Op-Ed: The world must stop supporting Sheikh Hasina’s government
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Op-Ed: We must stop radical Islamism in BangladeshRadical Islam is reportedly on the ascent among the youth in Bangladesh. What happens among the youth is a prism for what happens in a society at large. Given this, it is of critical importance to stop the rise of ISIS in Bangladesh by taking action against the Awami League government that encourages radical Islamism within the country.
According to a group of researchers at Dhaka University, radical Islam is on the ascent among the youth in Bangladesh. In the study titled “Bangladesh: Facing Challenges of Radicalization and Extremism,” Imtiaz Ahmed, Amena Mohsin and Delwar Hossain of Dhaka University found that a majority of the students do not believe that they can get a job upon graduation if they behave honestly and this pushes them to support radical Islamism. Given this study, I would say that recruitment to madrasas among the youth is becoming a bigger and bigger problem by the day and helps to reinforce the persecution of the Hindu minority within my country.
This ground-breaking study found that Bangladeshi young people are increasingly speaking in Arabic even though their native tongue is Bangla. In addition, more and more Bangladeshi young women are wearing the hijab. In fact, some are even wearing the niqab. And these radical young people are increasingly looking down upon Hindus and moderate Muslims. Mongol Shova Jatra, which marks the Bangla New Year, is frowned upon as Hindu culture. And Mughal Emperor Akbar is not considered a true Muslim for he started the tradition of celebrating Pahela Baishakh, the Bangla New Year.
The way that a country’s youth conducts itself is a reflection of the society at large. Before the rise of anti-Semitism throughout American society at large, there was a noticeable rise in anti-Semitism on the American college campuses that nobody paid attention to until it was a bit late. Now, the anti-Semitism that plagued the campuses engulfs all of American society. Given this, as a Bangladeshi, I am concerned that what we are now witnessing on the Bangladeshi campuses is a prism for what is happening in the rest of the country. Based on current events, it appears that this is the case.
In Bangladesh, the Hindus are regularly raped and killed by the ruling government. For example, Awami League supporters raped a housewife in Ramgati in Laxmipur District and the police did not want to take on the case initially due to the rapists’ connections to the ruling government. In the end, Bangladesh Minority Watch investigated the incident and found that the Ramgati Police Station’s Acting Officer Iqbal Hossein apologized over the case and later contacted Rabindra Gosh of the Laxmipur District, who was able to file a case against the accused. The victim’s relative Ramesh Chandra Das, however, still complained about the lack of a case against the accused.
There are hundreds of stories like this across Bangladesh. In January 2018, there were over 50 violent incidents directed towards Hindus yet the Bangladeshi government takes zero actions not only against those who rape Hindu women but also those who seize Hindu lands and who murder Hindus. Sheikh Hasina’s government is silently trying to make Bangladesh a Hindu free state by implementing grave human rights abuses against the Hindu population. Hindu homes are systematically being burned to the ground. Recently, a Hindu village was attacked. They ransacked every home, vandalizing and looting them. The land robbers went from home to home torturing people. They tortured mainly women and children. In addition, they even took tractors and destroyed homes.
The Hindu community of Mahajanapara of Sivananda village in Patiya, Chittagong, is in the worst humanitarian crisis. Up to 20 out of 22 homes have been destroyed by fire. These families could not save anything except the clothes that they were wearing. In the bitter cold of winter, hundreds of Hindu families are passing the night under the most inhumane conditions. They urgently need blankets, winter clothes, rice, oil, salt, etc.
I am seeking cooperation with other Hindu organizations to help out my people back in Bangladesh. However, it is critical to note that under this present ruling regime, those who are working to help out the minorities of Bangladesh are presently facing a crackdown from the Bangladeshi government. For example, Dissident Aslam Chowdhury, who has done much to help the minorities in Bangladesh, is now sitting in prison.
Despite this atrocious situation, the international community is not doing much to help the Bangladeshi Hindus and it is not because they are unaware of the present situation. I have spoken to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and numerous other world leaders, asking them to stop this as soon as possible. We need people to start speaking out on our behalf. We seek justice for the Bangladeshi Hindus as numerous Hindu temples are getting desecrated and our ancestral lands are being seized from us. The world pretends that ISIS is mostly finished but they ignore how Sheikh Hasina’s government is utilizing ISIS in order to harm Bangladesh’s minorities and to stay in power at any cost. The world must act in order to take out the Awami League government and to save the people of Bangladesh!
Shipan Kumer Basu is the President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee.
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