Quantcast

«

»

Mar 03 2013

Secular Uprising in Bangladesh

Why I support Shahbag!

Having keenly observed the Tahrir Square revolution and the eventual victory of Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists in Egypt, I no longer get easily impressed by crowd-sourced movements. A multitude of activists, connected primarily via Facebook, as well as progressive bloggers had gathered on Bangladesh streets demanding death penalty for a war criminal called Abdul Kader Mollah. As a campaigner against the death penalty, I could not support these protesters in this particular demand of theirs.

bd7

Most people protesting at Shahbag and demanding the death penalty for Mollah were born after the 1971 war following which East Pakistan gained independence from Pakistan, forming the nation of Bangladesh. However — thanks to secular writers and artists, who strove to keep aflame the emotions and perceptions associated with the ‘71 war, through books, plays, films and performances — these protesters are by no means ignorant about the genocide carried out during the war by the Pakistan Army, along with local religious militias affiliated with the Islamist outfit, Jamaat-e-Islami. After Islamization started in earnest in Bangladesh during the mid ’80s, many of these protesters have also witnessed how Islamists murdered progressive people, violated people’s human rights, oppressed women, and tortured non-Muslims in the name of Islam. After decades of maintaining silence, their patience has worn thin; they have finally started to rise in rebellion against the status quo. As more people joined the crowd, they have started demanding death penalty for all tried and convicted war criminals.
A Bangladesh tribunal recently sentenced Abdul Kader Mollah, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, to life imprisonment for his war crimes, but the Shahbag crowd could not be happy with this verdict. Based on previous experience, they are apprehensive that Mollah would be released if the political party-in-opposition, a known ally of Jamaat-e-Islami, were to win the next election.

It is important to remember that in present Bangladesh, not all Islamists are war criminals; however, all war criminals are Islamists – who, at one time, did not want the separation from Pakistan, a country based on Islam. The Shahbag movement gained interest for me when some protesters started demanding a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, as well as on all the religious schools, banks, clinics and other amenities that were created with money collected from Middle Eastern Islamists, whose express desire was to turn the erstwhile-secular Bangladesh into a country of Islamists.

bd8

Those who are familiar with my writings know that I am not in favor of banning and censorship, in general. Yet, I supported banning Jamaat-e-Islami, because in Bangladesh this political party is nothing more than a terrorist organization, led by known war criminals who raped, maimed and killed people by the thousands in 1971. On top of that, in the last 40 years, they have been committing an even more serious crime by systematically destroying the country via Islamization. And yet, perhaps driven by the necessities of realpolitik, they have been pardoned, favored, accorded respect, honored, and empowered by the worthless politicians and military since the Bangladesh gained its Freedom. Some of these war criminal Islamists, who were stoutly against the independence of this nation, were made into Members of the Parliament, ministers, and once even a President of the independent Bangladesh.

The inequities of Jamaat-e-Islami did not end with Mollah’s life imprisonment sentence. Delawar Hossain Sayedee, one of the most notorious criminals belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami, was handed a death sentence by the tribunal, after almost a month of non-stop protests at Shahbag. After the verdict was issued, Sayedee’s Islamist followers vandalized cities, burned down Hindu and Buddhist temples, killed innocent people, along with policemen. There is no doubt that in today’s Bangladesh, the Islamists are much more powerful and ferocious than ever.

bangladesh

The Islamists have gained unbelievable strength in Bangladesh over the years. They have been showing off their strength by harassing, abusing, stabbing and murdering anyone who rose in dissent against their atrocities, including progressive bloggers. They stabbed Asif Mohiuddin, an atheist blogger, a month ago; in the recent past, they brutally killed Rajib Haider, another atheist blogger and one of the organizers of the Shahbag movement.

Islamists have also taken to the tactic of calling all the bloggers and protesters at Shahbag ‘atheists’. This has discomfited and scared the folks at Shahbag; most of them are Muslims, and they had cast their lot with the Shahbag crowd with no bigger-and-better agenda than merely to ask for the hanging of war criminals, perhaps because they sought closure via revenge. Now that the Islamists have called them atheists (that dirty, dirty word!), many of them are now falling over themselves trying to prove they are pious Muslims. Therefore, instead of saying, “They are atheists and have the right to criticize religion, but no one has the right to kill them, just like no one has the right to kill religious people for being religious!”, the so-called liberal and secular people at Shahbag are bleating placatory statements, such as “Jamaat-e-Islami goons are trying to prove that bloggers are atheists, but they are not atheists; they are good people.” As if atheists are not good people!

People attend mass demonstration at Shahbagh intersection, in Dhaka

It is very alarming that the word ‘atheist’ is being considered as a filthy, obscene word in Bangladesh, and the liberal people refrain from doing anything in support of the freedom of expression of atheists. They must know that Islam should not be exempt from the critical scrutiny that applies to other religions as well; in their mind, they must understand that Islam has to go through an enlightenment process similar to what other world religions have already gone through, by questioning the inhuman, unequal, unscientific and irrational aspects of religion. If the Shahbag movement can’t make people understand this simple but necessary idea, then real change would never occur, even if all the war criminals are hanged. I know that even the atheists at Shahbag would say, the time for this idea has not arrived yet. However, I earnestly hope that people would soon evolve, and be enlightened enough to realize that there is no real difference between the Islam of the 7th century and the Islam Jamaat-e-Islami practices to this day.

Sadly, the very nature of Bangladesh has changed greatly. Ordinary people have been alarmingly indoctrinated into the ways of Islamists. Many more women are veiled, and more men go to mosques to pray, than ever before. I lost the hopes I had for Bangladesh many years ago, but some of those were rekindled by the Shahbag movement. I truly hope that the Shahbag movement will turn into a positive political movement for a true democracy and a secular state – a state which affirms a strict separation between religion and state, and maintains a uniform civil code, a set of secular laws that are not based on religion, but instead, on equality, and an education system that is secular, scientific, and enlightened.

bd2
A war is needed in Bangladesh, a war between two diametrically opposite ideas — secularism and fundamentalism; between rational, logical thinking and irrational blind faith; between those who strive to move forward and those who strain to push themselves backward; a war between modernism and barbarism, humanism and Islamism; between innovation and tradition, future and past; between those who value freedom and those who do not.

Let us encourage people of Bangladesh to transmute their nation into a secular country without poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, superstitions — free of religionism, fanaticism, fascism, barbarism; a country without crimes and corruption!

All sane and secular people should support the Shahbag movement, because it is a rare and immensely difficult movement in an Islamized country. I am not sure whether they will eventually manage to have Jamaat-e-Islami proscribed, particularly because the Bangladesh government is likely to be afraid of losing the considerable financial support that come from the Islamic countries. Western support may not be forthcoming, because not many Western secular countries are interested in Bangladesh, often seen as a nation stuck in a quagmire of over-population, poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance. Once a thriving community of vivacious, affectionate, creative people, this unfortunate country is now drowning in Islamism and may soon be submerged in the Indian ocean.

I also hope that if the Shahbag movement, in its present form, fails to achieve its goals now, the brave and enlightened people associated with it will not be permanently disillusioned or disheartened, and will renew/repeat their efforts until their dreams come true. A trend must be set. People need to get angry. I am painfully aware of the evil powers which once attempted to eliminate me, and with whom the pro-Islamist government ultimately colluded to throw me out of Bangladesh, my own country, 20 years ago, never to allow me in again. Therefore, I know how much I would love to see hundreds of thousands of angry, passionate young people with a vision rise against that insanity, and usher in real change, a new era.

27 comments

1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Incognito_can

    this is complete bullshit..excuse my language..how does the Religion of Islam have anything to do with crimes committed by men in the 70′s.? Why are u forbidding the rights of people to practice their religion? Islamization? so if people accept Islam from their own will.. then its obviously not being of force…ur saying that the religion is to blame for independent crimes? If uneducated and ignorant people like you run the countries..nothing but bad will come out of it.

  2. 2
    RW Ahrens

    Incognito_can, your comment is bullshit. Nasleen has said none of what you accused her, you are building a straw man.

    Islam is in question regarding the crimes in the 70′s because the men who committed them were muslim and did so to advance their religion in that country! That makes the religion not only involved, but arguably the cause of the violence to begin with.

    And, yes, people ARE forced to be muslim, because as you should well know, to leave Islam is to risk being killed! If that isn’t force, I don’t know what is.

    If you are muslim, you need to educate yourself better about your own religion. You certainly need to learn to read!

  3. 3
    Ujjal

    I fully agree with Ms Talima Nasreen. She has described clearly the status of religion and its followers. Religion preeches and practises and breeds hate and violence. Since history till date. Just look at ‘jamat’ . You will not find one thing that ‘jamat’ is doing which is not in their religious book.

  4. 4
    Talisma killer.

    Talisma you whore randi, stay the fuck away from Shabagh. You are not a Bangladeshi citizen and you have no place in Bangladesh. I am an avid supporter of Shabagh and I hate Jamaat scum, but I will kill whores like you the moment you step foot on Bangladesh, remember that you filthy whore.

    1. 4.1
      1. Lol

        I know someone who is going to get loads of hate mail …
        Putting out an entire dox … lol

      2. jakir

        Please help the Islamic leaders in Bangladesh……………………

      3. Nick Maneck

        Your comments to Taslima were out of line. From my point of view as long as you REALIZE you put your foot in your mouth it would be sufficient to go on forward.

        1. jakir

          buster as like you have no good word in your knowledge , you are enemy of humanity and women in the world, you have no qualification to say about humanity , your last place is hell ……….you don’t have permission to walk on soil ……..take breath , use air and another element of life….

          1. S.M. Bonny

            Sick and sheer stupid minds like Jakir cannot understand the logic of Taslima. Unfortunately, such people, inspite of giving a bad name to humanism, looks like human being. We need to ignore such creatures.

    2. 4.2
      Anashua

      Sick people like you are not true Shahbagh activists, you are Jamaatis on a smear campaign. We don’t value the opinion of people like you, who cannot even post under their real name. This is forever what your identity will be – a terrorist, an ignorant dump, a nameless nobody.You are the kind of scum we vow to protect this country against.

  5. 5
    Ymethink

    Taslima is right, Bangladesh is at the cross roads in search of hope and enlightenment for total population of Muslim world which has been infested by termites called Islamists. I mean USA and WEST is busy hunting them in Pakistan, Afganistan, Middle East and North Africa but Bangladesh Islamists are ignored for obvious reasons like oil or strategy. There are 1.4 billion Muslims in the world yet Muslims feel Islam is under threat. In 1919 Bengal made a mistake by falling prey to partition for British ‘divide and rule policy’. I hope Bangladesh don’t repeat that mistake this time, progress comes with unity, secularism, tolerance, peace, growth and all inclusive development. Let Muslims of B’desh show to the Islamic world that it has culture, faith and tradition to transfer humanity of Bengal to prosperity and enlighten future called ‘Sonar Bangla’.

  6. 6
    Nick Maneck

    Taslima Nasreen, the profile picture you have on FTB is so more appealing. I wish you could put the same picture on Twitter. It will increase the appeal of your message, believe it or not!

  7. 7
    jakir

    Please help the Islamic leaders in Bangladesh

  8. 8
    Aparesh Giri

    This taslimakiller is a real bastard.should be hanged publicly.But personally I would opt for his forced-vasectomy.

  9. 9
    jakir

    Sahbag is totally false ……….they are standing on totally false basis …….they provide false news/ information against Bangladesh Jamate Islami. We hate them and ordering that if they will misguide the innocent general people as soon as stop these for saving our country……….

  10. 10
    aquib

    taslima is totaly wrong she wants to misguide ppl.she herself plays in the lap of hindu nd christian nd earns money by writiting againt with islam no base .she knows nothin abt islam.sum ppl think she is an islamic scholar even though her status is nothin in islam even sge she is nt a musjimah ttgerabggt df

    1. 10.1
      jakir

      THERE IS NO ONE IN SHAHBAG BUT BUSTER AND MISGUIDED/RUBBER PPL

      1. S.M. Bonny

        This Idiot even don’t know the spellings of the English words it used ! Fie on !

        1. jakir

          know thy self………..

  11. 11
    H_1986

    Taslima Nasreen, there are reasons why Allah the Almighty did not make woman to rule the land
    because people like you will destroy the purpose of life and follow your desire.
    May you see reality in this life and in the grave, you will regrete what your tongue has reaped.
    Don’t blame Islam religion for the way people behave, Islam is perfect
    it is people like you who want greed for money, power status, oppression.
    Islam encourages us to do good deeds and help the needy.
    Islam is the only religion that WIll Lead You to Eternal Bliss

    Islam is against Oppression, Rape and Killing of innocent without Reasoning

    May Allah Guide You

    1. 11.1
      jakir

      100% wright, Taslima is a cars for peaceful world and specially women……She wants to destroy us

    2. 11.2
      Sarfras Navas

      Aslaamu alaikum
      “Islam is the BEST RELIGION but muslims are the worst followers.” You cannot claim to be a muslim by birth , it’s by practice you acquire faith in the true one god and then a Muslim.The history of Islam is full of strifes and only a very few could be termed jihad. Our book has given a high status for women though the male chauvinists misinterpreted every word of the prophet. He has told us that at the foot of the mother lies the heaven. So disrespect and irreverence towards women as a whole and especially towards a woman who suffered much due to so called Islamic ostracism is highly unethical. Islam is the religion of peace , nothing can happen to Quran ‘it’s the word of ALLAH’ He doesn’t want us to defend it ,it won’t perish for the word of ALLAH is for eternity.”Be compassionate ,Be tolerant, learn set an Example as prophet has set.
      Shabhag is a symbol, a symbol for people’s longing to protect their hard earned freedom,it ‘a voice that people never tolerate genocide.
      Most of the muslims in the subcontinent are frustrated. They fear perpetual danger to Islam. Why? It’s the word of ALLAH that will protect us not guns and swords.
      If we take swords others will do the same. We should respect the belief of Ahmediya, Hindu,Sufi,Christian,Jew.. they are not evil, they are intelligent , thinking and most of them want s peaceful co existence. World is such a beautiful; not only nature but diverse culture and traditions make it beautiful…..
      India is not a HINDU Country. I am MUSLIM in this GREAT SECULAR NATION.Nothing was ever forbidden to me, rather I am privileged being a muslim in this nation especially my state Kerala.I am a doctor, who is socially respected.But you should know my backgrounds very much humble, father being a farmer. Govt gives Scholarship for minority here my sister gets R24000. /annum for her studies she is doing her graduation in agriculture.
      My family is highly traditional and religious and have Christians and Hindus as our neighbours. We don give beef to Hindu homes and they don give us meat which is not halal. we celebrate all major festivals….. You should know , come to our side Kerala and watch how great and priceless the fruits of tolerance are…
      May Allah Guide You…..

    3. 11.3
      Sarfras Navas

      Aslaamu alaikum
      “Islam is the BEST RELIGION but muslims are the worst followers.” You cannot claim to be a muslim by birth , it’s by practice you acquire faith in the true one god and then a Muslim.The history of Islam is full of strifes and only a very few could be termed jihad. Our book has given a high status for women though the male chauvinists misinterpreted every word of the prophet. He has told us that at the foot of the mother lies the heaven. So disrespect and irreverence towards women as a whole and especially towards a woman who suffered much due to so called Islamic ostracism is highly unethical. Islam is the religion of peace , nothing can happen to Quran ‘it’s the word of ALLAH’ He doesn’t want us to defend it ,it won’t perish for the word of ALLAH is for eternity.”Be compassionate ,Be tolerant, learn set an Example as prophet has set.
      Shabhag is a symbol, a symbol for people’s longing to protect their hard earned freedom,it ‘a voice that people never tolerate genocide.
      Most of the muslims in the subcontinent are frustrated. They fear perpetual danger to Islam. Why? It’s the word of ALLAH that will protect us not guns and swords.
      If we take swords others will do the same. We should respect the belief of Ahmediya, Hindu,Sufi,Christian,Jew.. they are not evil, they are intelligent , thinking and most of them want s peaceful co existence. World is such a beautiful; not only nature but diverse culture and traditions make it beautiful…..
      India is not a HINDU Country. I am MUSLIM in this GREAT SECULAR NATION.Nothing was ever forbidden to me, rather I am privileged being a muslim in this nation especially my state Kerala.I am a doctor, who is socially respected.But you should know my backgrounds very much humble, father being a farmer. Govt gives Scholarship for minority here my sister gets R24000. /annum for her studies she is doing her graduation in agriculture.
      My family is highly traditional and religious and have Christians and Hindus as our neighbours. We don give beef to Hindu homes and they don give us meat which is not halal. we celebrate all major festivals….. You should know , come to our side Kerala and watch how great and priceless the fruits of tolerance are…
      May Allah Guide You…..
      All the Best

      1. Nick Maneck

        The comment by Sarfras Navas is a sane comment. If someone has already determined to be a Secular Humanist, obedience to religious dictates is unnecessary. I am not saying however one should not study the scriptures of various religions. They should. How else would you truly understand your fellow human beings who march to the beat of a different drummer.

        One important thing. I don’t judge others by my standards; I judge them by their standards. Following this principle I would give very high marks to the testimony of Sarfras Navas.

  12. 12
    jakir

    She is a curse……………..for all

  13. 13
    Sarfras Navas

    Respected Madam(Taslima Nazrin).
    If you could possibly find time pls go through a book named BARSA( meaning One who has unveiled her face) by Dr Khadeeja Mumtaz. The book received widespread positive criticism.The book also received Kerala Sahitya Academy Award for Best Novel(fiction) in the year 2011,. the books deals with the sojourn of a Muslim women in Islamic heartland(Saudi Arabia).The books gives a novel interpretation of various tenets in Islam regarding women and their freedom. The author ultimately proclaims that Kuran never forbid women anything;men drew the boundaries,even the prophet was a little biased. Madam proclaims ultimate authority of Quran but refutes the infallibility and authority of Hadith and Sharia .
    Regards

  1. 14
    Will liberals (and atheists) survive a radicalising society….or are humans self-destructing anyway? | ramblinginthecity

    [...] to read up on what’s been happening in Bangladesh and Taslima Nasrin’s piece “Why I support Shahbag” came at the right time. To offer a background, protestors in huge numbers were out on the [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite="" class=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>