban have declared the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In the context of what we know about the former Taliban regime, how do you see the situation evolving?

Syed Tayabul Bashar Maizbhandary: We have to go back a little in history, in the subcontinent, and in Bangladesh. We see the anti-liberation forces backed by Pakistan trying to do something or other against Bangladesh or the value of Bangladesh. Although the country is developing rapidly, our economy is growing, there are the anti-liberation forces, the houses of Jamaat, who come with bad motives. It seems to be fed by international forces, there is always a possibility of forces, like you said the Taliban who have come forward. This will not only impact Bangladesh but the whole subcontinent because of the radical mindset and it is a fact that the Taliban is a radical organization. What we have seen in the past, and see now, and an impact will be the security on the local population in Afghanistan and the impact on the subcontinent in terms of security, on the young people. It is a cause of concern for the subcontinent, not just for Bangladesh or India.

WION: The Taliban are known to adhere to a rigid, extreme and fundamentalist idea of ​​Islam. While religious life in the subcontinent, and in Bangladesh, is deeply rooted in the concept of tolerance, brotherhood and spirituality. As the leader of a Sufi order yourself, do you think the philosophy proposed by the Taliban so far is at odds with the dominant belief system in the subcontinent and also in Bangladesh?

Syed Tayabul Bashar Maizbhandary: My father is the president of the Tariqat federation, Maizbhabdar sharif. We are therefore going to work in his footsteps. Two ways of looking at development: what the Taliban stand for, who they are, what their beliefs and ideology are. As a student of counterterrorism, we look at the big picture from a different perspective and make it clear: the Taliban do not represent Islam. We have to make it clear. Academics are sometimes afraid to say it because of death threats, but it is a fact that the Taliban do not represent Islam. And anyone who sees what is happening in Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban as a revival of Islam, they are absolutely wrong, the perspective is wrong and has nothing to do with Islam. Basically what the Taliban teach is their own ideology of what they understand about Sharia law. Basically, something of their own.

Nowhere do we see that they represent Islam or represent Muslim society. The message must be clear and clear, that what is happening in Afghanistan and its impact on the subcontinent will be hard because, apart from governments, civil society must play an important, important role in terms of how things should be. unwind. The impact of the Taliban should be looked at in different ways, the impact on young people and the way the education system feeds and the way people perceive the Taliban.

From an anti-terrorism perspective, if a percentage of the population seeing the Taliban as a revival of Islam or a representative of Islam is important, then there is a problem. The narrative has to come out, by a good Islamic scholar, as if you have nothing to get excited about and the Taliban do not represent Islam and their belief in Islam and in general no mazhab or ideology, in Muslim general or Islam do not go there by their teaching. The message should be clear and sharp, so that the impact is not what we think it is. To find an impact on the security that will be there, because the current situation is cause for concern, the situation is a big problem and a political level of ideology, and we have to protect the younger generation from this ideology, which will be the biggest challenge . How do we protect our young generation, against this radical organization, known for its brutality, for its murders, its links with other terrorist organizations, which it is important to protect from them.

WION: You have rightly pointed out that the liberal Sufi values ​​of Islam are deeply rooted in the subcontinent. But yet, we have seen that extreme ideologies attract young people from all over the world. Bangladesh has also had to grapple with the phenomenon of misguided youth influenced by radical religious thoughts and traveling to fight for so-called jihad. Do you see that the current context can lead to a recurrence of this phenomenon and if so, what impact will this have on Bangladesh?

Syed Tayabul Bashar Maizbhandary: This must be the most important question for India and Bangladesh, and for everyone and everyone. Youth is the future of any country. We need to know that we do not have to challenge the government what India is doing or the government of Bangladesh is doing. It is not always the role of government. This is the cumulative role of government, civil society and the various organizations to be safeguarded.

The governments of Bangladesh and India are doing extremely well to bring young people to the front and I have respect for both governments. The largest youth population belongs to Asia – India and Bangladesh. We need to go beyond the capacity of governments, what you and I are going to, what our parents teach, school systems and the role of social media, their impact on young people. For example, the government of Bangladesh has made a lot of digital Bangladeshi youth to empower youth at political level, to create jobs. The youth of Bangladesh have received a lot of preference, but governments have limits. Religion is a very sensitive subject, you have to take a lot of precautions. The current government of Bangladesh has always focused on interfaith harmony and we are the country where Hindus, Buddhism, Christians and Muslims live together. Anti-liberation forces like the Jamaat are always cooking up something, trying to dismantle society, dismantle the youth and raise the issue of our independence.

WION: Bangladesh, like India, is a country that is home to many religions. Fundamentalist ideologies erode the social fabric and disrupt interreligious harmony. How does Bangladesh approach the issue of the influence of fundamentalist ideologies on society?

Syed Tayabul Bashar Maizbhandary: To understand the impact of the Taliban, you need to understand your own culture and people. Bangladesh is a diverse country. There have been problems with radicalism in Bangladesh and the government has been tough on them. The government has cracked down on extremists and radical entities have been arrested, NGOs backed by jamaat are not up to anything good, calling them pious Muslims. The government is doing a good job, but it is up to civil society and those working in the fight against terrorism and religion to come forward. Hate speech is a problem. There are a lot of religious organizations that have found a lot of money. These are hard ideologies that are trying to find ground and the government has been very severe. But the government has limits, and these organizations cover each other pretty well. Overall, the government is doing an excellent job in terms of fighting terrorism. Governments must hold the appropriate organizations and think tanks accountable. The government does not preach religion but empowers organizations that cater to university students. The government’s impact of the Taliban on young people will be looked at from a security perspective, but the government cannot go along with the religious organizations or gurus who need to move forward, so they need to be held accountable. .

WION: You strongly believe in the ideals of liberal and progressive Bangladesh. You have taken several initiatives to strengthen this thought in Bangladeshi society. You have also supported the modernization of madrasa teaching in Bangladesh. Please tell us more about your efforts towards him.

Syed Tayabul Bashar Maizbhandary: If we look at the context of Afghanistan, one of the main political flaws was the education system. We do not take into account the impact of the education line for the next generation. Education doesn’t just teach you alphabets, it teaches morals, social studies, and guides the country’s next rulers. Education is the most important, and the ways in which it is nurtured and if there is a leak, Afghanistan will happen.

Regarding Bangladesh, the tariqat federation welcomed the government’s decision to modernize the madrasas. The current government thinks that if we don’t do madrasa to the same level as English or Bengali, then once they graduate they will not be in accord with what society wants.

This is why the modernization of the madrasa is important and it brings science, history, language and the education system is on par with other circulars as well … it is a legitimate decision and a good way to start . The hiccups will be there, but the anti-liberation forces are still after the country’s history. Students must be equal.

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