The ruling Awami League and its political allies claim that the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami have a hand in the provocation to incite the Islamic parties, including Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh, to demolish all the sculptures of the country, including the proposed one of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
For almost two months now, many Islamist parties have been opposing plans to put up a sculpture of Bangabandhu at Dhaka’s Dholaipar Square. In October, several Islamist groups staged protests against the construction of sculptures in different parts of Dhaka.
However, after the remarks of Mamunul Haque, the joint secretary general of Hefazat-e-Islam, and the leader of Khilafat Majlis, the protests started over the sculpture. Opposing the sculpture of Bangabandhu, in Dhaka on November 13. The extreme rightwing Islamist leader warned that if the sculpture was made in Dhaka, it would be thrown into the Buriganga by them.
Hefazat’s newly elected Amir Junaid Babungari issued a strong statement to back Mamunul. He demanded the demolition of all the sculptures across the country. After Babungari’s speech, Awami League and its allied political parties demanded that Bangabandhu’s statue must be completed on time.
At the same time, the Awami League leaders and its allied political parties have accused the BNP for backing Hefazat and other Islamic parties from behind.
Nowhere in the Holy Qur’an it is forbidden to draw pictures or put up sculptures. Idols or inanimate objects worshiped are called wasan or sanam in Arabic (plural aosan or asanam). Sculpture, on the other hand, is called tamasil / timsal / tamsal, which in English means memorial, monument or statue.
The Qur’an states in verse 13 of Surah Saba: “They used to build temples and forts, sculptures, large pots like houses, and huge pots on the furnace according to Solomon’s wishes”.
To question sculpture here is to insult the Qur’an and accuse a prophet of shirk. Note that Solomon (peace be upon him) came after Abraham (peace be upon him).
The difference between idols (protima) and sculptures is that idols are made for worship, the other is made as works of art. The sculptures are artifact, which has historical and cultural interest. Bangabandhu’s sculpture is an historical artifact.
Those who bring up the subject of shirk here complain about the limitation of knowledge or the attainment of a specific purpose. In any case, haram or halal, intention (iman) is always important for practise (amal). And real implementation of the practice. Anything that is halal can be haram because of intention. For example, the followers of traditional religions show respect to the cow at the level of worship. Will cows be forbidden for this?
In this case intention and activity will be considered as haram. Similarly, no one ever considers a sculpture to be the Lord, nor does he seek any unseen help. If someone loudly declares it as shirk or haram, it will be an exaggeration of religion
All the Muslim countries of the world will be on one side, and Pakistan, Afghanistan and Hefazat-e-Islami will be on the other side. This is not good for secular Bangladesh achieved with blood and chastity of two million women in the liberation war of 1971. It is time to wake up for all secular forces in Bangladesh.
Several senior Awami League leaders said that after forming the Awami League government in 2009, the BNP conspired with Hefazat to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the elder daughter of Bangabandhu. As part of the conspiracy, Hefazat, backed by the BNP, lay a seige of Shapla Chattar on May 5, 2013, and carried out massive violence. After this incident, Hejafat’s relationship strained with the government.
But after the death of Shah Ahmed Shafi, the first Amir of Hifazat, Junaid Babungari, known as a pro-BNP man, became the new Amir. In the 151-member committee of the organization, Babungari, a partner of the BNP’s 20-party alliance, appointed various Islamic parties to important posts.
Hefazat’s joint secretary general Mamunul Haque is one of them. His party Khelaat-e-Majlis is one of the allies of BNP and Jamaat-led 20 parties. The opposition to these pro-BNP leaders’ sculpture and the BNP’s silence on this issue naturally indicates that Awami League’s allegation is true.
Awami League general secretary ObaidulQuader said, “BNP believes in conspiracy theories behind the scenes. They are playing various games at home and abroad for power.”
Asked about the BNP’s stance on the sculpture debate, Hasanul Haque Inu, president of the JSD, one of the Awami League-led 14-party alliance allies, said the silence by BNP is because it is backing fanatical groups.
If there was no instigation, than the BNP would have reacted on the sculpture issue.
Abu Ahmed Mannafi, who became the president of Dhaka Metropolitan South of the Awami League, said, “A fanatical group is conspiring to provoking the sensitive feelings of common religious people by fueling the politics of division anddistortaion, at the construction of the sculpture of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. BNP-Jamat is fuelling these provocations. We all need to be vigilant about this conspiracy. ”
Asked about the BNP’s position on the sculpture debate, Awami League joint general secretary
Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif said, “These fanatical groups have other nefarious motives.” There must be a political party or a political conspiracy behind this. This malpractice is being carried out to destroy the spirit of Bangladesh and the liberation war.
He added, “BNP and Jamaat have embarked on a mission to implement the BNP’s anti-Bangladesh conspiracy by using Hefazat and other Islamic parties.”