The Politics of Islamic Identity in Bangladesh: A Perspective on the Self-Other Comparison

By Md Abdul Mannan.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 28, 2014 $US5.00

The issue of Self-Other comparison, as entailed in the national identity of a state, is important in defining the state’s worldviews, its foreign policy goals, its friends and enemies abroad. Religion is seen as a very potent force in defining the state’s Self-Other notion in different parts of the globe across different religious traditions. From this perspective, politics of Islamic identity in Bangladesh, the world’s third largest Muslim country, can be an important case study. This paper argues that the politics of Islamic identity in Bangladesh defines national selfness in terms of Muslimness of the overwhelming Muslim population of Bangladesh. This notion of the Self depicts “Hindu India” as the Other to Bangladesh’s Muslim identity and conditions the country’s policy of pan-Islamic friendship. The paper examines the conditions, under which this Self-Other notion emerged in Bangladesh politics.

Keywords: Islam, Politics, Identity

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 3, Issue 4, May 2014, pp.79-95. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 28, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 335.485KB)).

Mr Md Abdul Mannan

PhD Student, Asia Institute, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I obtained the degree of Bachelor of Social Sciences with Honours and the degree of Mater of Social Sciences, both in International Relations, from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1994 and 1995 respectively. I joined the research faculty of the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) in 1999. In October 2004, I joined the Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh as a Lecturer. My professional affiliation still remains with this Department at a position of Assistant Professor. Currently, I am a doctoral student at the Asia Institute of the University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. My study at the University of Melbourne has been enabled by the Endeavour Postgraduate Award (2011) awarded by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Australian government. Politics of Islam is my main research interest. I have written articles on this area which have appeared in peer reviewed journals. My ongoing PhD research focuses on the politics of Islamic identity in Bangladesh and the influence of this issue on its foreign policy.