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World Congregation of Muslims 2013, Tongi, Bangladesh.

By- Khushi Bisht

"Bangladesh: The Dawn Of Islamism" is a documentary directed by Sandra Petersmann and Hans Christian Ostermann. It explores the country's turbulent past and long-running conflicts between radical Islamists and secularists. It demonstrates how this acrimonious scenario is rapidly nearing a critical threshold.

Bangladesh was formed through the bloodshed of millions of people. According to the Bangladeshi government, around 3 million died in the independence war of 1971, however independent estimates vary significantly. In contrast to Pakistan, Bangladesh declared secularism a foundational pillar of its constitution, despite the fact that Muslims make up the majority of the population.

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However, since its inception, the nation has been afflicted by strife between Islamic Extremist and secular groups. Officially, Bangladesh is secular, but Islamist organizations are constantly calling for a state based on Islamic law. Religious minorities such as Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians, as well as atheists, are compelled to live in secrecy.

Bangladesh is pretty much entirely unknown in the West since the country's severe floods, extreme poverty, lack of growth, and appalling working conditions in the textiles sector are the primary subjects that dominate the western news outlets. Terrorism has overrun the nation in recent decades, and most people are unaware of the fact that the country is presently witnessing massive carnage caused by radical Islamic militants.

Who are the victims of these horrendous terror acts, one may wonder?

Bangladesh is wracked by Islamist radicalism. Liberals, secularists, bloggers, and authors who are outspoken critics of extreme brutality and go against Islamic laws are frequently the targets of these terror acts.

Bangladesh Some Muslims are fanatical or devout, so when someone contradicts the Quran or talks ill about Prophet Mohammed's life, these people become enraged and lose their composure.Wikimedia Commons

An avowed atheist named Avijit Roy was among those slain by radical Islamists. Despite his father's warnings that his books and blogs may lead to his execution at the hands of religious fanatics, he attended a book fair in Dhaka in February 2015. This is exactly what happened. Roy was assassinated by Islamic extremists brandishing machetes while walking home with his wife. Although police were present, they did not interfere. He was one of five secular and liberal individuals assassinated in 2015, and the perpetrators have yet to be apprehended. What can we expect from a country with a large radical Muslim population, especially when the criminals are Muslims?

But where does the motivation to slaughter individuals originate from?

The documentary introduces us to Aisha, a blogger (her real name was not used since revealing her identity might put her in danger). She claims that religion, specifically Islam, is taught to children from an early age. She said that youngsters are brainwashed based on the Qur'an teachings. "This is like a virus, it just spreads, unless you have a vaccine or medicine," she added. Aisha believes that adequate education is the only cure.

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Hossain Toufique Imam is Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina's advisor. Bangladesh, he claims, is pretty much entirely a Muslim country. Some Muslims are fanatical or devout, so when someone contradicts the Quran or talks ill about Prophet Mohammed's life, these people become enraged and lose their composure, which is why numerous bloggers have been assassinated by such extremists since they went against the majority.

Islam, according to Mufti Fayezullah, a mosque instructor, is a moderate and liberal faith. He laments the fact that Muslims are unfairly blamed for actions of bigotry whereas people from various religious backgrounds are not. He portrayed himself as a mediator, but he has a darker side, as evidenced by a documentary showing him for the murder of a minister who dared to criticize Muslims' yearly pilgrimage to Mecca.

Overall, the documentary looks into the realities of daily living in Bangladesh and speculates on what the future may bring. It indicates that the country attempting to combine democracy with Islam is finding it more difficult to achieve a balance. The assassination of secular bloggers and the continued limitation of democratic liberties in Bangladesh demonstrate how this delicate balancing act is wobbling on the brink of collapse.



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