Monday, June 2, 2008

AN INTERVIEW WITH SUNITA PAUL

Date: Saturday, 29 Mar 2008 [Published partially in the Asian Tribune 30-3-81]

Sunita Paul (SP): Thanks for sending information regarding your party 'Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan'. If I am not mistaking, English translation of this name stands for 'Bangladesh caliphate Movement'. Do you preach Caliphate State in Bangladesh?

I have gone through several documents available on the net, and the name of your party was mentioned at least in a talk show on Voice of America. It was stated that, Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan supports withdrawal of travel ban on Israel. This is something very unique and exception for me to hear from an Islamic political party. As I know, most of the Islamist and Islamic parties in Bangladesh are against withdrawal of travel ban. In your case, you are very exception. May you kindly elaborate the reason as to why you feel that Bangladesh should lift travel ban on Israel?

Kazi Azizul Huq (KAH): I am attaching herewith soft-copy of selected compilation of our ongoing Muslim-Jews Dialogue. Please specifically read the Appendix Pages 36-39 (BKA Letter to H.E. Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, Chief Advisor of Bangladesh Government), which we hope will answer much of your inquiries.

The word 'Caliphate' is used in the books of history also to mean the autocratic and imperialistic governments of the Umayyads, Abbasides and Ottoman Turkey. Our understanding of 'Khelafat' is different. We say "Khelafat Ala Minhazin-Nabuwat" i.e. Governance by divine viceroy treading the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)."
Our understanding of 'Khelafat' comes from the verse of the Holy Quran wherein Allah says that He decided to create His 'Khalifa' i.e. human specie (Hazrat Adam the First human) on the Earth. By 'Khelafat' we mean that the Governance to be for the human by the human who is obedient to God and knows and practices the Will of God.

(SP): Being an Islamist political party, why Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan also supports lifting travel ban on Israel?

(KAH): Ban on Travel to Israel is not a religious ban. It is a political decision of our state. Since our state policy is to support the Palestinians, our government adopted a policy not to recognize Israel unless Israel leaves all occupied lands and allow Palestinians to have an independent viable Palestinian State. Bangladesh Khelafat Andolon wants the travel ban to be withdrawn since our government should not continue to deny its Muslim & Christian citizens of the right to make pilgrimage to Holy sites in Palestine & Israel.


(SP): Does this travel ban has anything to do with Koran?

(KAH): The Holy Quran does not prohibit Muslims from travelling to any land.


(SP): Why and how you and your party became interested in promoting inter-faith dialogue?

(KAH): Hazrat Hafezzi Huzur (Peace be upon him), the founder of Bangladesh Khelafat Andolon, often recited verses of the Quran wherein Allah says that the whole mankind is the progeny of single pair of parents Hazrat Adam & Hazrat Hawa @Eve (Peace be upon them). He also often said "Muslims are our brethren in Faith while non-Muslims are our kin since we are all children of Adam & Eve (Peace be upon them)". Thus in Bangladesh Khelafat Andolon we have an environment of promoting compassion and generosity among mankind. So we have been trying to resolve our problems with other communities through sincere dialogue and mutual understanding.

(SP): What are the basic principles of Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan in ensuring rights of religious minority?

(KAH): Our Holy Prophet (pbuh) migrated from Makkah to Yathrib (Medina) on the invitation and consent of those most of who were friendly Jews and Pagans. At that time there were less than 500 Muslims in Yathrib (Medina) while the population of Yathrib (Medina) was nearly 10,000 - about fifty percent Jews and fifty percent Pagans. Those majority Jews and Pagans chose Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) to become the political head and administrator of the City State of Medina and Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) guaranteed their rights and status by Medina Charter which called all citizens of Medina irrespective of religion as "Ummah". On the other hand, his own relatives and tribe in Makkah were called "Kafir" not because they were idol-worshippers but because they were enemies. Hazrat Mohammed (pbuh) being the head of a minority religious community was chosen as the Political Head of the State by the majority who did not want to follow the religion of Hazrat Mohammed (pbuh). So while he was the political as well as religious head of the Muslims community, he was only the political head of the majority citizens of Madina who were non-Muslims. From it we can derive the principles and environment of the polity of Khelafat.

(SP): How do you look into the neo aspect of leftist-athiest-Islamist alliance in many countries in the world?

(KAH): Mr. Steve Johnson has recently (26 March 2008) written in the GLOBAL POLITICIAN under the title 'Our ally in war on terror in trouble':-

"So called seculars, who are generally anti-American and pro-Communists are playing important role in fixing strategies for the administration in Dhaka. Because of such interactions between the administration and anti-American lobbies moderate Muslims as well as liberal Islamic parties are in danger." The distinction between 'Islamist' and 'Islamic' is important. 'Islamists' are more concerned with mundane gains that are acquirable in the name of Islam, while 'Islamic' people are more concerted with salvation in the life Hereafter through growing Faith in Allah and discharging duties and obligations in this world. So 'Islamist' are also a sort of materialists like the communists. In Bangladesh leftist-atheist-Islamist alliance is still not that much visible. Rather the Communists here are trying to use US Administration to eliminate both Islamists and Islamic groups. I am not yet much aware of leftist-atheist-Islamist alliance in other countries of the world. I should be grateful if you kindly provide me with materials for study in this regard.


(SP): What are the basic reasons for many of the Bangladeshis to be anti American, anti West and anti Semitic? Who are responsible for such tendency?

(KAH): 6. People of Bangladesh in general dislike Anglo-American Occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. At the same time most of them would like to see their children to go to Europe and US to earn money for solvency. Those who get education from western type schools usually are infected with vices such as ego, selfishness, hatred, revenge, arrogance, cruelty, etc. On the other hand those who get education in traditional religious schools normally learn to get rid of ego, selfishness, hatred, revenge, arrogance, cruelty etc. So, I think, western type general education system in our countries are mainly responsible for it. Anti-Semitism is an European phenomena. But since the creation of Israel and continuous propagation of Jewish oppression of Muslims in Palestine have turned Muslims to be prejudiced against the Jews. Secret British policy seems to be deliberately fueling this confrontation between Muslims and Jews.