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