Political Islam and the Elections in Bangladesh

In the run up to parliamentary elections in Bangladesh, the ideological clash between secular Bengalis and Islamists has already spilt onto the streets in what many now believe is a make-or-break struggle for the identity of the world's third largest Muslim country. 

In this report, Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Frances Harrison, examines the ideological and political differences between the various Islamic parties, alliances and militant groups in Bangladesh, with special focus on Jamaat-e-Islami. 

The report examines allegations about the extent of Jamaat infiltration into the country's economic life and educational system but also looks at the creeping Islamisation at village level, as well as charting recent attacks on religious minorities. Supplementary research material can be found online - key documents translated into English, such as party membership guidebooks, oaths and personal report cards on which aspirant Jamaat members record daily how often they pray, recruit future members, or study Islamic texts.