Investigating Knowledge Difference among the Islamic Activists In Bangladesh

Institution: Michigan Technological University
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Why This Project Is Important 

This project is important for two reasons. First, Islamic Activism has played an important role in Bangladesh politics over the last two decade but no formal study has ever been conducted to bring into light how prepared they are to achieve what they are saying. Second, this project will explore the underlying objectives and contemporary implications of the so called 'Sword Verses' in Koran. Comprehensive understanding of those verses is required for an activist to offer true teachings of Islam.Interviewing activists of different levels on that subject is expected to reveal the underlying capability scenario of activists involved in the organization.

Project Description 

Bangladesh is a developing country with high level of social capital and constant growth. However, the political system has not been matured enough to avoid conflicts among the political parties to realize the potential resources.Recently, Islamic Activism contributes to political rivalry and incoherence in the dominant secular democratic framework.

Islamic Activism faces two fundamental challenges. In one hand, Islam encourages its followers to spread and establish its principles to the welfare of the society. On the other hand, in doing so, Islam has warned its followers not to offer any kind of injustice to any of the people they are working for. Although the verses are urging to ‘kill people wherever you will find them, these are also qualifying the executor by saying that better if you be patience (16:126), better you forgive, fight till they surrender, secure idolaters to their place (9:6), welcome peace even from unbelievers (4:94), respect the contracts (4:90;9:7), no hostility towards nonbelievers except aggressors (2:193), do not transgress the limit (2:190), fight even with Muslims who conspire and create anarchy (49:9), teaching not to be violent even if someone attempts to kill (5:28), do as much as done with you. These are those verses that the opponents claim as the sword verses and I wonder how these verses are sword verses if these are so qualified and well intended. Hadith states one such example when in a battle field, Ali (rd) restrains himself from his excessive anger that came as a result of a spit thrown by a defeated soldier. When looked at other verses, Koran wanted people to be equipped with contemporary knowledge and keeping up to date with information even in the time of fight (9:122).

While theory and practice has a distance, the activists who will try to bring peace and happiness for the people must be well equipped with sound and comprehensive knowledge of the Islamic principles and injunctions. In want of those sound knowledge, they may end up offering what they do not want to offer.

In this project, I will choose these verses (verses that critics of Koran claimed offers violence and mainstream) in order to examine the level of comprehensive knowledge the activists have on that and how does this knowledge level varies from different levels by interviewing activists from leaders to followers, urban activists to rural activists, university activists to school activists, scholars to workers.

Meet the Researcher

S. M. Mizanur Rahman

I am a PhD. student in the Environmental and Energy Policy program in the Department of Social Science. I have a B.S. and Masters in Applied Chemistry and Chemical Technology and, later, completed another Masters in Development Studies from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. I started my career as a lecturer of Chemistry and worked with a nonprofit organization as a project coordinator of a disaster management project. Currently, I am studying at Michigan Tech Social Science department and interested in investigating the influence of social capital behind the formation of industrial symbiosis in Bangladesh.

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What Your Donation Can Help Us Do: 

  • Help us acquire fundamental knowledge on the so called sword verses in Islam.
  • Help us understand how the activists view these complex issue
  • Help us reveal the baseline scenario of the Islamic Activism in Bangladesh.
  • Cover the cost of a camera, recorder, and other supplies
  • Cover travel expenses

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