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Bangladesh Radical Islamist Hefazat Chief Shah Ahmad Shafi Dies at Age of 104

In 2010, Shafi came to the fore when he established Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh.

In 2010, Shafi came to the fore when he established Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh.

Bangladesh President M. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday expressed deep shock and sorrow over Shafi's death.

Shah Ahmad Shafi, Amir of Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh, who was on life support and was flown to Dhaka, has died at the age of 104 while undergoing treatment at Asgar Ali Hospital here.

Bangladesh President M. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday expressed deep shock and sorrow over Shafi's death.

In a separate condolence message, they prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed profound sympathy to the bereaved family.

Ahmad Shafi will be buried at a graveyard in the madrasa after the janaza. An ambulance carrying his body left the hospital around 10.20 p.m. on Friday on its way to Chattogram.

In 2010, Shafi came to the fore when he established Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh.

During his long stint as the Hefazat-e-Islami chief and Hathazari madrasa director general, Shafi first made headlines following the rally of Hefazat-e Islam activists on May 5, 2013, that turned increasingly violent and kept Motijheel occupied for nearly 12 hours until the law enforcers swung into action after midnight and drove them away.

The capital's Paltan and Motijheel areas transformed into a scene of mayhem as the Hefazat men burned down and vandalised properties and clashed with law enforcers. At least 39 people were killed in the violence.

He also went on to make news now and then with his instigating comments during sermons, for which he often drew flak from different quarters, especially for his conservative remarks that belittled women.

He was known for his stance against women's education and employment. In 2013, during a sermon he made suggestive remarks, comparing women with tamarind.

"You women should stay within the four walls of your houses. Sitting inside your husband's home you should take care of your husband's furniture and raise your children, your male kids. These are your jobs. Why do you have to go outside?" he used to say.

In 2019, during a sermon delivered to the parents of the students of Hathazari madrasa, Shafi asked the parents not to send their daughters to school beyond grade four or five.

At a "Shokrana Mahfil" in 2019, Shafi, who also headed the Qawmi Madrasa Education Board, accorded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina the title "Mother of the Qawmi" for recognising the highest Qawmi degree as equivalent to a post-graduate degree.

Shafi's demise on Friday came a day after he resigned from the post of director general of Al Jameyatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam Madrasa, popularly known as Hathazari madrasa, following student unrest over the last two days.Namaz-e-Janaza to be held at Hathazari madrasa on Saturday.

Born in 1916 in Rangunia of Chattogram, Shah Ahmad Shafi studied at Al-Jamiatul Arabiatul Islamiah.

He went to India for higher education at the Islamic university Darul Uloom Deoband. Then he joined Hathazari madrasa in 1926. Shafi started his career as a teacher at Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam in Hathazari.


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