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Minority report

  • Published at 12:01 am November 23rd, 2016
  • Last updated at 07:56 am November 23rd, 2016
Minority report

The world is not in a good place right now.

Minorities the world over seem to be under threat. They are under attack nearly everywhere, and are always the scapegoats in nearly every matter.

It’s as if the world is slowly rejecting minorities like an organism rejects a virus -- it is happening in the US and Canada, in India, in Myanmar, in Pakistan, in Bangladesh.

In the US, Donald Trump’s win as the next president is a great indicator of where the world is heading. During his campaign, Trump said that he would ensure a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US if he was elected.

Though he has since changed his words, it is still a matter of grave concern if a man who espouses such obviously biased perceptions against an entire group of people can get elected president.

In South Asia, minorities seem to be in an especially bad place, with reports of violence being perpetuated against minority groups making the front page every day.

A recent BBC report said that around 1,200 Hindus have migrated from Pakistan to India in the past five years.

Because of religious and cultural persecution and government apathy, Hindu boys and girls are forced to read the Holy Qur’an in Pakistani schools, and are treated as second-class citizens in their own country.

The newest group making headlines these days are the Rohingyas of Myanmar. The government of Myanmar seems hell-bent on not recognising the Rohingyas as their own

On the flipside, in India, Muslims are the ones at the receiving end of such oppression. There are laws in Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, which prohibit the slaughter of cows, which goes against the spirit of the Islamic cattle sacrifice.

The government in the state of Maharashtra -- where the Shiv Sena has drummed up anti-Muslim sentiments for years -- also recently imposed a ban on the trading of beef.

This will no doubt adversely affect impoverished Muslims working in the meat and leather industries.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In 1992, Hindu extremists demolished the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, which triggered widespread Hindu-Muslim violence.

The BJP and its affiliate organisations in the Hindu right have launched a concerted campaign against all religious minorities in India. Hate seems to be a recurring trend these days.

In Bangladesh, minorities are not exactly faring any better. The recent incidents in Brahmanbaria and Gaibandha showed that minority groups are being oppressed by both the state and certain groups of our society who live to hate.

In Gaibandha, two Santal men were killed by the Bangladesh police. The clash occurred because of a dispute over land ownership, which shows that greed is the main motive behind the majority of such attacks.

In many parts of the country, Hindu shrines have been attacked by groups of Muslims. In Brahmanbaria’s Nasirnagar, a group of Muslims vandalised and burned homes which belonged to the region’s Hindu community on October 30.

The conflict seemed to have stemmed from local politics.

The newest group making headlines these days are the Rohingyas of Myanmar. The government of Myanmar seems hell-bent on not recognising the Rohingyas as their own.

As such, the eruption of violence between the Rohingya and the country’s law enforcement has become a frequent thing.

Rohingya women are quite often subjected to sexual violence. According to the UN, around 30,000 people have become homeless, while the Human Rights Watch have said that about 1,250 homes have been burned down because of this endless struggle.

Facing such ethnic cleansing, the Rohingya often try and migrate into Bangladesh, but the Bangladesh government has so far denied such refuge.

The oppression of minorities is a global problem. Every culture is important for a peaceful and diverse world.

We should nurture all cultures within our society. We have to become human beings and foster human qualities by creating an inclusive society with the help of social integration and ensuring participation of all religious and ethnic communities, not just in Bangladesh, but in the whole world.

Abdullah Al Noman is a freelance contributor.