Published by Liberty South Asia on March 4, 2019

Congressional Resolution Targets Facilitator of Violent Extremism

For decades, experts have warned about the futility of trying to eliminate violent extremism without dismantling the networks that propagate extremist ideologies and provide essential support to international terrorist organizations. A new resolution introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to do just that.

H.Res. 160, introduced by Congressman Jim Banks (R—IN) places critical focus on Jamaat-e-Islami, a transnational Islamit extremist group founded in 1941 in India. Known as “the Muslim Brotherhood of South Asia,” Jamaat-e-Islami operates branches in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh along with proxy groups across the world. Long-treated as a “moderate” religious party in Washington, in large part due to decades of successful lobbying efforts, Rep. Banks’s resolution chronicles the organization’s history of providing ideological and material support for violent extremism.

“Unlike al Qaeda or ISIS, Jamaat-e-Islami is not a household name in the West. But just because it doesn’t make headlines doesn’t mean it doesn’t make terrorists,” says Liberty South Asia’s Seth Oldmixon. “To protect the rights of religious minorities, including persecuted Muslim sects, the global community needs to expand its attention beyond the most egregious actors to include those like Jamaat-e-Islami who serve as a pipeline that recruits, radicalizes, and encourages acts of violent extremism not only in Pakistan and Bangladesh, but across the globe. By recognizing Jamaat-e-Islami’s role in this process, Congressman Banks has opened the door for U.S. officials to disrupt their ability to continue.”

Just last week, India banned Jamaat-e-Islami in the northern state of Jammu & Kashmir claiming that it “supports extremism and militancy.” News reports in Pakistan substantiate those claims, as reporters have found Jamaat-e-Islami recruiting fighters and logistical support for “Jihad” against India.