Hefazat-e-Islam crossed all lines of decency when it carried out unprovoked and even malicious attacks on several women. During their grand rally on Saturday, Hefazat members not only prevented women from entering the rally area, they assaulted several female journalists who were merely trying to go to work and do their jobs. Not even a group of garbage collectors, who were only trying to earn their daily bread, escaped the wrath of Hefazat.
In Bijoynagar, the Hefazat activists threw brickbats and water bottles at Ekushey TV reporter Nadia Sharmin, stole her mobile and handbag, and then beat her up. Even after making her escape and taking shelter in a car, she was pursued and the car vandalised. Arafat Ara, a reporter with the Financial Express, was stopped from going to her office in Paltan merely because she was not wearing a scarf. A day earlier, Mohona TV chief reporter Sumi Khan had also been stopped en route to work.
This is offensive and unacceptable, and, equally to the point, un-Islamic. Women have worked hard and made great strides to move Bangladesh forward, and their efforts should be commended. Yet, the Hefazat activists don’t even understand that much. In fact, they don’t care. They claim to be followers of Islam, a religion that teaches peace, tolerance and respect for all, whether they are believers or not, yet they go out of their way to harass, attack, and even rob women. This is so far off from the tenets of Islam, it’s outrageous.
Now, there are many conservative Muslims in our country who are worried that their Islamic way of life is under attack, and they have a right to voice their concerns. Be that as it may, this hardly means they have the right to disrespect and assault women. It’s un-Islamic and absolutely non-negotiable.