November 15, 2023

Secularism vs. Theocracies: Bangladesh - and the West - Under Threat

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by Uzay Bulut, Research Fellow

As Bangladesh, a nation that is majority Muslim, prepares for January elections, its secular government has come under increasing pressure from Islamists.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), and their allies are holding rallies regarding a single demand: the resignation of the secular government. They insist that the prime minister step aside for an “impartial caretaker administration” to oversee January’s polls.

Bangladesh has witnessed in recent years the alarming rise of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist political movement whose ideology mirrors that of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Both Jamaat and the Muslim Brotherhood advocate for implementing strict Islamic law in their respective countries, Bangladesh and Egypt. They share a common goal of transforming their nations into Islamic states governed by Sharia law, which traditionally includes the severe persecution of religious minorities and women.