Jamal Hasan is a Bangladeshi-American living in Washington D.C. He is a security analyst and co-editor of Beyond Jihad: Critical Voices from Inside Islam, which is now carried by over 130 academic libraries around the world. He is a founding member of the American Islamic Leadership Coalition.
The following is RadicalIslam.org National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro’s interview with Jamal Hasan:
Ryan Mauro: What can you tell us about the role of Bangladeshi Islamists in America?
Jamal Hasan: Bangladesh has historically been a place of moderate Islam. It was a place of composite culture with influences from Hinduism and Buddhism. Bangladesh came into being by challenging pan-Islamism, which Pakistan espoused.
The majority of the Bangladeshis in the U.S. are secular. However, many of them fall prey to the propaganda campaigns of Islamist groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), etc.
The Jamaat-e-Islami of Bangladesh is closely connected with the Muslim Brotherhood and other stealth jihadist outfits around the world. The adherents of the Bangladeshi Jamaat do not necessarily change their worldview when they step into a Western country like the U.S. Many of the ex-members of the Bangladeshi Jamaat work under groups like the Muslim Ummah of North America and the North American Bangladeshi Islamic Community.
Both of these organizations are deeply connected with the major U.S.-based Islamist organizations. Currently, the secular government of Bangladesh is conducting trials of war criminals. A good number of the accused are leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami and its auxiliary death squads, Al-Badr and Al-Shams. It is quite logical to find that the Bangladeshi Islamists in the U.S. are against the war crimes trials.
Mauro: Why did you end up differently than them? Were you ever influenced by Islamist thought?
Hasan: I grew up in a very liberal society. In addition, both my parents were quite liberal. During my growing up in Bangladesh, linguistic nationalism was the main agenda of the politically conscious people. In the urban areas, the influence of Western culture was very significant. In short, I grew up with the Beatles and the Monkees. In addition, in the early '60s to '70s, secular Bengali culture did not allow any breathing space for Islamist thoughts.
Mauro: Why do you, as a Muslim, feel compelled to act against the Islamists?
Hasan: In 1971, the Pakistani military junta launched a genocidal attack on freedom-loving Bangladeshis of the erstwhile East Pakistan. All the Islamist parties of Pakistan sided with the genocidal and barbaric Pakistani army. The Pakistani Islamists and their Bangladeshi cohorts killed innocent Bangladeshis in the name of “saving Pakistan” and “saving Islam.”
The sad episode of the Bangladesh Holocaust gave me the clear idea that political Islam is dangerous to humankind. The bloody birth of Bangladesh taught me not to trust the Islamists.
Mauro: It is sometimes argued that American groups founded by the Muslim Brotherhood have become independent and are moderate now. What do you think of this argument?
Hasan: The Muslim Brotherhood is a global Islamist network with a humane façade. It can be compared with the Jamaat-e-Islami of Bangladesh, which is still considered a moderate Muslim party by the U.S. Department of State.
Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah are overtly violent in order to impose their doctrine. Organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islami have long-range plans.
See RadicalIslam.org.'s related article Gradualism: The Islamist Strategy for Victory
Their objectives are like those of any violent jihadist outfit. Yes, tactically, the Muslim Brotherhood has taken the course of moderation. However, this organization cannot be trusted. They are like the Bolsheviks of the former Soviet Union before 1917. It is very unfortunate that many Western leaders are yet to consider them adversaries. I think the American groups founded by the Muslim Brotherhood should be closely watched.
Ryan Mauro is RadicalIslam.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.
This article first appeared in Radical Islam website.