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Home Emdad's Articles Working towards the portrayal of truth

Working towards the portrayal of truth

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EMDAD RAHMAN meets perspicacious politician Professor Ahmed Abdul Quader to discuss the quest for righteousness  

Professor Ahemed Abdul QuaderProfessor Ahmed Abdul Quader, 50, is a distinguished academic. Widely acknowledged as one of Bangladesh's most promising intellectuals, the charismatic politician is the Secretary of Bangladesh Khelafot Majlish, representing a vital segment of the world's third most populous Muslim country. Hailing from Habigonj under Sylhet Division the Professor who holds Bsc Hons from Dhaka University Mss Econ as well as Llb honours is currently visiting the UK. At present the renowned academic who has had hundreds of his works published and who has the dubious distinction of being the mentor of many Majlish representatives worldwide, is completing a PHD in Economics under the University of Kushtia.

During his student life the Professor involved himself with the Chatra Shibir movement, moving on to the Islamic Jubo Shibir (Youth) in 1982.

In 1984 he formed a combined alliance under the guidance of Hafizjee Huzoor. Further, in 1987 he helped set up the Islamic Constitution Movement, and in 1989 he was behind the formation of Bangladesh Khelafoth Majlish and Khelafoth Andolon.

ER: Wh

at is the membership of Bangladesh Khelafoth Majlish?

AAQ: Thousands. We have operations all over Bangladesh, in districts, subdistricts, unions and in countries like the UK etc. We also have a female wing (Mohila Majlish).

ER: Why did you leave Chatra Shibir?

AAQ: After completion of my student life I wanted to do my own thing. As a matter of personal choice I did not join Jamate Islami, rather I formed my own group.

ER: What aspirations do you have for your party?

AAQ:

  • I hope to establish an extensive network throughout the country.
  • Combine traditional Ulama and modern academics under one platform.
  • Raise the profile of Khilafah, world issues and launch a peaceful mass movement to achieve these aims.
  • to create effective and Islamically qualified leadership everywhere
  • To create an environment of unity, avoiding confusion and controversy.

ER: Have you thought of taking the relevant steps to becoming an MP?

I have received a lot of support and encouragement and I am seriously considering a career as an MP as a course of action.

ER: What is your opinion of the law and order situation in Bangladesh?

AAQ: Things are improving in Bangladesh but a lot of work is necessary. A lot of hard work is needed to win over detractors who claim Bangladesh is a terrorist haven. Matters have not been helped with the arrests of so called Islamic militants and terrorists.

ER: Please elaborate?

AAQ: People like Bangla Bhai are pawns in a bigger set up. Nothing is what seems to meet the eye.

ER: What is your party position on terrorism?

AAQ: We negate all forms of terrorism and we are crystal clear on the fact that violent means will ultimately never achieve and fulfil any objectives. There are counter foreign powers in Bangladesh as with all over the world that are working very efficiently to destabilise the real Islam. Misguided and effervescent youth are also wrongly involved in wrongful activities, which are not helping matters.

I would unanimously like to state that no true Ulama or Islamic force in Bangladesh support any form of terrorism. However anti Islam forces have really milked the limelight and made things difficult with regards to political and communal harmony building efforts.

ER: Secularists are ‘truly’ united in their war against true Islam. Their unanimity is something to marvel at. The question is why is there so much Islamic disunity?

AAQ: Extremism is a bad thing. But why are only the Muslims declared as extremists? There are many secular and nationalist groups in the country and abroad, fanning ethnic prejudice and linguistic violence but no action is taken against them.

I tend to choose the word difference of opinion and this has been a historical occurrence in all Islamic circles. Differences of opinion are blessings for the Ummah. In this day and age, the main contributor to disunity is usually the size of an individual’s ego. Intolerance and lack of knowledge are the main components prevalent in aggravating this situation even further.

Theoretical issues and ambitious self seekers are also guilty of keeping up walls of division.

I still think there is a very possible chance of unity and this was evident in Bangladesh during the last days of the Awami League Government, where differences were put aside to deal with the common problem. The only problem is that it is human nature to resort to bickering once the waves have subsided.

To achieve this, party chauvinism must be avoided. Differences should be resolved through dialogue, not on the streets. Tolerance and respect must be key aspects of a person’s moral approach and character.  This is the demand of Islam, to follow ethics of differences, which will lead to unity.

ER: Does this mean that leaders should be more proactive in their guidance?

AAQ: Definitely! True leaders always keep in touch with ground level work. Fellow workers must be approached, counselled and means must always be looked into to raise awareness of all prevalent and vital issues.

ER: In your opinion, how effective is the 4 party alliance in Bangladesh?

AAQ: BNP are leading the way and their main associates are the Jamaat. I am one of many who believe that the rest are making up the numbers. The other parties are slightly annoyed at the lack of participation on their behalf and as we all are aware, such feelings can lead to discontentment. This question has been raised many times and the response has not been very positive. All verbal commitments need to be seen through by the Government because active and fair participation from all segments of the alliance will only add strength to the coalition. Having made my point, I would clearly like to state that despite these shortcomings we are still in full backing of the alliance.

ER: Do Madrasahs need to be reformed?

AAQ: We are working towards recognition of all Madrasah certificates. The Government has committed to recognising Madrasah graduates. Having said that the Ulama are the cream of society and I, like yourself share the view that all Aalims should be dynamic and excel in all fields.

SylhetLike you say, they should not be restricted to a role performing the Friday Khutba only but broaden their horizons. The Masjid is the hub of a community and the ideal Imam should be adept at playing various roles such as statesman, confidante, politician, professional, preacher, counsellor, mentor etc. In this day and age where Islam is under attack from a constant media onslaught, we need dynamic Ulama that are capable of portraying the true deen to the world.

Change is necessary and some Madrasahs are introducing academic subjects such as English, history and Sciences. A number of Ulama agree with change, whilst others are keen to keep things as they are.

ER: Do you have any further advice for readers?

AAQ: I urge all Muslims to respect each other and those of other faiths. Islam is a beautiful religion of tolerance and intolerance has been the downfall of great nations.

We must remember at all times that we are ambassadors of the truth and we should spread good through our deeds as well as our speech. We should work for world wide peace, brotherhood and unity at all times.

I advise all readers to work towards developing high moral characteristics and to refrain from all acts that lead to disharmony amongst themselves. All Muslims must stand as a unified Ummah, especially the youth must come forward and excel in all fields of society.

We must all set a perfect example to our detractors. They do not understand. It is our fault, not theirs. We have been slow to exemplify the true beauty and character of our faith.

For decades, Professor Ahmed Quader’s outspoken denunciation of dictatorial regimes and policies have singled him out as public enemy number 1 in many quarters.

His charismatic personality does not simply enter a room but fills it with his bigger than life smile and one senses that this is just the beginning of a very successful political career. 

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