Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ জামায়াতে ইসলামী), previously known as Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, or Jamaat for short, is the largest Islamist political party in Bangladesh. On 1 August 2013 the Bangladesh Supreme Court declared the registration of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami illegal, ruling that the party is unfit to contest national elections.
Its predecessor, the party (Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan), strongly opposed the independence of Bangladesh and break-up of Pakistan. In 1971, it collaborated with the Pakistani Army in its operations against Bengali nationalists and pro-liberation intellectuals.
Upon the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, the new government banned Jamaat-e-Islami from political participation and its leaders went into exile in Pakistan. Following the assassination of the first president and the military coup that brought Maj. Gen. Ziaur Rahman to power in Bangladesh in 1975, the ban on the Jamaat was lifted and the new party Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh was formed. Its leaders were allowed to return. Abbas Ali Khan was the acting Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh. The Jamaat agenda is the creation of an “Islamic state” with the Sha’ria legal system, and outlawing “un-Islamic” practices and laws.
In the 1980s, the Jamaat joined the multi-party alliance for the restoration of democracy. It later allied with Ziaur Rahman’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat leaders became ministers in the two BNP-led regimes of prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia (from 1991 to 1996 and from 2001 to 2006). Its popularity has decreased and in 2008, it won only two of 300 elected seats in Parliament. In 2010 the government, led by the Awami League, began prosecution of war crimes committed during the 1971 war under the International Crimes Tribunal. By 2012, two leaders of the BNP and eight of Jamaat had been charged with war crimes, and by March 2013, three Jamaat leaders had been convicted of crimes. In response, the Jamaat has held major strikes and violent protests across the country, which have led to more than 60 deaths (mostly by security forces) and alleged mass destruction of public and national properties. There has been calls from community and various groups to ban Jamaat-e-Islami as a political party.