Sunday, March 27, 2005

BANGLADESH: Religious extremism: Some ado about something

Two general trends are discernible in the activities of these extremist outfits. First, the major one is intended to bring about the so-called Islamic revolution in the country. But what this revolution means has never been clearly spelt out. In the name of Islam much has been done by these outfits that do contravene the essence of Islam. For one thing, Islam does not permit this kind of anti-human activity, and also a resort to terrorism (for example, la ikraha fi-ddin). Second, a minor one, but nevertheless at variance with the essence of Islam is the so-called Khatame Nabuwat Movement targeting the minority religious group known as the Ahmadyas. The government handling of the situation arising out of the activities of this outfit has so far been unclear, and on the whole, appeared to be placating the outfit. But, for doing so the government has been accused of violating the spirit of the constitution of the Republic; and of violating human rights by the international community, including the Amnesty International. Moreover, in tandem with these two major trends, a minor one has been witnessed in the recent past. A group of people belonging to some political coterie went on rampage at a madrasa complex in Bhola burning the entire infrastructure and torching as many as 200 copies of the Holy Quoran. This is a heinous act that reminds us the one done by the Pakistan army in 1971. That such an act can take place in a country where Islam enjoys the status of a state religion, and also in a country which is reportedly crammed with born again Muslims shows how much Islam has been denigrated by the politically motivated quarters.....More