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Born as a secular state; Why Bangladesh is degenerating into an Islamic country

Taslima Nasreen spoke on Islamization of Bangladesh

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Sheikh Hasina with David Cameron Image: Wikimedia Commons

The partition of India and Pakistan resulted in hundreds of thousands of people losing their lives. After this chaos; disturbances emerged between East Pakistan and West Pakistan again leading to the further division of Pakistan and Bangladesh with thousands of bloodsheds. While India emerged as a secular state and a multi-religious nation, Pakistan and Bangladesh witnessed gradual Islamization of the societies. Although, Bangladesh was born as a secular country but now it is gradually transforming itself into an Islamic state and this can be proved with the fact that in 1947, the Hindus population was around 31% which has now tumbled to just 8%.

India is a secular state providing every citizen the basic human rights including the right to speech. Unlike India, atheist bloggers, critics of Islam and intellectuals are being killed in       Bangladesh. And surprisingly, not even one killer has been punished yet.

Taslima Nasreen Image: Wikimedia Commons
Taslima Nasreen Image: Wikimedia Commons

 

Taslima Nasreen is a renowned writer and a secular humanist and human rights activist who has won hearts of many people with her powerful writings on women oppression and unflinching criticism of religion. A senior assistant editor with Times of India, Aarti Tikoo Singh, spoke to Taslima Nasreen about a hardliner-politician nexus murdering free thinkers in Bangladesh, religious violence in Pakistan, secularism in India – and India’s liberals.

 

Here are the excerpts and the highlights of the Interview:

People of religious minorities in Bangladesh are not only facing discrimination but also many of them are killed and tortured. Talking about those killings in Bangladesh, Taslima said, “Jihadists have been silencing or threatening voices of sanity because democracy and pluralism are anathema to them. All they want is to establish a theocracy. They want to create Darul Islam, the land of Islam in Bangladesh. They want no law but Sharia, no women’s rights, and no freedom of speech. They want group loyalty perforce, which has no space for freedom of thought.”

She told that there are around 148 jihadi training camps in Bangladesh and also, the jihadis are financially advocated and encouraged by Jamat-e-Islami, 132 Islamic terrorist organizations including Ansarullah Bangla team and 231 fundamentalist institutions including ‘Islami bank’.

“In the last 40 years, almost 40 thousand crores takas have been used for the military training of Jihadists in Bangladesh. It is only 20% of total profits that was earned from the Islamic fundamentalists’ economy. It is well established that the Islami bank has been financing terrorism”, she said.

She orated about the conditions of Hindus in Bangladesh and notified that they are being harassed and oppressed in a way not even Pakistan does. Hindus can expect at least some justice in Pakistan but not in Bangladesh as it has become a safe haven for Islamists. Hindu girls are being raped, and the lands owned by Hindus are forcibly taken by Hindu-hating Muslims. Hindus are frequently told to leave the country.

Taslima told Aarti, “Even Syria and Iraq are not as accommodating of Islamic fanatics as Bangladesh. No air raid or drone attacks disturb Bangladeshi jihadists. The government of Bangladesh is providing them with protection and has warned atheists and free thinker bloggers to quit writing about atheism and secularism and stop hurting religious feelings. Atheists are getting arrested under 57 ICT acts, a new law which was created to fight free thought”.

When asked about the actions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina against these religious fundamentalists, she said, “Instead of proclaiming she is actually a secular person, she says she is a deeply religious person. There is a competition among political leaders as to who is more religious. Politicians use religion to get votes from the ignorant masses. Sheikh Hasina created the Ulema League in her party, the Awami League. The Ulema League is the organization of Islamic fundamentalists. Members of this organization are not different from the Jamat-e-Islami goons. They support the killing of freethinkers and atheist bloggers in the country”.

She Opined on Indian Liberals by saying that she has always been critical of far right politics and also of Indian liberals and leftists. She said that Islamic fanatics are against human rights, women’s rights, free speech and democracy and hence they have distorted the concept of secularism and equality.

Related Article: Islamic State claims the beheading of Bangladeshi Hindu priest

Confronting the statement that criticism of religion is unnecessarily provoking even moderate religionists to take hardliner positions, she said, “Freethinkers, rationalists, atheists, humanists are a minority in most societies. Moderate religionists do not need criticism of religion to become hardliners. They have political reasons to become hardliners. Criticism of religion should hopefully provoke people to think rationally and give up irrational blind faith. We must not forget that without criticism of religion no society has evolved and no state becomes secular. Critical scrutiny of religion is necessary for a healthy society. No religion should be protected from critical scrutiny, from questioning unethical aspects of its doctrines. Criticism encourages people to become secular humanists.

Hardliners have been killing atheists and rationalists in Bangladesh. They became hardliners because they were indoctrinated with Islam from a very early age, and they sorely need to be exposed to a rational and tolerant worldview”.

Prepared By Pashchiema Bhatia. Twitter: @pashchiema

 

 

1 COMMENT

  1. It is clear that Countries such as Pakistan and China are using are using Bangladesh as a medium to infiltrate into INDIA and in order to spoil its cultural harmony. That will automatically disturb the stability of Bangladesh. No matter what but this whole concept of transitivity possesses some serious threat to our nation.

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Supreme Court of India to Announce Triple Talaq Case Verdict Today

The verdict will determine if Islam can enforce triple talaq as fundamental to the practice of religion

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Triple Talaq
Supreme Court is set to announce the verdict on triple talaq. Wikimedia
  • The Supreme Court will announce its verdict on triple talaq in India on Tuesday
  • Chief Justice JS Khehar heads the constitution bench of the jury
  • It will determine if triple talaq is fundamental to Muslim religion or not

New Delhi, August 22, 2017: The Supreme Court of India is set to announce its verdict on the triple talaq case that has gripped the nation since past few months.

The verdict is said to be a historic decision and will decide if the practice of triple talaq is fundamental to the Islamic religion.

Chief Justice JS Khehar heads the bench that comprises of five judges. After six days of the hearing, the bench had held its verdict on May 18. The verdict will determine if Islam can enforce triple talaq as fundamental to the practice of religion.

Other esteemed names in the jury include R F Nariman, Kurian Joseph, S Abdul Nazeer and U U Lalit. All the five justices come from different religious backgrounds.

ALSO READ: Muslim Law of Divorce ‘Triple Talaq’ is Sinful and Undesirable but can be permissible if not misused, AIMPLB tells Supreme Court

Among the petitioners are Muslim women who label triple talaq as simply unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court had already acknowledged during the hearing that triple talaq as a way of ending the marriage was “not a desirable” form.

Many legal experts have raised their voice against the Islamic practice, including the likes of Ram Jethmalani.

Other experts on the other hand, like Kapil Sibal, claim that the basis on which the practice is founded is the faith which cannot be simply changed.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2394


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Exclusive: Interview with Shafi Burfat, JSMM Chairman fighting for Sindh separation

Shiva is the shakti of Sindh and Sufi is the faith, says Safi Burfat of JSSM

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Perspective |Standpoint | Approach

These words can stand dull on a piece of paper but they hold more meaning than they are credited for. There’s a fine line between understanding and agreeing. You may not agree with somebody’s take on things but if you’ve never really looked from his point of view, climbed under his skin and walked around in it, you will never understand his opinions.

My interview (Reporter Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram) with Shafi Burfat has a lot to do with this perception. Shafi Muhammad Burfat is the chairman of Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz, founder of a separatist and liberal political party, a leader, an activist and a man with an imposed ban stamped on his name for his alleged separatist’s actions against Pakistan.

The nationalist leader has formed the group for one sole motive- freedom of his beloved Sindh. He’s been fighting for the cause actively since 2000 and seems to have left no stone unturned in this struggle.

faq-qutions-3

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Buttoned up collar and a stack of books in the background; a set up in Germany complementing his strong persona, our Skype interview began with answering the What if’s. When questioned about Sindh, without catching his breath, there was a full outcry against the August 15, 1947, separation.

Shafi Burfat: There should have been no separation based on religion in the first place. It was a mistake committed by the then Indian political leadership, a blunder for which we are still suffering. In my opinion, history betrayed us; a Modi should have been born in place of Gandhi ji to stop this unnatural division. A division even the Hindu- Muslims stood strongly against. Secondly, Jinnah, he was no leader, he was a servant of the British headship and this division was a conspiracy where he was used as a pawn by the Britishers to act their will. The man didn’t see the walls of a jail for an hour and in return, he made a new country! 

In midst of the controversial statements thrown now and again, there was nothing that broke some ground. The leader of the JSMM party (an organisation termed as a terrorist group like the many other independent fervent groups formed in Pakistan) agreed with brotherhood and detested the separation. Narrowing down to Sindhi’s, Sindhudesh and their secular fight against the regime, he adds.

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Shafi Burfat: We hold no difference between a Hindu and a Muslim because we aren’t either of the two. We are Sindhi’s. Our Sindhudesh was surviving as a free nation since thousands of years and then came the division that strangled us with a noose around our necks. Many Indians won’t know this but it’s a fact that many of the ancient Vedas and scripts like the Rigveda were written near the banks of the Sindhu River. Such was the nature of our country but today there are extra-judicial killings of Sindhi Political Activists. We are a different sect; freedom is our right and ‘hum wo leke rahenge.’ (No one can deny us our freedom). 

At the expensive of coming across as a man with evident animosity towards Pakistan to support his fervor and passion for a single political cause, he expressed his repulsion.

Shafi Burfat: Pakistan today, after 1971 (referring to the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War) is not the Jinnah regime Pakistan or simply the country Pakistan. It’s a capture; capture of two things. There are the G3 guns of Punjab force on one side and on the other side there are Mullah’s with fatwa’s who only know how to shed blood in the name of humanity. JSMM is against Pakistan politically and historically due to its badge of terrorism.

Every leader has his own perception about his struggle and the future of it. In this case, the Sindh movement, which has been a matter of great concern in Pakistan for last 45 years, is perceived to be the next Balochistan in the eyes of media. Sharif Burfat puts his vision in words.

Shafi Burfat: Modi’s recent speeches in favor of the Balochistan conflict compels me to convey my message to all your readers, Indian media, to the intellects, political leaders and policy makers of India. Give Sindh the political and moral support it needs, establish Sindh as a separate entity and we’ll do the breaking. There is no need for an external force, no need for military intervention by India to do the striking. Adding to that, years back G.M.Syed during his India tour and then during the Geneva conference too had warned the Indian political leadership against radical Islamists and asked for a separate national identity for Sindh. The then Indian leaders, I assume didn’t grasp his words till the time the Mumbai attacks took place, it’s only now that they have woken up. Therefore, I say that ideologically we have already defeated Pakistan; it’s the political support we ask for. 

Protests against CPEC.
Protests against CPEC (China-Pak Economic Corridor)

A lot of readers will not stand in vein with his fanatics and hold opinions that will state otherwise. But Perspective. Wikipedia doesn’t always nail it right but it defines perspective correctly, one’s personal opinion about an issue. Sharif Burfat continues to spread his message regionally and internationally through various media outlets and social networking sites.

Currently, he’s fighting against CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), the $46-billion project that displaces thousands of people without a proper plan of rehabilitation or providing any compensation. He considers Sindh and Hind to be a single unit (while referring to the Indian national anthem) and looks forward to receiving equal support for JSMM’s struggle for Sindhudesh as one sees for Balochistan.

Interviewed by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

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If Hillary Clinton wins, it may be Gold for Zakir Naik via Saudi Arabia route

Dr Naik has fallen on bad days because the West and their clients like Saudi Arabia have badly bungled in Syria

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Dr. Zakir Naik. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

August 27, 2016: The Islamic evangelist Zakir Naik with rock star ratings, could be only temporarily in trouble. Come November and he may be able to find apologists in the NDA government.

What has the month of November got to do with the government? Because, like the rest of the world, New Delhi is waiting for the outcome of the US elections. A Hillary Clinton victory will end the nail biting suspense globally, and in Israel and Saudi Arabia, there may be celebrations. Naik’s patrons in Saudi Arabia are perhaps low today, but they could bounce back with a Clinton victory.

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The Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and The Clinton Foundation have another link: considerable sums for their respective Foundations have come from Saudi Arabia.

Naik has been officially in the business of evangelism since 1991 when IRF was established. That year Manmohan Singh’s New Economic Policies brought New Delhi in line with the US. George Bush Sr was the President. The Bush family’s extraordinary interests in Saudi Arabia continued during the Clinton years.

King of Saudi (King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud) and Dr Zakir Naik. Image source: IRF
King of Saudi (King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud) and Dr Zakir Naik. Image source: IRF

An economically “reformed” New Delhi looked at Washington for almost every foreign policy lead. Since the Saudis could do no wrong in US eyes, New Delhi adopted the same public stance towards Riyadh. Zakir Naik preached in the Salafi-Wahabi idiom, favoured by the House of Saud. Little wonder, successive Indian Prime Ministers were advised to look the other way.

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During days of breathless adoration for the US, particularly when the nuclear deal was being negotiated, what registered in South Block was an unstated message from Washington: tolerate Saudi Arabia and its interests. Zakir Naik had Saudi protection. Therefore, his evangelism was acceptable to India for the past 25 years. Wahabism-Salafism was kosher when, on cue, New Delhi was voting against Iran in Vienna.

Naik has fallen on bad days because the West and their clients like Saudi Arabia have badly bungled in Syria. Jointly and singly they financed and armed all manner of extremist groups. Their search for a “moderate opposition” remained a pipe dream.

The blowback from the Syrian, Libyan (earlier Iraqi and Afghan misadventures) continued to plague the Saudis. Ultimately, to run away from themselves, they leapt into the bubbling Yemen cauldron.

Destroyed countries and civilizations created a migration problem, an Exodus of Biblical proportions, causing Europe to shuffle out of its old coil. Two party political structures, secured a long time ago, began to crumble.

As if all of this were not unsettling enough, the Americans have just come up with an unconvincing Republican nominee for President and a Democratic nominee who is by her own admission “unloved”. Even The Economist, that pillar of the Western liberal establishment, has pulled out from the dictionary adjectives of an extreme nature to describe Hillary Clinton: “dishonest”, “untrustworthy”.

In brief, the West has its own crises to worry about. The Saudis had already come down a notch or two when the Iranian nuclear deal was signed. And now, the mess in Europe and the US has pushed Saudis away from the West’s attention radar.

New Delhi, which keeps a steady gaze on Washington and its changing moods, has shrewdly noticed Riyadh’s fall from grace. Naik can now be taken to task. The change of heart on the evangelist also signals something important: New Delhi now feels secure in the thought that Sufism and mild Hanafi Sunnism most characterize Indian Muslims. Wahabism-Salafism is remote from the wider Islamic practice among India’s Sunnis.

Hillary Clinton. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Hillary Clinton. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Riyadh may be down, but it would be premature to count it out. After all, should Hillary Clinton enter the White House, who knows what might she not do for “Israel’s security”. Her email released by Wikileaks confirmed that the Obama administration had deliberately provoked the civil war in Syria as “the best way to help Israel”.

In an earlier email, she said: “The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”

“Overthrowing Bashar Assad” was the one point theme former Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan had been instructed by the late King Abdullah to pursue. Typical of Prince Bandar’s style of diplomacy, he turned up at the Kremlin on a secret mission. He promised Putin a “terror-free” Sochi Olympic games if only he could have Assad’s head on a platter. Bandar was sidelined because he could not deliver on Syria.

So long as the Israeli military point of view is part of Western strategic thinking, a regime change in Damascus must re-surface as a Washington priority, should Hillary Clinton win.

Such an operation would require coordination with the Saudis as well. In other words, the current nosedive in Saudi saliency maybe quite as dramatically arrested. Zakir Naik’s protectors in Riyadh may yet be able to stiffen their sinews and summon up the blood. Good for Naik. Also, Delhi will then have to place Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s concerns in the balance. Apparently, Naik’s evangelical mesmerism is causing concerns in Dhaka where acts of terror have picked up in frequency, allegedly influenced by his eloquence. (IANS)

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