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ISLAMIC TERROR IN BANGLADESH

By Mr. Sona Kanti Barua

Peace loving people all over the world will have been shocked upon reading the news on “Militant threatens to bomb Western missions in Dhaka” in newspapers of dated 1st December 2005. Bangladesh is becoming home to alarmingly high profile bombing, shootings and killings. In the name of Islam the Muslim militant threatened to blow up the British High Commission and other Western missions. Two judges were killed in a bomb attack as they traveled to court in southern Bangladesh last month. Even after the infamous Osama Bin Laden and his Al Quida gang subsequently owned up to the crime in Bangladesh, the leaders of these parties including Jamaitul Mujahadeen’s vernacular Bangla print media controlled by them robustly kept on accusing the US led coalition against terrorism of wrongly making them responsible for it. Few years ago they also saw to it that photograph of Osama Bin Laden of various sizes were sold openly in Dhaka markets like hot cakes. Leaflets purportedly left by the militant group at some blast sites called for the establishment of the Islamic Sharia law in Bangladesh.

There is a burning example of present Bangladesh Government running with the hare while chasing with the hound. Unfortunately, present government’s (of 2005), involvement in the Islamic militancy is increasing day after day. Bangladesh government’s involvement pressures on the Police not to arrest Jamaitul Mujaheedin’s (JM) terrorists and activists at request of Jamat Islamic leaders, point to grand design of the Four Party Alliance to give free hand to the Islamic militants even as the administration goes through the motions of an anti-militant drive.

According to the historical backgrounds, in 19th century the Bangladesh Social Enlightenment was a movement of intellectuals, journalists, poets, thinkers, writers, and scientists who believed that science could explain everything in nature. Until then, Bangla people believed that God controlled the universe in a metaphysical manner. People had freedoms of speech and religion, and Bangla press would be allowed to print any true statement. In 1972 the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh provided for a government where nobody was above the law. Unfortunately, bloodthirsty Razakars and terrorists use Islam as the weapon in attempting to reach their goals by killing judges, intellectuals, journalists, writers, poets, men and women. The Razakar’s Jamati Islami political Party and the Islamic Jamaitul Mujaheedin terrorist group made the “Reign of Terror” are two episodes of Bangladesh history that remind us again to think about Bangladesh Social Enlightenment. It is also most remarkable that Dhaka, 31 August 2005, in a landmark Judgment, the High Court in Dhaka declared all past army takeovers of the country illegal, accusing the former military rulers ( including General Ziaur Rahman founder of ruling Bangladesh National Party and husband of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia ) of gross violation of the Bangladesh Constitution. Muslim terrorists have been killing Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and all non-Muslims. They declared that Bangladesh is only for Muslims.

But holy Qur’an declared, “You can’t abuse other religion. (6 : 106). Even the Qur’an warned, “No religious place should be demolished. (22 : 38).”  So the religion of Islam’s humanity has nothing to do with terrorism. “Allah commands justice, the doing of good and the giving to the kindred, and he forbids all indecent deeds and injustice and rebellion. He instructed you that you might receive admonition.” (16 : 90). Militant Islam hijacked universal Islam to satisfy their greed and negative emotions. Existence of God indicates in their violent activities.  History taught us non-violence is the supreme religion. Concerning secular ideas Prophet Mohammad declared in his last sermon, “There is neither superiority for an Arab over a non- Arab, nor for a non-Arab over an Arab.”

August 17, 2005 Bangladesh terrorized as extremists set off 500 bombs. Why would anyone want to kill people and bomb a country where Bangladesh fertile soil is rich in mineral resources, but the Islamic preachers oppresses the people in the name of the misunderstood Islamic group of Jamaatul Mujahideen. The Islamic fundamentalists want to portray Bangladesh as a fundamentalist country to tarnish the country’s image. Buddhists all over the world have been shocked upon reading the news of the Borobudur bombing of Indonesia in January 1985. The terrorist Taliban regime destroyed two historic giant Buddha statues, one measuring 53 metres and the second one 48 metres in central Bamiyan province of Afghanistan in March, 2001. Hindu, Buddhist and Christian’s women narrates the harrowing tale of being raped by the Islamic Extremists. There is an alarming rise of Islamic extremism and the exponential increase in ethnic and religious minority cleansing in Bangladesh. Armed gang slays Hindu, Buddhist and Christian monks, nuns and community leaders in Bangladesh. During the 10th and 11th centuries, Buddhism in South Asia was eclipsed by Islamic terrorists while political turmoil and war wiped out Buddhist universities and communities.  But man’s strength lies in mercy and compassion. Hatred never ceases through hatred; overcome hatred by love and compassion. This is the Buddha’s way of universal peace. Lord Buddha condemned violence against others in any form whatsoever. Man biologically is one species. Good and bad qualities are not the monopoly of one class or religion. As human beings, we have to protest against the terrorism in Bangladesh.

Now there is no rule of law in Bangladesh. But Bangla language was started from the Buddhist studies and the Buddhist Mystic songs of the Charyapada. Bangladesh was the land of Buddhist Pala kings and Hindu Sen Kings. Muslims took over the land by force and made it “reign of terror.”  August 17, 2005, Bangladesh nation’s worst fears came true when the day the Bangladesh nation shook of bomb explosions at some 500 spots across 63 districts within a span of 30 minutes began to unfold and terrorized by the Jamiat-ul Mujahideen of Bangladesh, an Islamic extremist organization. The violation of human rights in Bangladesh is directly linked to the rise of militant Islam. The Islamic fundamentalist’s elements which actively opposed the creation of independent People’s Republic of Bangladesh; failing to thwart  the inevitable victory despite their collaboration with occupying Pakistan forces in the Bangladesh independence war, have concocted a long term, multi pronged plan to make Bangladesh a pure Islamic theocracy. Most civilized nations have already been victimized by the Islamic extremists.

The father of the nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated with his family and friends on August 15, 1975, in a military coup. The coup leaders were granted immunity from prosecution under an Indemnity Ordinance implanted immediately after the coup by the late President Khondakar Mushtaque Ahmed. It was later incorporated in the Islamic constitution by President Ziaur Rahman who allotting Buddhist Chakmas and tribal people’s land to the Muslim settlers and opened the political door to the Militant Islam. Since then military rulers ravished the Bangladesh constitution’s secularism in the most blatant way.  Dhaka’s Bangladesh Observer of August 30, 2005 reported the Bangladesh High Court’s verdict “Governments from August, 1975 to December 6, 1990 are illegal. High Court declares 5th Amendment of constitution and Martial Law Regulation no.Vll of 1977  is unconstitutional.” Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s husband Lt. General President Ziaur Rahman, his government and other Martial Law governments’ unconstitutional acts can not be validated by any subsequent acts or constitutional Amendments and should not be condoned.  Bangladesh High Court declared the supremacy of the Constitution in all circumstances. The court said that the constitution was the will of people. Liberty of secular thought is the life of the constitution.

Dhaka’s the Bengali daily newspaper “Ittefaq of  August 22, 2005 quoted a reliable source as saying that the groups planned to hit non-Muslim religious leaders to discredit the Bangladesh government internationally. As the accelerating rise of militant Islam in Bangladesh has resulted in a scary intensification of the state sponsored campaign of religious and ethnic minority persecution, which had started in the late 1940s by the Islamic nationalists. What was once minority persecution has now become a campaign of cleansing of non- Muslims.  Even successive governments have dispossessed the Chakma Buddhists and indigenous people of Chittagong Hilltracts and elsewhere of the ancestral land and dwelling houses by sending Muslim settlers accompanied by armed forces. Consequently, whereas the Bengali / Muslims represented only 3% of the population in 1947, today they represent more than 50% (Country Report on Human Rights Practices – 2001, US Department of State). “Allah loves not corruption. (Qur”an, 2 : 205)”  How Islam explains killing and slaughter of human beings as the Qur’an says, “Take not life, which Allah made sacred, except by way of justice and law; thus doth, He command you that ye may learn wisdom. (6 : 115).” Buddhists are a great nation. But some Bengali Muslims abused Buddhists and non-Muslims. Bangladesh Government must stop racial and religious discrimination against all religious minorities.

Islamic teachings taught us “Everything surrounding us manifests the power of God and His creation.” But in Bangladesh on November 19, 2003, eleven members of a Hindu family which included a 4 day old infant and 75 year old man of a Hindu family were burned alive by Muslim terrorists, who had come and carrying inflammable agent with them, and did not touch any of their assets, in Southern Sadhanpur under Bashkhali police station, Chittagong. There is an alarming rise of militant Islam and exponential increase in the state sponsored campaign of religious and ethnic cleansing Bangladesh. An overwhelming 98.68% of the rape victims are minority, and rapists happen to be the cadres of the ruling parties, particularly Bangladesh National Party. Particularly, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s government has used the armed forces and Muslims settlers to conduct massacres of Buddhist Chakmas and indigenous people and annihilated entire village in Chittagong Hilltracts. During her first tenure as the Prime Minister on April 10, 1992, her armed forces and Muslim settlers cordoned off the Buddhist Chakmas and tribal villages of Logong and systematically murdered thousands of people and burned down to the ground. When the situation is like this, there is a need to turn the problems fervor into yet another war spirit for restoring lost ground. Secularism and equal economic rights all have long taken leave of People’s Republic of Bangladesh system. Above the circumstances, Mr.Thomas T. Keating, a lawyer of New York wrote a letter on behalf of the International Committee for human Rights in Bangladesh, to Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia,  dated September 12, 2005, “Re: crimes against humanity – demand for independent inquiry. The foregoing gross violations of Human Rights by your government must stop forthwith. An independent, transparent, credible and impartial inquiry concerning these crimes against humanity should be commenced. Justice should include compensation to the victims, a trial of the perpetrators in a court of law and begin with an apology from your government. If such measures are not taken to satisfaction of my client, I will then initiate further national and international actions against you under civil, criminal and international law, in appropriate courts and tribunals.”

If Bangladesh Government does not follow the High Court’s Verdict, what people will do? People’s Republic of Bangladesh and its people’s hands is no less a mission than waging another war to get back to their original position. Their independence is truly in danger of being hijacked. It is not easy to reclaim their lost position because of certain national and international developments. They are aware of the political developments at the national level. But worldwide, the global fight against terrorism has brought them face to face with a new reality of 17/ 8 the day the Bangladesh nation shook. So it is incumbent on us to decide national priorities. To do that the first condition is to forge unity among the liberal and secular forces. They must earn the confidence of the people to bring about desirable changes. Only then people will be able to truly contribute to the national well being and independence will be meaningful in the true sense of the term.

Islamic militant don’t realize humanity. They don’t recognize all human beings are endowed with the inalienable dignities of equality and uniqueness which makes each of us precious beyond measure. They have to learn that we are governed by our compassion for each other, our humanity and common family.

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Mr. S. K. Barua  is a writer, author & former World Buddhists’  representative to U.N.



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