• Monday, Dec 06, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:45 am

ED: Remembering the values upon which we stand

  • Published at 10:50 pm October 17th, 2021
Photo: DHAKA TRIBUNE
Photo: DHAKA TRIBUNE

Protection must be extended to people of all faiths

Bangladesh is a nation built upon pluralistic values. For a long time, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and other communities have lived together peacefully, have worshipped side by side, and have extended the hand of friendship to each other. In theory at least, Bangladesh is a nation which embraces secular values, and protects the freedom of religion for all. 

In practice, though, we have been witnessing a much more unnerving reality, which communal violence spilling out at every turn. In recent times, we have seen people foment hatred and cause violence and chaos through spurious social media posts, and while some would blame technology for the spread of this hatred, the fact is, these methods are simply old wine in a new bottle. Communal hatred and intolerance is alive and well in our society, and on certain occasions, like we have seen in Comilla this Durga Puja, such intolerance raises its ugly head. 

We cannot -- we simply cannot -- let these destructive forces win. As a modern nation with freedom of religion built into its constitution, we have a solemn responsibility to protect all communities from violence. Furthermore, when it comes to religious sentiments, simply protecting the sentiments of the majority will not do: This protection must be extended to people of all faiths, otherwise they lose their meaning.

From villages being torched, to temples being vandalized, we have seen it all in recent years, and there is no reason to continue to have illusions about the fundamentalist and extremist forces that wish to stomp on religious practices and festivities of others. It is up to the government to make it abundantly clear that such violence has absolutely no place in this country, and those to engage in or incite such violence will be punished to the fullest letter of the law. 

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