Clear definition of jihadi books must before arrest: Experts

As law enforcers often arrest ‘suspected militants’ with books they call ‘jihadi’ ones, experts think such a title is ‘inappropriate and misleading’ whatever contents these books may have.

They said a book having contents of distorted interpretations of the holy Quran and Hadiths to inspire people to involve in extremism should be called as a book on militancy instead of ‘jihadi’ one.

The experts also think that law enforcers should be very cautious in arresting people with books having Islamic contents so that no innocent person is subjected to harassment.

Contacted, Prof Abul Barkat of Dhaka University’s Economics department said if a book is written misinterpreting the Quran and Hadiths to motive people to carry out fight against the social system and indulge in violent activities to grab state power should be branded as a book on militancy.

Barkat, also the writer of a book titled ‘Bangladesh-e Moulobad’ (Fundamentalism in Bangladesh), said even reading books on militancy is not an offence, unless any person engages in such acts. “Law enforcers should be very careful about arresting people with Islamic books.”

He said a social movement involving the young generation needs to be launched to tackle fundamentalism.Supreme Court senior lawyer Subrata Chowdhury said the arrest of people with ‘jihadi’ books is a ‘suspicious and mysterious’ matter since there is no clear definition of such books.

“I think law enforcers are overenthusiastic over the arrest of people with such books. In many cases, police exaggerate the matter which creates confusion in public mind,” Subrata said.

He said police cannot arrest anyone with any book which is not banned. “If police raid people’s houses, they’ll find such books that they call ‘jihadi’ ones, in many cases. So, they can’t arrest all of them for keeping such books unless they engage in anti-state or terror acts.”

Subrata said police should maintain transparency regarding their drives against militants and extremism so that no question arises over the matter.

Shahidul Islam, an associate professor at Dhaka University’s Arabic department, said Islam said the concept of militants about jihad is contradictory to Islam.

“Jihad is a vast concept that includes various ranges of activity for the betterment of self and society. Frightening people or killing them in the name of religion can never be called jihad. If any book is written to encourage people to indulge in such acts, should be called as book on extremism or terrorism, not jihadi one.”

Additional DIG of Police Headquarters (Intelligence and Special Affairs) Md Moniruzzaman said the books written with an intention of inspiring people to terrorism, militancy and extremism are in the current sense known as jihadi ones. “Publication and distribution of such books are prohibited by law.”

Replying to a question, he said, “So far, as I know, no such book has officially been banned. Despite our strong monitoring, some jihadi books are still available in the country. If we find any book which can inspire people to engage in militancy and terrorism, we seize those.”

Mufti Mahmud Khan, Director (Legal Wing and Media) of the Rab headquarters said, though the real context of jihad is different, they call jihadi books that have distorted contents in the name of Islam to inspire people to join in so-called jihad.

Additional Commissioner and Chief of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit (CTTC) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Monirul Islam said ‘jihadi’ is a religious term. “I also think any book shouldn’t be called as jihadi one. We shouldn’t describe the books that have contents for instigating people to carry out terror acts as jihadi books. It should be called as book on extremism.”

A top official of the Intelligence Branch, requesting anonymity, said books on extremism are usually printed secretly faking the addresses of publication houses.

He said there are a number of books, written by arrested or executed top leaders of different militant outfits, carry the contents on extremism. “We unusually arrest people with those books.”

Some books on militancy include Kitabul Eman, Kitabut Tawheed, Kitabul Aqaid, Kitabus Saom, Kitabuz Zakat, Kitabul Haj, Tawhider Mul Shikhha, Bayat O Sirate Mustaqim, Moroner Age O Pore, Kitabut Dua, Deen Qayemer Path, Siam & Eid, Kitabud Dawah, Unmukta Torbari and Tazkiyatun Nufus.

source: UNB