• Monday, Dec 17, 2018
  • Last Update : 03:44 am

Confusing words, real concerns

  • Published at 04:10 pm May 11th, 2016
  • Last updated at 04:16 pm June 14th, 2016
Confusing words, real concerns

Until recently, many quarters, especially the government, claimed that the targeted killings had been conducted in a planned manner to undermine the image of the country in the global arena.

But now that it is really happening, globally, Bangladesh is now labelled as a “blogger-killer country,” where terrorists are silencing free-thinkers with their “holy” machetes.

Here the government’s role has also been questioned, as it has failed to ensure safety and security for its citizens.

This is a glimpse of what the foreign media is talking about when it comes to us. Sometimes, conscious foreign friends ask me personally to know what actually is happening in Bangladesh, though they know the answer.

We can see how people with “alternative thoughts” are being killed one after another and how it is creating panic among the common people.

These killers are also identifying themselves in public after completing their missions, as per the eyewitnesses and the law enforcers.

On the other hand, the overall law and order implies that no one is safe anymore from the clutches of the invisible forces that are trying to grab power, taking people’s lives hostage. We can say so beyond any doubt because such attempts had been made in the past too.

In these circumstances, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made some comments during the Pohela Boishakh celebrations at her residence, and it has created grievances.

Many people have alleged that the premier’s statement would inspire the killers as she said her government would not shoulder responsibility for murders occurred because of writing against religion.

I went through the same report on several newspapers, but found only an online portal publishing her speech in detail while others published a part of the comments that they want to tell the readers. Here is a quote from her speech taken from an online newspaper:

“As a Muslim, I follow the religious guidelines regularly. I am hurt when someone writes about it. And why would you blame the government if anything awkward takes place because of that writing? Everyone should get rid of discourtesy and maintain self restraint and decency.”

About the people who kill in the name of religion, she said: “Killing people is not a solution. Someone will write something and someone else will kill him/her as a revenge -- it is not what Islam says. Allah said He will try them on the judgement day. Those who do not rely on Allah want to kill others. They do not follow Allah and the Prophet. They want to do the Allah’s task -- it is shirk.”

She also came down heavily on those who are propagating against the Pohela Boishakh celebrations. “I doubt whether they follow religious teachings. There are many festivals in our country. We celebrate Eid as well as Pohela Boishakh. There is no scope for obstructing someone from celebrating the festivals.

I do not know why they are opposing. People are trying to make many different comments on the issue. Some claim that it resembles Hindu culture. We live in Bangladesh even though we are Muslims. We are Bangali because we achieved independence through a war as Bangalis. There is no ground to say ‘you cannot be a Muslim if you are following Bangali culture.’ Where did you find it in the religion [Islam]?”

Describing the protests against the festival as “unfortunate,” the premier said: “It is unfortunate that different parties make different opinions. [Actually] everybody follows their own religious rites. We need to practice tolerance so that we can maintain peace in the country. Peace is the main concern. No progress can be made without a peaceful atmosphere. Peace prevails in the country now, for this, our GDP growth is increasing, the per capita income has risen, and this year, Pohela Boishakh is being observed at the rural level.”

About the teachings of Islam concerning tolerance, she said: “We practice our religions. Islam says that everyone will follow their own religious practices. It does not suggest attacking another religion. The Prophet has asked all not to cross the limit regarding religion.”

Does anyone still have any doubts that she cannot or did not instigate the machete-wielding killers? If not, let’s talk about it a little more.

Those who love debate can argue whether Bangladesh is a Muslim country or a secular one. We have to discuss the matter accepting the reality. Either Bangladesh has changed or, more specifically, it has been changed.

I mentioned it many times in the past that it would be unjust to expect a single political party to advocate for secularism or dream about a secular state, while the other parties keep trying to turn it into a Muslim country; when only the AL will continue supporting liberals and, for this, invite blame on itself as a party of atheists. l

The concluding part of this long form will be published tomorrow. This article has been translated by Probir Bidhan.

Until recently, many quarters, especially the government, claimed that the targeted killings had been conducted in a planned manner to undermine the image of the country in the global arena. But now that it is really happening, Bangladesh is now labelled as a “blogger-killer country,” where terrorists are silencing free-thinkers with their “holy” machetes.

Here the government’s role has also been questioned, as it has failed to ensure safety and security for its citizens.

This is a glimpse of what the foreign media is talking about when it comes to us. Sometimes, conscious foreign friends ask me personally to know what actually is happening in Bangladesh, though they know the answer.

We can see how people with “alternative thoughts” are being killed one after another and how it is creating panic among the common people. These killers are also identifying themselves in public after completing their missions, as per the eyewitnesses and the law enforcers.

On the other hand, the overall law and order implies that no one is safe anymore from the clutches of the invisible forces that are trying to grab power, taking people’s lives hostage. We can say so beyond any doubt because such attempts had been made in the past too.

In these circumstances, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made some comments during the Pohela Boishakh celebrations at her residence, and it has created grievances. Many people have alleged that the premier’s statement would inspire the killers as she said her government would not shoulder responsibility for murders occurred because of writing against religion.

I went through the same report on several newspapers, but found only an online portal publishing her speech in detail while others published a part of the comments that they want to tell the readers. Here is a quote from her speech taken from an online newspaper:

“As a Muslim, I follow the religious guidelines regularly. I am hurt when someone writes about it. And why would you blame the government if anything awkward takes place because of that writing? Everyone should get rid of discourtesy and maintain self restraint and decency.”

About the people who kill in the name of religion, she said: “Killing people is not a solution. Someone will write something and someone else will kill him/her as a revenge -- it is not what Islam says. Allah said He will try them on the judgement day. Those who do not rely on Allah want to kill others. They do not follow Allah and the Prophet. They want to do the Allah’s task -- it is shirk.”

She also came down heavily on those who are propagating against the Pohela Boishakh celebrations. “I doubt whether they follow religious teachings. There are many festivals in our country. We celebrate Eid as well as Pohela Boishakh. There is no scope for obstructing someone from celebrating the festivals.

“I do not know why they are opposing. People are trying to make many different comments on the issue. Some claim that it resembles Hindu culture. We live in Bangladesh even though we are Muslims. We are Bangali because we achieved independence through a war as Bangalis. There is no ground to say ‘you cannot be a Muslim if you are following Bangali culture.’ Where did you find it in the religion [Islam]?”

Describing the protests against the festival as “unfortunate,” the premier said: “It is unfortunate that different parties make different opinions. [Actually] everybody follows their own religious rites. We need to practice tolerance so that we can maintain peace in the country. Peace is the main concern. No progress can be made without a peaceful atmosphere. Peace prevails in the country now, for this, our GDP growth is increasing, the per capita income has risen, and this year, Pohela Boishakh is being observed at the rural level.”

About the teachings of Islam concerning tolerance, she said: “We practice our religions. Islam says that everyone will follow their own religious practices. It does not suggest attacking another religion. The Prophet has asked all not to cross the limit regarding religion.”

Does anyone still have any doubts that she cannot or did not instigate the machete-wielding killers? If not, let’s talk about it a little more.

Those who love debate can argue whether Bangladesh is a Muslim country or a secular one. We have to discuss the matter accepting the reality. Either Bangladesh has changed or, more specifically, it has been changed.

I mentioned it many times in the past that it would be unjust to expect a single political party to advocate for secularism or dream about a secular state, while the other parties keep trying to turn it into a Muslim country; when only the AL will continue supporting liberals and, for this, invite blame on itself as a party of atheists.