1st Saturday Research Adda: Safeguarding Islam in Modern Times Politics, Piety and Hefajat Islam in Bangladesh
Speaker: Khandaker MA Raquib, SOAS

About Speaker: Khandaker MA Raquib is an academician currently working as an assistant professor in the Social Science Department of Bangladesh Army International University of Science & Technology. He completed his M.A. in Social Anthropology) from SOAS, University of London.

Keynotes of the presentation
This presentation was about the rise of Hefazat-e-Islam and how they are supposedly safeguarding Muslim community within the domain of modern state mechanism in Bangladesh. They are doing so with the focus on three specific aspects (education, women and law, defamation of the Prophet) in various trajectories of the HI movement.
The speaker pointed out that, HI ulamas are actively engaged in national awareness issues, legal and educational reform. Thus, this paper is an attempt to examine how HI ulama played a vital role to bring desired changes or to resist unwanted changes in the legal, moral and educational sphere of the Muslim community in Bangladesh.
HI’s claim on safeguarding women from the ‘evil’ of modernity and capitalism shows their moral inquiry in protecting women’s interest from different aspects. They assume that there is no barrier to women’s free movement, but that this should be according to the Quranic instructions through dressing Hijab or modesty.

The public reaction of the HI Ulama and their supporters as well as of the Shahbag supporter to the defamation on the prophet is an example of the standoff between religious and secular weltanschauung today.

The presentation concluded saying that HI ulama are not necessarily against modern change, rather sometimes they desired to change and sometimes they resist. Their priority is to safeguard the holistic traditional Islamic culture in modern settings.

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