Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz, in a commentary published in the website of the German international public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, examined the growing importance of the Islamist political parties ahead of the national election in Bangladesh. The election is scheduled for December 30.

“While the military regimes were responsible for bringing religion into politics, the political parties gave legitimacy to the country’s Islamist groups,”┬áRiaz writes.

Drawing on election results between 1991 and 2008, Riaz writes, “Since the 1980s, the ruling Awami League (AL) party and the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) have been courting Islamists for their electoral success, arguing that these groups help garner votes. But the available statistics do not support this argument.”