Is Bangladesh becoming a Taliban state? Talibanization has become an international fear in our post-9/11 era, and attention has begun to focus on Bangladesh in light of the growing strength of militant groups supposedly aligned with Al Quaeda, the landslide victory of the center-right coalition in the general election of October 2001, and the deliberate and planned violence against religious minorities that followed. God Willing answers the explosive question of Talibanization by analyzing the politics of Islamism in Bangladesh, the world's third most populous Muslim country. The book's detailed analysis of events, constitutional measures, and political processes reveals how once-banned religio-political forces assumed a preeminent position within the democratic polity. Far from being a recent trend, the Islamization process in Bangladesh has been escalating for more than two decades. Looking beyond the sensational glare of media coverage, Ali Riaz helps the reader to understand the emergence of Islamism as a legitimate political force through democratic means in a largely secular state, as opposed to the media's portrayal of Bangladesh as a country overrun by Islamist forces with a supranational agenda. The author compares Bangladesh with Indonesia and Pakistan, thus adding a valuable global context for evaluating the politics of Muslim countries.
This is a gripping and readable study of the growing public role of Islamicist parties in moderate nation-states such as Bangladesh. Given the relative paucity of studies on contemporary Bangladesh, this book is an important contribution that will engage students of South Asia as well as those interested in the politics of religious extremism in the Muslim world.--Ayesha Jalal, Tufts University