Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz has presented a paper on the nature, scope, and pathway of Islamist politics in Bangladesh at a conference on the golden jubilee of Bangladesh. The virtual conference, titled “50 years of Bangladesh: Retrospect and Prospect” was jointly organized by Cornell University and the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) of Bangladesh.
Riaz in his paper discussed two sets of actors—political parties and social groups who pursue the agenda of Islamization of society and state, but also highlighted the strategies of the Islamic organizations, particularly how it changes everyday life without capturing the state apparatuses. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that the emergence of Islamist politics in Bangladesh is a mid-1970s phenomenon exclusively as a state project, the paper argued that there is a long tradition of Islamist politics in the country which is represented by a variety of political parties. Islamism has gained strength as both top-down and bottom-up processes, Riaz noted.