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050725_mend_madrassas_vlrg_5a.grid-4x2A few days ago, I was watching PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) Newshour broadcast. Those of you who are not familiar with PBS in America, it is like the old BBC before the days of privatisation fervour. The programme tends to do in depth analysis of news and events but the tone and presentation is more like a sombre funeral prayer. Anyway, I sat up when they said they are going to interview Bushra Hyder from Pakistan. I have known about her work in North-western Pakistan and the continuous hazard she had to face. So, I was paying attention regardless of the Margaret Warner monotone.

Bushra Hyder is the founder and director of two schools In North-western Pakistan that promotes non-violence and tolerance. She has been threatened by Pakistani Taliban many times for educating girls and teaching a non-violent curriculum which the mullahs maintain to be un-Islamic. So, yes I wanted to watch the interview. Discussing the causes of unremitting violence, Bushra Hyder says at one point, “… There are many (causes), — it’s the way the curriculum is designed. It’s the way the students are taught, and it’s the wrong picture of — or the misinterpretation of the Islamic concepts.” When asked to give an example Bushra said, “Yes, the textbooks. They are, like, biased, biased towards other religions, and they have content which is derogatory towards other religions…”

Wow, what a statement to make! Think about this for a minute. The US and the world are spending billions of Dollars each year to fight the Taliban and the Jihadists. There are drones, bombs, night raids and carpet bombing but right there in what Bushra said is the real cause of unremitting violence, the no end in sight dark tunnel of intolerance! It is being created out of whole cloth and foisted on the children of Pakistan through an education system that has been co-opted by the prophets of violence. But how do they co-opt a whole education system? Alas it is the government itself that has been co-opted by the prophets of Intolerance.
In an answer to the question as to who writes the curriculum Bushra says, “They’re provided by the government to the government schools, but they are written according to certain common policies. And the private schools have to use the same books also.” So, there is one of the major causes for unrelenting violence and intolerance.

After viewing the programme I decided to do some digging of the primary and middle school curriculum In Pakistan. Those of us who had some schooling in the days of East Pakistan still remember religious teaching (Diniyat) as an elective course. Religion was not part of the day to day education in an ostensibly Muslim country. There were elective Hindu religion courses too. At my school you could learn Sanskrit as well as Diniyat. Of course the history books glorified the Moghul empire, did not talk much about Gandhi or All India Congress. We learnt that Jinnah was aghast at the dirt from a game of soccer so he played cricket instead. We also learnt that Jinnah had his clothes laundered in Paris. No, these acts were not viewed as elitist and shameful things to do but somehow laudatory. He apparently prayed five times a day and looked at Pakistan as the sole saviour of Muslims. These are rather juicy morsels of falsehoods about a guy who was inherently non-religious and who was angling for a better place in the Independent India. Pakistan was a historical accident even the proponents did not expect or want it to happen. So, when it did happen the proponents were stunned along with the rest of the population. They all had to embrace the one justification for such a life changing event even harder, Islam.

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, who teaches at Qaid-e-Azam University, shows off an illustrated Urdu alphabet primer which goes like this, “alif for Allah; bay for bandook (gun); tay for takrao (collision, shown by a plane crashing into the Twin Towers); jeem for jihad; kay for khanjar (dagger); and hay for hijab.” That is what the kids are learning as their first words! No wonder the place sees no end to violence. Then there is the government approved curriculum that states that by the end of Class V the child must, “be able to acknowledge and identify forces that may be working against Pakistan; demonstrate by actions a belief in the fear of Allah; make speeches on jehad and shahadat (martyrdom); understand Hindu-Muslim differences and the resultant need for Pakistan; India’s evil designs against Pakistan; be safe from rumour-mongers who spread false news; visit police stations; collect pictures of policemen, soldiers, and National Guards; and demonstrate respect for the leaders of Pakistan.” Various experts estimate that a good 82% of the students in colleges and high schools believe that the problems in Pakistan have been created by India, the US and the Infidels (widely defined as anyone not agreeing with the hardliners). There is very little chance of peace and progress when the whole generations are being brought up steeped in hatred and bigotry!

So, how did Pakistan go so far into the weed? From the days when we read “Diniyat” as elective subject and boned up on religious teaching with the Moulana Shahib at the mosque before school to where falsehoods are the dominant religious teachings? You can trace this back to 1976 and the paranoia of the then dictator Zial-ul-Huq. Admittedly, Pakistan was still trying to reconcile itself over the loss of East Pakistan and the resounding defeat at the hands of Indian Armed Forces and Mukti Bahini. The thesis that Islam (or any religion) will form a glue to keep totally different parts of the world together was blown to smithereens. Zia’s coup was timely and in retrospect a grotesque joke played by the gods on the people of Pakistan.

In 1976 the Pakistan parliament imposed a curriculum that portrayed Pakistan as being surrounded by enemies, mainly India. Since religion is the key variable for Pakistan’s existence, anyone who is not a Muslim was simply portrayed as the enemy. Thus started the journey that made generations of Pakistanis into the current seething mass of intolerance where 80%+ people think that the world has ganged up on them.

Back to more ruminating of what was and what is becoming in Pakistan and may even migrate to Bangladesh unless we are vigilant enough. Remember the silly little essays we had to write about cows? The cow is a four footed domestic animal, etc. etc. Well the cow in Pakistani syllabus is a, wait for it, Cattle! The teaching goes something like this, “It is a ‘Sunnah’ of our Holy Prophet to rear the cattle. By doing so, we fulfil our needs and at the same time obey the Sunnah-e-Nabi [custom-of-the-Prophet].” Well, the poor cow! Now it is the sunnah and a political message board, not just a friendly four footed domesticated animal.

Then there are the outright lies about history. The emergence of Bangladesh is labelled as the result of rebellion by the Hindus. The National textbook for students in Class IX and X states, “As soon as the Pakistani Army emerged from the barracks to restore law and order, the province burst into an uprising. Hundreds and thousands of rebels, the majority of whom were East Pakistani Hindus crossed into India, where they were welcomed and allowed to live and conspire against the State of Pakistan”. No mention of mass imprisonment, mass rape, burning of village after village, no mention of indiscriminate killing of hundreds and thousands of unarmed people.

This is the drivel that the hapless Pakistani youth are being taught and no wonder the violence and intolerance never abates in that country. This is what happens when people with blind prejudice simply jump on anything and try to fit it into their worldview.

This is the seminal lesson for Bangladesh. One person or a fairly small number of people with an agenda and unwavering worldview can destroy the very fabric of the society by simply usurping the educational framework which informs the society for generations. We have a thousand year history of cultural tolerance and mingling. We need to preserve our social ethos, our festivals, our traditions of tolerance and keep our schools secular or we will end up as a failed state a la Pakistan!

Kayes Ahmed lives in Boulder, Colorado, USA with his three dogs. He runs a small yet global apparel and design business based in Boulder.

51 Responses to “alif for Allah, bay for Bondook!”

    • Kayes Ahmed

      Yes, I understand those invectives. But why is the article outrageous and shameful? Screaming alone gives you no purchase in discussions. How about a two sentence explanation for the invectives?

  1. Nabil

    What new this piece brings to the readers of bdnews24.com? Turn on any mainstream American media, look into the pages of any print edition, those all are full of same stuff Mr Ahmed tried to impress Bangladeshi readers with. What a waste of valuable bdnews24.com space and what a waste of my time!

    And “he lives with his three dogs” thing … Give me a break! Please try to show minimal civility and respect to the readers. This is a serious political page, not a teenagers’ Facebook account.

    • Kayes Ahmed

      Nabil, maybe the readers disagree with you about the usefulness of the information. I am always mystified as to why the so-called pious attack my dogs? What have they done? I live with three dogs and that is the only statement of fact I make as a descriptor. I am not a big academic or some highflying executive. I am just a guy trying to make a living who happens to have three dogs. Yes, in my business you could not get a job if you are not dog friendly. Everyone (some 30 of us) bring at least one or two dogs to work every day. Actually, that is true in most workplaces! So, please tell me what break would you like to have about the dogs? They are my dogs, they live with me. I love them. I grill them salmon, steak and chicken and we generally have grand time. What’s wrong with that? By the names of the dogs are, Tina, Chiquita and Daisy!

      • Nabil

        Mr Ahmed no one is attacking your dogs. May be some readers are irritated at your lack of sensitivity. If you have nothing to write in tagline other than your business credential, then don’t write anything. What your three dogs have to do with Islamization and madrassa education in Bangladesh? While it seems you try to infuse western values in our ‘outdated’ Bangladeshi mindset, don’t you see the condescending attitude you are showing by your dog tagline? If you have to write you live with three dogs, why not write ” You go to bathroom two times a day” ? Will this tagline not be as irrelevent as the tagline you add on about your dogs?

      • Kayes Ahmed

        Nabil Shahib, I am mystified why people would be irritated by dogs. My father had a dog in the deep religious belt of Sylhet some 50 years ago. People used to throw leftovers to the dog. He brought great pleasure to all the children. He would jump into the river Surma anytime we jumped in for a swim. That guy was always protecting us. I guess it never occurred to me that people would be offended by that. I am sorry if I offended you. In terms of tagline I put in two things that are important to me, my business and my dogs. The tagline has nothing to do with my subject matter. My daughter is all grown up and travelling the world. For me it is like saying, he lives in New York with his wife and two children! Anyway, I am not opposed to religious education in any setting. I am opposed to the unbridled dissemination of falsehoods, intolerance and justification of violence in the name of religion. By the way, the article is not about Madrassas but about normal education system in Pakistan. Only about 6% of the students go to Madrassas in Pakistan.

      • Nabil

        I am also mystified by the blind generalization of all who expressing dislike of dog tagline as ‘ pious’ types. And then again comes the mention of religious belt of Syelhet.

        So anyone, who may dislike your signature of dog ownership, is automatically a religious fanatic?

        You know what, this is the root cause of many of the problems. Once this myopia is treated the problems with the dog tagline would have been more visible to the author and the editor.

      • afsan

        Why should Kayes’s dogs be an irrelevant matter ? They are like his family members and he has mentioned this many times including in several responses to this ‘Bandook’ post.
        To you pissing and owning dogs may be at the same level but not to him. Bio taglines often mention family members and to him his dogs are his family. Can you live with that?

  2. Kazi Saifuddin Hossain

    Yes, the Urdu (and also Arabic) letter of alphabet ‘alif’ is for Allah, the Creator of the Heavens and Earth; but who nowadays care for Allah? The ‘bondook’ (gun) is the order of the day! Allah, Khuda, God, Bhogoban – all these mean nothing to the earth people. The US depends heavily on drone-strikes; the Taliban on guerrilla tactics; some personnel in our police department on batons; BSF of India on gunning down innocent Bangladeshis! And so on and so forth goes the list. These inhuman acts of barbarism have broken all records of the past.

    The Pakistani mindset had gone off its rocker since its very birth. People of Bengal did vote for a separate land for Muslims in 1947. They felt it would be right for them. I don’t want to comment on this part of history, because it would be irrelevant. What I would like to point out to our readers is the fact that the political party Jama’at-i Islami along with its leader, Mawdoodi, who had declared Pakistan as ‘napak-sthan'(unholy place) during the partition of the Indian Sub-continent in 1947, went to Pakistan and became the country’s saviour in 1971 by helping the Pakistan Army with the brutal military campaign in the then East Pakistan.

    Thankfully, the Muslim populace of Bangladesh do not believe in the radical ideas of the militants.

    The hate campaign you have brought to light is existent in the US also. There is a lobby there who initiates hatred against Muslims. The only difference is that there is no one to shed light on them, to unmask their ugly faces. The drone-strikes are killing innocent people; then why continue with these? There must be some other way, surely some other means to a peaceful solution! Hillary Clinton has visited our country recently. Someone of the press called her war-monger in a write-up published in an English daily. The American foreign policy of war-mongering is being criticised by members of the press all around the globe. Why should this continue then?

    Finally, I would like to point out to you that in the recent post on this section you commented that the Bangla society ruthlessly suppresses gays; while here you have stated that our society has a thousand year old history of cultural tolerance. Isn’t this self-contradiction? Anyway, thanks for bringing the subject up, as it has given me the opportunity to share my thoughts with all of you.

  3. As

    Many people have found religion in secularism. I believe secularism is another form of closed thinking.

  4. Brave Nib

    Kayes Ahmed- your article clearly shows that to demote extremism you are promoting a new form of extremism i.e. WESTERN LIBERAL SYSTEM. It does not tolerate anything apart from Western values, its followers talk about multi-cultures but they want to eliminate every culture from the face of the earth to establish their own.

    You mentioned A is for Allah, Bay is for Bonduk. Well, what do you expect from them when their father, mother, brothers and sisters including kids are being killed every day, civilians kidnapping/randition is normal by the so-called security agencies.

    You don’t expect them to throw flowers in reply to missiles, do you? In 1971 did the Bengalis through flowers at Pakistani soldiers? Indirectly you tried to say some WAR is terrorism and some Terroism is WAR?

    Your writing tells me that you have taken the side of imperialists. When you take a side you are part of the problem. You are desperate to ignore the fact that your political system practices ‘F for F-16’ not ‘F for flower’!

    So whoever does not accept their political system, they send their F-16 at them. Such a wonderful system you are promoting! Then what is wrong with ‘B for bonduk’?

    • Kayes Ahmed

      Dear Brave (sic) Nib: You are obviously not reading what I wrote or just imagining things. This was not about Imperialism or secularism or anything. This was was an expose of the current Pakistani curriculum in the context of unremitting violence. Bay for Bondook is actually a published children’s alphabet primer in Pakistan. Going back to violence that you mention. Most of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan are caused by the, Taliban, Jihadis or militants. In Iraq some 900,000 people died during the war. Almost 80% of those death can be directly attributable to sectarian violence and indiscriminate killings by one faction or another.The US killed about 100,000 soldiers and affiliates and some 46,000 civilians (for the most broad definition look at Lancet Studies). However, even one civilian death is unjust and should not be tolerated. I think US has to and is rethinking its policy. Remember, we (US) did not start the war in Afghanistan. The AQ criminals killed nearly 4,000 people out of the blue on 9/11. There has to be a response. I fought in 1971 as a very young kid. Actually more talk than fighting at the age of 16. But, I saw the bloodshed firsthand and I saw the brutality of the Pakistani Army. They burned down my parent’s home in Sylhet for no apparent reason. I also saw and participated on the other side when we had the upper hand the we went after the Biharis. The whole thing is, unless there is deep rooted acceptance of diversity in people and equal opportunity for all to excel there will be injustice and killing. You have to accept facts without the coloring from ideology and religious biases. The fact is, Pakistan is a failed state, every day some 20 people die on the streets of Karachi, many more on the north. Every disagreement turns into violence and the seeds of violence are sown in the schools. You should read the article just as an expose of the educational system and not as ideological declaration.

      • Brave Nib

        Kayes- Ha Ha Ha, you don’t agree with my writing or you don’t like what I have written that is why you have written (Sic) next to my nick name? Wow you have proved again that you are one of the arrogant, who does not know how to write respectfuly, just like the F-16 pilots, you disagree and send missiles!!! Here you disagree with me you have written (Sic) next to my name!!! is it the cow boys’ style?

        From your writing I can tell, you are suffering from identity crisis!!

  5. Ezajur Rahman

    The best device that can be used effectively against religious extremism and other such foolishness is value based centre politics. Many people (I am not referring to the author) seem to think that to stop extremism one has to stay blindly loyal to AL. This is wrong. And if AL and BNP continue as they are the ranks of Jamaat and such will swell with those discontened with the centre.

    To fight religious extremism you have to show a viable alternative.

    In Bangladesh we continue to fail to show viable alternatives.

    We need to be more worried about the centre than the fringes.

    • Brave Nib

      Well — value based centre politics? Your value based? If yes I agree our politics should be based on our values, our culture, our history. Our culture is Eid days, equal opportunity for all including minority (not treating minority the class citizens like some developed countries), justice, unity, charity, masjids, respecting our mothers and sisters not using them as social product, gold and silver based economy and capitalistic exploitation, respecting elders (not throwing them in the old home), marriage with love (not living together and having fatherless kids), Ramadan, — these is our values. Our politics and policies should be based on these. Otherwise we will remain as modern slaves like we are.

  6. Abu Aaisha

    As the other guy commented, ” he lives with three dogs!” there is nothing extra ordinary to find this sort of stuff from Mr. Kayes. Few days ago, I found him to be defending homosexuality in another of his column. But the irony is the attitude of the authority who keeps on publishing this nonsense stuff.

    Anyway, these people have rejected religion and will never be able to establish a single principle they are agreed upon. their motto is to hail anything that suits their lifestyle. Embrace anything that makes this life more comfortable and enjoyable; be that with the price of all values in the society. in his earlier column on Obama and Romney, he slandered the latter one just because of his religion ( I am not inclined to any of them). if you ask them whether they have read anything on Quran, they will reply in positive. but that read is also possibly not beyond the version from some orientalist. To be honest, I am writing this comment by just seeing the heading. I don’t feel any urge these days to go through the whole nonsense written by this Kayes Ahmed. by my Lord Allaah, I ask Allaah’s wrath to befall upon this guy and the likes of him, if light does not enter into their hearts. Urging all to request bdnews24 authority to stop publishing his odd opinions.

    • palash

      This Guy abu ayesha is certainly a paid troller by Jihadi Islami Bangladesh. Madrassa education?! hahaa. Why don’t you take a Saudi Arabia visa and serve the Saudis?

      • Kayes Ahmed

        Palash Shahib, I think you are now showing intolerance. His views are welcome. Remember, the very practice of talking takes you from a place of hostility to a place of possible compromise. Abu Aaisha holds his views dearly and he is welcome to it. What he should not be allowed to do is create an environment where other views are smothered. There cannot be a “my way or the high Way” solution to ways of life and living. The Jihadis are mainly a faith based group of people and the political manipulators feed on their faith. So, let us work on listening to everyone and avoiding the trap of intolerance which leads to violence. I am not opposed to violence if need be. Been there, done that. But, not a great thing in one’s life.

      • Abu Aaisha

        @ palash, No, I am not one of them as you thought. Rather, I have a strong feeling that islamphobes like you are engaged by certain interested groups to create anarchy in the guise of Islam. there are strong and old conspiracy theories to establish the fact that JMB & HUJI- both are products of two neighboring countries. anyway, you cannot go further except for calling practicing Muslims wahabis. for people like you I suggest a book written by Haneef James Oliver named, “Wahabi Myth”. if you are honest to yourself as people like you claim, read that book. I earnestly request you for that. remember, I don’t call for mass killing & anarchy as you might have already concluded about me.

      • Brave Nib

        If you tell him to go to Saudi, he can ask you to get Indian visa, can’t he?

    • Kayes Ahmed

      You make my point Abu Aaisha. Whatever you do not agree with must be smothered and banned and hopefully destroyed by fire and brimstone. This is precisely the intolerance that is at the core of current day turmoil in so many countries.

    • afsan

      Kayes’ response to Abu Aisha is spot on. He is opposed to exactly the kind of brainless and ignorant intolerance that this letter writer presents. He has not read his article but is ready to seek God’s intervention in killing him for what he has said which he even doesn’t know. This is pathetic.

      It’s precisely this mentality that has made Muslims all over the world the largest group of backward people, always hoping that their lack of knowledge will be rewarded by divine intervention. No wonder Islam doesn’t produce scholars. Muslims are too scared to deal with facts.

      bdnews24 has not only published Kayes’ piece but also your comment. It respects the right to express opinions, even the bigoted ones like yours. Can’t say that for the Ummah who are up and running seeking blood anytime something they don’t like is published.

      Such a lack of confidence you betray! “God, kill him because I don’t agree with what he says.”

      • Brave Nib

        @AFSAN, what’s the point of condeming just for the sake of it? This aticle is showing the ‘intolerance of secularism and so-called democracy’ whatever happens the follower of this ideology look for faults of the Muslims. If it is F for F-16 and ‘D for drone attack’ then what is the wrong with ‘B for bandook’?

        Which regime/s killed 1 million of muslims in Iraq? Which ideology practices randition flights, secret prisons, torturings, water boardings, sleep deprivations? Is it Taliban? NO, it is the so-called civilised nations and people like you promoting their ideologies. If you don’t like Islam why do you still carry muslim names?

        Muslims are the largest community because Islam is great, this community is getting bigger every day despite negative propaganda by all the medias of this planet, still peoples from all over the world reverting to Islam.

        I am glad that bdnews24 publishing these converstaions but look at the neocons and rightwing media of the so-called democratic countries; they always are spreading propaganda against Islam.

      • Kayes Ahmed

        Dear Brave (sic) Nib: Your facts are wrong. In Iraq some 900,000 people died during the war. By most international accounts (Lancet having the broadest definition) the US is responsible for the death of 100,000 soldiers and 48,000 civilians. Yes a lot but not a million. Most civilians were killed by the Jihadi thugs. Secret prisons and rendition flights were an instant response but indefensible based on our values and constitution. They have been shut down since Obama came to power. However, these Jihadis would much rather have the protection of US laws than go to their own countries where torture is the norm. I would prefer that anyone caught outside of their country is immediately repatriated to their homeland. I am sure that will fix the issue of torture and injustice, no? The Taliban practices unrelenting torture and decapitations. The US is held at standard that Taliban or these Jihadis would never reach. I think any people have a right to defend itself against attack and violence. The rules need to same for all. If you come and kill 4,000 innocent people than you forfeit your right to exist on this earth and I have the right to pursue to the fullest extent. I think the US doctrine in Afghanistan is wrong headed. We should have gone after the Taliban and the Jihadis with a mission to kill and not to pacify. The only way this menace can be handled is by simply wiping the last ones off the face of the earth and wiping the slate clean. No reconstruction, no nation building just death from drones delivered quickly to the targets.

      • Brave Nib

        Did you get the statistics from the ignorant’s website who kills people and blame others for the crime? We see this kind of news every day — people killed in wedding party by drone attack and the next day it is reported that there were militant gatherings at the venue.

    • Kayes Ahmed

      It was actually a fact based article on so-called secular education in Pakistan. Madrashas are beyond redemption.

    • Akbar Hussain

      O sure, to allow more ignorance, more dumb headed fools, to create more fatalists, you should establish more madrassas. Go ahead nothing better is expected from people like you.

      • Brave Nib

        No Akbar, you’re getting it wrong. In fact it is the other way round, to allow more modern form of slaves, to allow more puppets who bows down to the secular foreign masters (who like to make Muslims slaves)–the madrassas need to be destroyed, isn’t it?

        Look at these leaders like Musharraf, Mubarak, Gaddafi, King Fahad-abdullah, Hasina, Ershad, Saddam, Karimov and Bashar — all of them sell/kill their own people to the so-called foreign secuirty agencies, these leaders are brutal dictators. Have they ever studied in Madrassas? No, they studied in extreme secular places and look at the result…

  7. Fida

    It does not mean that whatever Pakistan is doing is Islam or Islamic education. And we have to be secular to get rid of that Islam. Actually here you are promoting secularism in a context of a country where religion is not in a proper mode rather you should point out the negative facts of a country and aware us. If Bangalees of West Bengal do something wrong, should Bangalees of Bangladesh abandon their Bangalee identity as a mean of being careful?

    • Golam Arshad

      Fida: It is a romanticism in excellence to BE SECULAR, fishing on the gallows of Darwinian syndrome. What do you say?

  8. Akbar Hussain

    Fear is the key. This is what I learned about Islam as a religion. I was born in a Muslim family, raised and educated in the spirit of Islam where fear and submission to the unknown was the motto. But my personal introspection led me to another horizon where I found freedom is the key to survival. This urge for freedom is inborn in every human being who led our souls to bliss and blossom. I found Islam is a barrier to all the finest features of a life that is always poised for new leaps. Muhammad had his limited mission in his tribal pagan Arab society and did well in this mission. His pretension, his fables of all the so-called heavenly meetings, his stories about the visit to the 7th heaven and his sex life, all had their expected impacts in a dark and ignorant 7th century society. He was not at all wrong in the perspective of his times but since then a band of over jealous mullahs transported this obnoxious notion of primal fear and lies as a survival kit for the rest of the mankind. The age of Enlightenment came as a challenge to this mountain of ignorance and all dogmas related to all the religions. The Indian Muslims were so badly brainwashed that they found it imperative to decline their culture, ancestry and history. They became aliens in their own country to uphold their dogmatic faith. They wasted centuries in the mosques and mazaars ignoring the realities that they belong to India.

    The consequences of all these follies and blunders now playing havoc in their everyday lives but unfortunately they are still not ready to embrace realities. The primal fear which is the foundation of this faith is the main reason why this multitude is unable to do anything to stop those fanatics who oppose enlightenment. They know it very well that if knowledge is given pre-eminence, this 7th century madness will not survive for long. Islam has turned into a cult and a mortal danger to challenge everything mankind has made to this day.

    • Sayeed

      Do you have any idea about the conversion/reversion rate to Islam? Millions of secular/atheist/Christian/Jews are converting to Islam throughout the world with high rate in the US and Europe. Are these people stupid? Or may be they are not SMART like you.

      Please know ISLAM prior to commenting.

      • Akbar Hussain

        Your happiness about the increasing number of Muslims depends on whether you like quantity or quality.

      • afsan

        Show me where it says that millions are converting to Islam. Please send link or I shall request the moderator to withdraw your comment on the ground that it’s not factual.

    • Kayes Ahmed

      Akbar Shahib; religious faith is deeply held personal viewpoint. There are close to 1.6 Billion Muslims in the world and the rank is growing every day. Part of it is due to birth rates but another part is due to actual conversions. There is great peace in the act of total submission. Knowing and believing that there is a Higher power that will look after you. I disagree that there is innate urge from freedom as you see it. Whole lot of people will give up some freedom for some security and some peace. Islam requires surrender to God and as such it delivers peace to the adherents. Admittedly peace in “here and now” is difficult to deliver so there is the great pantheon on after life and the whole business of beautiful peaceful life after death. Who are we to begrudge people the sense of peace and tranquility? I for one have problems with the hypocrisy of the practitioners of Islam and not the act of faith or submission. Every day I get up at 5 AM and take my dogs for a 7 mile loop in the Colorado mountains. I totally submit to the beauty of the place and I am at peace. I have meaningful contact with the Universe and my doggies at the top of the mountains. We are at peace. Maybe God is just there in the early rays of Sun giving me utter bliss. Akbar Shahib, throughout history it has been the practitioners that have sullied faith and its purpose. My two cents.

      • Noman

        Islam gives a life hereafter but you people cannot stop death, cannot give anything hereafter but talk and talk.

    • Brave Nib

      Your comment does not make any sense. If you dislike Islam why dont change your name to Bush or Connman or something like that, why do still carry a Muslim name. Shame!!!

  9. Rezaul Karim

    Every madrassa student in Pakistan is a Taliban. Every Taliban is taught that this world is a prison and the real life is in the after world. You can make this world a hell to achieve a ticket to heaven in the after life.

    • Brave Nib

      And every so called modernist/secularist are taught ‘this life is a free place to enjoy- so who ever does not agree with you, you send your F-16 or drawn to kill them with kids, women and children. Democracy is so great hey???, it only knows how to kill Muslims!!!

  10. Golam Arshad

    Kayes: Is Secular to be the God Father of Moderation? No and it will Never Be! Once we have taken Oath to be a Muslim, the Oneness in Almighty negates everything else. Beauty sustains! Moderation prevails! All colors ends in hues of ecstatic Charm in One. Like to hear your comment.

    • Kayes Ahmed

      I am not sure one takes an oath. One is born into a religion. The key is free thinking and exploration of ideas over time. I think religion gives peace and solace to a lot of people. That is all well and good but there is evil in almost all religious thought be it Muslim or otherwise. The is to know when the practice stops giving solace and starts spilling blood. In terms of colors actually it is the other way around. There are many colors out there we see more than a fruit fly because we have three color receptors in our eyes, whereas the Praying Shrimp sees many more various colours because it has five receptors. So, if one really wants to know the Universe stop with the Oneness and embrace diversity because there in lies the key to Nirvana.

      • Golam Arshad

        Kayes: To me NIRVANA rests in Oneness and PEACE.

    • Akbar Hussain

      There is no harm to be a Muslim but it’s wrong to sell out your common sense and reasoning. To submit to the unknown is to eradicate your own power of self judgement and your power to investigate. That’s the core issue with Islam because it does not allow you to move around and seek explanation. In the realm of intellectual business fables are not an acceptable commodity. If I have a little working brain I will ask if a human being can talk to a non existent angel. Can a human being travel to the heavens to meet God? Let’s accept the reality that it’s not 7th century any more. We are not pagan Arabs.

      • Golam Arshad

        The logic of DEATH belies the logic of LIFE. Are you with me? The truth and beauty in reasoning gets nowhere when we are thrown in that unknown barrier of UNKNOWN? Akbar you are a Good Muslim!

  11. touhid

    Thanks for such an informative text. I also think BD government should keep educational institutions secular so that religious extremism and communal riots can be kept out from thoughts and feelings of the citizens.

    • Brave Nib

      Touhid- Please check the meaning of your name first before making comments. Secularism or secular government can’t solve problem. Look at the example of Iraq!! who killed 1 million muslims by fighter planes? it is the so called secular democratic countries.

      Indian education system is secular still 2500 muslims were burned alive in uttar pradesh in one day.

      Secularism is not a solution for us. Our system should be based on our culture and values.

    • Kayes Ahmed

      I actually used live with four dogs. One died recently after a prolonged bout of cancer. Poor thing went through Chemo and radiation but that extended her life only by a few months. My dog Iris’ death has left a big hole in my life but we go on, no? There is nothing better than bond of love and friendship with a dog. At least I have not found any.

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