Dilly Hussain gives a brief overview of the life of Abdul Quader Molla who was executed by the Awami-led government of Sheikh Hasina on Thursday.
Whilst millions around the world were still mourning and discussing the legacy of Nelson Mandela, the Muslim Ummah lost one of its sons at the hands of a tyrannical regime. I’ve used the term “lost” in reference to Abdul Qauder Molla’s execution, but in reality it was his greatest victory if Allah (swt) accepts his martyrdom insh’Allah.
I do not agree with the political methodology of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), however, what I do know through my interaction with them during my visits to Bangladesh is that they are sincere and their ultimate end goal is the same as millions of Muslims – the establishment of a just Islamic state which comprehensively governs by the Shariah of of Allah (swt).
In this article I will briefly go over Molla’s life, his involvement in politics before Bangladeshi independence and after, and the tragic build-up to his execution.
Molla was born in the village of Amirabad, Faridpur, Dhaka in 1948. He attended the local school, Fazlul Huq Institute. He passed the H.S.C. examination in 1966 and did his B.Sc in 1968 from Rajendra College. Molla went on to complete his Diploma in Education in 1975 and Masters in Educational Administration in 1977 from the Dhaka University’s Institution of Education and Research, securing First Class First position in both qualifications. While studying there, he was elected as the president of the Shahidullah Hall unit of the Islami Chatra Sangha.
Molla worked as a senior teacher at Rifles Public School and College (now Bir Shreshtha Noor Mohammad Public College). He later became the acting principal of the institute, and was elected as the Vice President of Dhaka Journalists’ Union for two consecutive terms in 1982 and 1983. Molla was the former executive editor of The Daily Sangram.
In 1971 leaders of JI opposed the independence movement in East Pakistan because they believed it was against the Shariah to break up a Muslim state. As a member of Islami Chatra Sangha, Molla joined its paramilitary force, Al-Badar during the liberation war, but Bangladesh achieved independence that year. JI was banned from political participation under the new government.
After the assassination of President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 and the military coup that followed, the new government of Ziaur Rahman permitted JI to participate in politics again. Molla became active in the party and in 2010 he became the assistant secretary general of JI. He was elected to the Bangladesh National Press Club in recognition of his status.
War crimes tribunal and verdict
In 2009, the newly “elected” government of Sheikh Hasina created the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) to prosecute war crimes that were committed in 1971 during the liberation war. A formal charge was filed by the prosecution against Molla on 18 December 2011 in the form of a petition, as required under Section 9 (1) of the ICT Act 1973.
He was charged with abetting the Pakistani army and actively participating in the atrocities of 1971: rape and mass murder of Bangladeshis in the Mirpur area of Dhaka. A member of the Rajakar militia during the war, Molla was charged with killing 344 civilians.
Under section 20 (3) of the 1973 Act, the ICT announced a verdict and handed down a life sentence to Molla on 5 February this year, with an additional 15-year sentence to be served to the time he has been imprisoned since his arrest.
Ultra-secularists and nationalists who were financially and physically backed by the Awami government began demonstrations, demanding the death penalty and an end to “Islamic extremism” in Bangladeshi politics. The biggest protest took place at the Shahbag intersection in central Dhaka. Secular bloggers and online activists who were affiliated with the Awami League called for further mass demonstrations at Shahbag intersection. It was no secret that the Shahbag protestors were provided with logisitical support from the Hasina regime and the police.
Government-backed demonstrators held day-and-night vigils at Shahbag, refusing to leave until all those convicted of “war crimes” were sentenced to death. Counter protests were held by JI supporters against the trials and general strikes were launched in Dhaka, shutting down all activity in the capital.
Coincidentally “responding” to the demand of the Shahbag activists, on 13 February, the National Press Club of Bangladesh stripped Molla of his membership. On 17 February, the Bangladeshi Parliament passed a bill amending the ICT Act of 1973 which allowed the government, complainant, or informant to appeal an order of acquittal or order of sentencing.
The Shahbag protest was followed by the bloodiest massacre of peaceful protestors who were butchered in cold blood in the darkness of night by the police, security service, plain-cloth thugs, border guards and Bangladesh’s elite counter-terrorism squad RAB (Rapid Action battalion) between May 5-6 in the Motijheel area of Dhaka.
The death toll was estimated between 1,000 to 4,000 protestors affiliated with the most influential apolitical religious movement of Bangladesh, Hefazot-e-Islami. They were murdered and their bodies dumped in unknown locations by sunrise because they refused to evacuate Shapla Square upon Sheikh Hasina’s orders.
Molla was hanged at 10:01pm on Thursday 12 December. The 65-year-old was the first “war criminal” to be executed by the bogus kangaroo ICT for his alleged involvement in the bloodshed of 1971.
He said to his family members who visited him for the last time on Tuesday:
“I have been your guardian. If this government kills me unjustly, then that will be a death of martyrdom. After my martyrdom, Allah the Almighty will be your guardian. He is the best of guardians. So you have no reason to worry.
“I am totally innocent. They are killing me only because of my involvement with the Islamic movement. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a death of martyrdom. Whoever is blessed with martyrdom by Allah is indeed a fortunate person.
“If I receive the martyrdom then that will be the greatest achievement of my life. Every single drop of my blood will speed up the advance of the Islamic movement and will cause the destruction of the oppressor. I am not worried about myself. I am concerned about the future of the country and the Islamic movement.
“To the best of my knowledge, I have never done anything wrong. I have dedicated my whole life to the Islamic movement for the salvation my people of Bangladesh. I have never bowed down to injustice, and will never do so in the future. It is out of question to seek forgiveness/clemency to any worldly person. Allah is the owner of the life. Only Allah will decide how I would die.
“My death will not happen according to the decision of any other person. The time and the manner of my death will happen only according the decision of Allah. So, I will accept the decision from Allah happily.
“You must observe patience. Only through patience and tolerance you will achieve the victory promised by Allah. Not this world, but the hereafter is my goal. I request to the countrymen for prayers for the acceptance of my martyrdom by Allah. I give the countrymen my Salam.”
May Allah (swt) have mercy on our brother Abdul Quader Molla and accept his martyrdom, raise his degree and make him follow the Prophets, the righteous, the martyrs, the good people, and the likes of Sayyid Qutb (rh) and Omar Mukhtar (rh) who were also murdered at the hands of tyrants and not to bar us from his companionship in paradise. Ameen