As a nation and a society we need to get one thing straight.
It is never acceptable to kill or physically attack someone just because you do not like the way they think.
But that is just what happened to Professor Muhuammad Zafar Iqbal when he was attacked by a wild-eyed fanatic who claimed the eminent academic and author was an “enemy of Islam.”
First, such an assessment of Professor Iqbal is utterly unwarranted, and speaks only to the ignorance of his assailant.
But let us make no mistake: What Professor Iqbal’s views and opinions may or may not be is beside the point.
It is never acceptable to attack someone who thinks differently from you. Full stop.
And this is something that we as a society need to internalize.
There can be no equivocation, no justification, no rationalization.
A basic premise of a decent society is that no one need fear attack for his or her thoughts or beliefs.
If we cannot guaranty this one basic principle, then we have no business thinking of ourselves as a civilized country.
Attacks of this nature should have no place in Bangladesh, and this is something about which there cannot be any question or doubt.
From the attack on Humayun Azad to the murder of Avijit Roy, to the series of killings of bloggers, journalists, and authors, it is clear that there is a deep sickness in our society that we need to fix.
We have the right to dislike what someone else has to say. We have the right to challenge their words with our words. But that is where it ends.
No one has the right to play judge, jury, and executioner.
And this is something that needs to be understood and taught in every household, every school, and every village in the country.