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Dhaka Tribune

Macron's visit: Activists demand action against hate speech towards Joler Gaan artists

  • Addressed them as enemies of Islam
  • Rahul’s drama in 2008
  • Hate campaign orchestrated against Rahul
Update : 14 Sep 2023, 04:04 PM

A barrage of racist vitriols and communal slurs surfaced on social media involving a much talked about interactive session involving eminent musician, actor and instrumentalist “Joler Gaan” frontman Rahul Anand and his wife, painter Urmila Shukla ostensibly after the French President Emmanuel Macron paid a visit at the house of the couple in Dhanmondi recently.

Calling Rahul and Macron both enemies of Islam, these “communal” and self-claimed “anti-government” Facebook posts also slammed the government for not bringing charges of “blasphemy” against Rahul.

In reference to an earlier drama where Rahul performed a role that they called “Anti-Islam”, the post further shed light on the decade back drama, staged in 2008, triggering protest by radical elements after Rahul played a role in the play.

Terming the time Macron spent with Rahul, those posts decried the meeting as a clear manifestation of “expansion of network of apostates” while Macron gifted Rahul a pen with his name embedded in it.

"President Macron asked me to open the gift and muttered in my ears that he himself uses this pen,” according to Rahul.

“Almost fifteen years after the drama staged by Rahul, Macron celebrated moments lasted for over 1 hour 40 minutes… can you imagine how far the network of apostates (kufri) is extended”, question was mentioned on the post.

“One global enemy of Islam who is leading the charge in disgracing our Prophet came and held meeting with another apostate with a singular objective of hailing anti-islamic work”, reads the post.

Moreover, these statuses come in stark contrast to a surge in acclamation and applause on social media and mainstream outlets with reports likes “music connected us both’, “Macron relishes music”, let alone a move hailed by netizens, musicians and cultural personalities.

According to media reports, “as unconventional as it sounds, Emmanuel Macron, deliberately asked for an invitation here and was welcomed as an old friend by the family”.

A look at the profile of those who shared the post revealed a deluge of posts slandered the government accusing of shutting down what they call “NGOS work against Islam”.

“AL hammered last nail in the coffin in stopping the spread of Islam” read a part of a post shared by another user who also shared that post on Macron graced the studio of Rahul.

A number of students from minority community called this attack as hate campaign orchestrated against Rahul for his religion while referring to a similar campaign run against Ahmediyyas from Jamaat backed Twitter handles months back.

Eminent journalist Ajoy Das Gupta, observed that BNP-Jamaat forces long been indulged in patronizing rabidly radical and communal elements who always seek to peddle such hatred whenever there find someone from minority promoting our deep-rooted syncretic culture.

Hailing the move by Macron to visit Anand’s place, the freedom fighter said such an extraordinary move is really aimed at winning hearts and minds, let alone a triumph for inclusivity and communal harmony, a key stepping stone for a brighter future.  

Prof Mizanur Rahman Khan, an eminent human rights activist said what a smear campaign! "What a hate speech! And they pretend to speak in the name of Islam- the religion of peace and tolerance! Such hate speech goes against the fundamental postulate of our Liberation War- namely, secularism, not in the sense of exclusion of religions but in the progressive sense of freedom to worship God in one’s own way everywhere in the world. "

He said such hate speech must be stopped immediately and the authorities must be agile against all hate mongers! In a contrary situation Bangladesh loses its ‘soul’!

Calling these hate campaign, Nirmol Rozario, president of Bangladesh Christian Association, likened this campaign as a classic case of “backward minded” and clearly expose an ardent communal mindset of these campaigners unlashed against minorities for a long time, let alone an affront to the core tenants of liberation war values.

“Those vigorously advocate for upholding human rights from western countries should also raise their voices while at times we came across efforts in defence of these communal forces”, added Nirmal.

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