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The Ramu attack is a good reminder that Bangladesh doesn’t have the minimum commitment to protect the minorities. It was something far more than shameful as several hundred mullahs, probably supported by the Jamaat-e-Islami attacked Buddhist shrines and homes and vandalised those because of an alleged anti-Islamic photo in the facebook. It is at these moments that it becomes clear why Muslims are so unpopular in so many parts of the world. Few have taken collective and social barbarism to such heights even as they claim to be mistreated. If people want to practice such behaviour they should take flights to the Arab lands and do what is natural to such people there. Bangladesh is not for them.

* * *
Hundreds and thousands of Muslims recently took to the streets protesting the anti-Islamic film which was made in the USA and that has spewed violence in many parts of the world. In Bangladesh too massive rallies have been held protesting the movie so Bangladeshi ‘Muslims’ are clearly declaring which side they are on. Now that the Buddhists’ holy places have been vandalized and property stolen, it would be interesting to see how many Muslims here take to the streets to protest this sacrilege. It is important because Muslims are forever claiming to be victims but they are very silent when they commit the same barbaric acts on people of other faiths. We were not particularly concerned about how Arabs behave but this is Bangladesh in South Asia and we are committed constitutionally to protect all. The Ramu attack has challenged that basic principle and that is why it is so serious.

* * *
The Awami League response has been to blame it all on the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami which is a fine lesson on how to be and sound pathetic. It is the responsibility of the government to make sure that nothing happens and it has happened during their watch. They have such a wide network of spies and security agents so how come they never sensed anything? Or is it true what some people are saying on the street that the AL waited for the attack to happen so that they could blame the JI and the BNP to collect electoral brownie points? It would seem that the Government’s trust factor is substantially diminished and even the flow of benefit of doubt is being obstacled.

That the Government did know about the local MP who was anti-minority is absurd. It was not possible to gather so many to attack specific targets without a pre-plan but this seemed to have escaped the notice of the law enforcement agencies which is remarkable. We know that the law enforcement agencies are ineffective unless they are told to be so by the authorities so why they didn’t act is a mystery. And this makes the government looks terribly suspicious.

* * *
As for the BNP, it exists beyond shame. This is the party which allowed Jamaat-e-Islami to enter national politics just for political gain and now has become a partner to gain power. It shall be remembered as a party friendly to traitors and even now backing the Jamaat it shows how little it cares about the constitutional and moral obligations to the people. God alone knows from which bottomless pit of human degradation it draws its principles from. It supports a party that is committed to the denial of rights to all except their own kind of Muslims and bigotry and racism is structured as a faith element. It is convenient politics but immoral and vile as well and history shows such political constructs in the end collapse. Meanwhile, the strongest condemnation for the political company they keep and the cynicism they have displayed all along.

* * *
And so what of Jamaat-e-Islami? We have always argued that they have no space in Bangladesh or its politics. They have opposed the birth of Bangladesh so how can they be allowed to flourish in the same land whose birth they tried to end? It defies all logic but once one understands how Bangladesh functions, it becomes obvious. That doesn’t make the matter acceptable. The case for banning Jamaat is always there but what is required is the political will. If the AL can risk such a great deal of political uncertainty by passing the 15th amendment, why can’t it risk almost universal approval by denying Jamaat to be in Bangladesh?

* * *
After all the words are spent, what remains behind is the shame. We have allowed this to happen again and again. A fanatical, bigoted and backward people with a mindset of the 6th century, we don’t deserve Bangladesh. We didn’t need a new version of old Pakistan where more people die from internecine religious conflict than any other and it is perpetually mired in a medieval world of its own.

Bangladesh was to be the exact opposite but thanks to inefficiency, corruption, bigotry and religious excess, we have failed to build a state we could be proud of. For us there is only disgust.

On behalf of all who accept what we have said, our sincerest and humblest apology to the people who have suffered in particular and to all minorities in general.

Afsan Chowdhury is the Executive Editor, bdnews24.com

Afsan Chowdhuryis a bdnews24.com columnist.

35 Responses to “Ramu: When shame is not enough”

  1. abdullah

    I found the analysis of MR.BADARUDDING OMAR more acceptable than any one.
    Only animal can indulge in such heinous crime against humanity.

  2. KSI

    Powerful title and conclusion, a bit over-emotional overall but understandably so. But it’s really quite racist to say that social barbarism is ‘natural’ of Arabs.

  3. Shampee

    I don’t want to know what is the reason behind this violent act, why this happened, who they are… I just want to know will those responsible be able to bring back the 300 years old precious temple and statues that they destroyed?

    We are really unlucky to be born in a country where there isn’t minimum respect for neither the minority people nor history.

  4. Mujtaba al-Mahmood

    This is just one part of a larger picture and a fallout of a political expediency. Taking a sneak preview of our short but tumultuous history, it is not hard to remember, one gallant freedom fighter had barged into political scene on a convenient morning and declared, “I will make politics difficult in Bangladesh.” He had achieved his goal primarily by rehabilitating all the disgruntled politicians for his personal gains and created a canopy under the banner – ‘Basically No Party’ for them to join and prosper both politically and economically.

    Ironically, a freedom fighter rehabilitated all the forces against which he himself fought and witnessed his comrades die — some in his own arms. Who can deny what Afsan Chowdhury has written, “As for the BNP, it exists beyond shame. This is the party which allowed Jamaat-e-Islami to enter national politics just for political gain and now has become a partner to gain power. It shall be remembered as a party friendly to traitors and even now backing the Jamaat it shows how little it cares about the constitutional and moral obligations to the people…..”

    I would say, the incumbent government is guilty of inefficiency and corruption in many instances, but they are never guilty of encouraging the extremist forces. Of course, the government has miserably failed to protect the interest of a minority group and maintain a semblance of law and order in this case.

  5. Zazabor

    It is the easiest way to blame the person(s) who the writer don’t like. I can challenge the writer that he is very far from the truth and he has no real evidence. He just tried to spread out his personal belief. It’s a matter of great regret.

  6. David Gomes

    The truth is these people are all followers of Islam — does not matter what political parties they have their alliance with. They can play the blame game on each other. Even the law enforcement staff who stood there as stooges are Muslims (at least 95% of them). Perhaps the incumbent govt. needed another scapegoat to stay in power and other right leaning parties needed to prove their Islamic Josh e Mohammad by staging these acts of riots (?) without bloodshed.

    The bottom line is we are no longer a civilized nation.

    • maniza

      Dear Mr. Gomes, what do you mean by “The truth is these people are all followers of Islam — does not matter what political parties they have their alliance with”

      How could you disgrace a religion because of these Jamaat guys? Islam never allows this type of violence neither does any other religion. Please give your comments in a way where you do not hurt anybody’s religion. We do not have this right.

      Ramu attack is very much disgraceful for us as a nation. The Govt should ensure minimum commitment for minorities always. But in Bangladesh, we couldn’t find any government that can take this responsibility.

      • maniza

        And remember one thing the people attacked Ramu are not Muslims, Islam will never admit them as Muslims.

      • abdullah

        Who says they are not Muslims? Does Islam recognizes the killers of 1971 as Muslims?

  7. Robin

    Writer Afsan Chowdhury made a political statement. Like a typical Bangladeshi, he resorted to blame game before any criminal investigation is complete. Bangladesh is sinking. The religion of “Nirvana” is under attack in Bangladesh. The country is moving towards terrorism.

  8. Iftekhar Hossain

    রামুর আগুন
    জ্বালিয়ে দিলে পুড়িয়ে দিলে
    আগুন দিলে ঘরে
    সেই বনহি ছড়িয়ে যাবে
    তোমারই অন্তরে।

    ঘর উঠবে,ফুল ফুটবে
    আগুন হবে নাই
    তুমি বন্ধু পুড়ে পুড়ে
    নিজেই হবে ছাই।

    -ইফতেখার হোসেন

    • Tasnim

      যথা সময়ে সঠিক ছড়া ॥ পুড়ে পুড়ে ছাই হোয়ে কখনইকি আমরা খাটি সোনা হতে পারবোনা?

  9. Afiq Khan

    Why not identify the criminals who was directly involved with vandalism – weren’t there any locals who could identify those who made the attacks? Instead of identifying the real motives and criminals just blaming each other will only give scope to the real criminals to escape.

    Previously, were there any violence, Jamaat-e-Islami had been accused for that. Why not have judicial inquiry into it and find the real culprits whoever it is – Jamaat-e-Islami, Awami League, or BNP – and give exemplary punishment. Just blaming each other is an old political game and helps to repeat the incident. AL has brought JI men under trial for war crimes, why not AL have been able to bring under trial any of the Jamaate man for its accused involvement in leaf leaning media for all the past bombings and other communal violence?

    While we have seen Jamaat-e-Islami has condemned the attack in its strongest word, just blaming the group without proper investigation will let culprits free and do this again. This false propaganda out of political difference should be stopped if you really would like to see religious harmony in Bangladesh.

    • Abdul Ghani

      The way I see it, and I’m sure Afsan Chowdhury also would agree with me that there shouldn’t be any place for religion in politics. Religion is a personal matter. Once it is introduced in politics, it often tends to create division among people of different faith and that is what has happened and is happening throughout the world and in our country and creating violence and rift and ethnic crisis.

    • Jannat Ara

      Jamaat, Hizbut Tahir and religious political groups like these need to be banned from politics for the sole reason because they don’t and won’t be able to treat each and every citizen as equal because these are religion based parties and hence consider a particular religion as the superior one. In a democracy this can no way be accepted.

  10. Omar

    This article is a self actualization. It is a burst of emotions not always rational. Blaming one and all in a haphazard manner without forcefully laying the blame where it really belongs: the government for its failure to prevent it or take effective stern actions during and after the carnage. The inaction of the law enforcement agencies would suggest that influential government linked persons were likely involved.

  11. hossain

    Afsan Chowdhury possibly does not remember that Jamaat was AL’s ally in 1996, and became an enemy only when Jamaat sided with the BNP in 2001.

    • Abul Kayyum

      AL and BNP are just different sides of the same coin. They will stoop to any low to get into power.

  12. pothik

    The responsibility to protect the minorities should fall on the (1) Government, (2) Opposition (3) Media (4) Intellectuals (5)The people (6) Residents of the localities. But in fact majority of all these stakeholders are silent and not concerned and others are just mere observers.

    • Mehzabin Ahmed

      The opposition is so busy calling “hartals” all the time, where is their hartal now to protest this atrocity on our minorities?

    • Mehzabin Ahmed

      Excuses piling up, from around, local police force was not big enough to handle such a big mob. What was the NSI doing? How did thousands mobilise escaping their radars?

  13. Kalam Ahmed

    Why Jamaat should be banned one fails to understand. We are a Muslim nation, though that might be news to a columnist like Mr Afsan Chowdhury. Jamaat is the political soul of the core conservative Muslims of the country. Jamaat gets about 18 percent in elections. If Jamaat renounces its 1971 history and the role it played, it has as much right to exist and be a political party as any of these corrupt, hypocritical, aid-dependent, lying, cheating, public enemy number one, democracy killing, so-called secular parties. Their secularism hides theft and bad faith, and yet that secularism allows them to claim to be champions of democracy. If so then an equally hypocritical religious party also has a right to be a political party.

    Nobody supports the killing of minorities, and maybe who knows might have been religious party or parties involved, but other sources also say that that might not be the case. And finding out the truth is impossible due to the obvious politicization of the case by the newly appointed home minister, who is more interested in searching for BNP fingerprints than locating the truth of the matter.

    This article is merely to make the writer feel good about himself and not about seeing the whole scene clearly. He can feel satisfied that he has publicly demonstrated what wonderful values he possesses, but in doing so also is responsible for some bad value judgements.

    • Jannat Ara

      Jamaat should and must be banned because it was against the very birth of Bangladesh. This reason is sufficent enough to ban this religion based party which is propagating religion-based rules in the country.

      Ours is a secular nation, no matter What Ershad, Zia did to the constitution; no matter how the AL or the BNP – the two most self-centred political parties – sought support from Jamaat to survive.

      We do not want Jamaat, Toblig, Hizbut Tahir and parties like these in our land. Clear enough?

      • Ron

        Dear Jannat Ara… you missed out Awami Olama League, was that intentional? Dont you believe they should be banned too?

      • Jannat Ara

        Dear Ron, it wasn’t at all intentional. To be very frank I didn’t even know that there existed an Awami Olama League! I stand corrected.

        Let me rephrase, “We do not want Jamaat, Toblig, Hizbut Tahir, AWAMI OLAMA LEAGUE and parties like these in our land. Clear enough?”

  14. Rakhi Barua

    When these Buddha statues/age old temples are burning, they are also burning us!…How many of these Muslims who had attacked and vandalised Buddhist shrines and homes, had protested/brought out rallies when last year 8 Bangladeshi Muslim migrant workers were beheaded publicly in Saudi Arabia under their Islamic Sariah Law?

    Again we have seen massive rallies here recently in Bangladesh protesting an anti- Islam film. These very people also protest vehemently National Women’s Development Policy aimed at giving women equal inheritance right.

    So, Ramu attack gives us a strong message (especially to the BEDHORMIES/Kafers) that like Pakistaan, in Bangladesh also anyone of us can be accused (deliberately) of defaming Islam even if it is virtual!!

    It is a scary situation!

  15. Golam Arshad

    Afsan: My friend, come on, you know who divided the nation! I am all for the safety and security of ALL and of-course the MINORITY. The politics in termination of TOPI and DARI, seems not working for the Ruling Party. Please Mr. and Mrs. Secular, come in and save the face of the ruling party. Good luck Mr. Khan in your new job, the distinguished Mr. Home. Is he in charge? Or out-of-control? Carry on Chief, in homilies of Fear in tactic to sweep in to POWER in next election.

  16. Golam Arshad

    Belal: Why did then AL pass the 15TH AMENDMENT? By the way, what is in the 15TH AMENDMENT? The AL voicing vote of the BRUTE MAJORITY, in no way reflects the will of the people? You are talking of banning JI?Who divided the NATION JI or the AL? I hope, you know the answer!

  17. Rezaul

    Mr. Afsan how and from where did you come to know that Jamaat and BNP were behind this? According to locals many Awami League leaders and supporters were accompanying the looters as well. And why did you blame the Arabs. I think the situation is far better there as regards corruption situation and rule of law.

    I don’t think the moderator will publish this comment.

    • Matiur Rahman

      Dear Editor,

      Before any judicial investigation, you are pointing your finger at a political party and I call it yellow journalism.

      I can challenge you won’t be able to provide evidence that the attacker belonged Jamaat or BNP.

      I don’t think the moderator will publish this comment

      • Mozammel Haque

        Save me save me- the tiger is there-a shout from the cunning shepherd every day to fool the public to enjoy.
        And when there came the tiger no body was there to save him.
        Are our politicians and talented writers and commentators are doing the same?
        They are enjoying blaming these people of virtue and acting silly.

  18. Belal Beg

    “The case for banning Jamaat is always there but what is required is the political will. If the AL can risk such a great deal of political uncertainty by passing the 15th amendment, why can’t it risk almost universal approval by denying Jamaat to be in Bangladesh?”-The author has spoken for the whole nation. But even if Jamat and its body-parts are thrown out of Bangladesh as foreign elements, the communal poison will not go away because the carrier of the disease, the BNP will still be functioning.

    • Rezaul

      Mr. Beg so you want BAKSAL? Is Awami League free from corruption and communal disease?

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