The House of Representatives in a press release has expressed strong concerns regarding the threats posed to human rights and democracy by “theocratic groups” operating in South Asia.
In a statement submitted to the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, American Congressman Jim Banks was quoted saying that “the US should more actively engage with the government of Bangladesh regarding shared interests in safeguarding human rights, religious freedom, and secular democracy in Bangladesh while preventing the growth of religious extremism and militancy.”
The statement further called on the Government of Pakistan and Bangladesh to disrupt, deny, and dismantle the ability of Jamaat-e-Islami and its affiliates to continue to produce an immediate as well as the ongoing threat to regional stability and religious freedom.
The House also urges the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and all political parties to indisputably distance themselves from Jamaat-e-Islami and other extremist groups, said Mr. Banks.
The statement called on the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Homeland Security, and other relevant sources to cease all partnerships and funding arrangement with outfits affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islami and its local affiliates, including ICNA Relief, the Muslim Ummah of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, and Helping Hand for Relief and Development.
It further asked law enforcement to probe the activities of Helping Hand for Relief and Development in Pakistan and Kashmir, including an alleged alliance with components of the Pakistani terrorist network, Lashkar-e-Taiba.