Published by Liberty South Asia on March 6, 2018

Jamaat-e-Islami Social Media Activists Mock Attack on Bangladeshi Professor


The attempted assassination of Bangladeshi professor Zafar Iqbal brought thousands of protests across the country as Bangladeshis nationwide cried out for justice and an end to the violent extremism that has plagued Bangladesh for years. In one positive sign, the government’s  response to the attack has earned praise even from critics.

While most Bangladeshis are calling for swift action against extremists, “Basherkella,” a social media brand known for promoting Jamaat-e-Islami and its youth wing Islami Chhatra Shibir, has been posting content mocking Dr. Iqbal and spreading wild conspiracy theories about the attack.

The following content, cross-posed on multiple social media platforms, parodies Zafar Iqbal’s name as “Zafar Bull” (জাফর ষাড়) and mocks the attack against him.

Other posts claim the attack is all part of a government conspiracy against radical Islamists:

Yet another conspiracy theory post about the attack links to another pro-Jamaat-e-Islami website that also promotes the conspiracy theory that Hindus burned down their own homes in Rangpur. In reality, dozens of Jamaat-e-Islami militants were arrested for carrying out the attack.

A chief administrator of Basherkella was arrested in 2015 for running a network of social media accounts and web pages spreading extremist propaganda.

In an official statement, acting Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mujibur Rahman condemned the attack. But across social media, Jamaat-e-Islami supporters and activists are mocking the attack and, according to some in Bangladesh, giving the impression that they hope it will happen again.

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