Bangladesh under Blasphemy Law: Witnessing Horror in Father’s Dream Land

By: Rumana Hashem

Waking up at four o’ clock in the morning to the horrific news of appalling murders of freethinkers and culture-minded citizens in the hands of fanatics at home is not a new phenomenon for many Diaspora Bangladeshis for the last few years.  The grim events that began in early 2013 turned out to be a systematic terror attack on all secularists in Bangladesh. Regardless of atheist, non-atheist, activist, blogger, academic, devotee, left and liberal writers, students, University teacher, publisher, harmonious LGBT rights activists, of Muslim and Hindu background, every free thinker and believer of secularism has been living under blasphemy and death threats in a so called independent nation-state, namely Bangladesh. The year 2015 was a nightmare while the year 2016 takes us to even more disturbing episodes of double-murders of harmonious rights activists in residence in a supposedly secular state.

On Saturday the 23rd April, my mobile beeped at four a.m. GMT to wake me up with a shocking message that assailants were able to cut the throat of a peace-loving Professor at broad day light in the publicly accessible street in Rajshahi, a town was previously known as relatively secular and progressive, in north Bangladesh.  Professor Rezaul Karim Siddique was killed one day after Friday when a Hindu-devotee was murdered at Tungipara.  Additionally we have heard about three more brutal murders, including the double-murders of two harmonious LGBT rights activists and a retired prison guard who were killed in similar violent fashion by organised fanatics within two days in the capital city. As if this was not enough, a report in the daily Kaler Kontho revealed that there were nearly 1500 murders in the last four months that went uncovered by national and international media.

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Human Rights and Responsibility

responsibility

By Beatrice Maria Zanella

The word “Responsibility” is often abused and its meaning misunderstood. What do we talk about, when we speak about responsibility? What does responsibility mean when we discuss about human rights, crimes against humanity and their infringement? And what is the correct way of coping with responsibility?

What does responsibility mean?

The word “responsibility” consists of two words: “response” and “ability”. Hence, we can think of its meaning as “the ability of responding for one’s actions or thoughts” or “the consensus to take on the consequences of one’s actions”.

An example for the first meaning could be found in the criminal law. A person whose behavior is against the law of the country where the action was made will face the criminal court. There any person will have to respond for their actions. On the other hand, an example for the second meaning we have identified could be the one of the person who should stay in the hospital as far as the doctor’s advice is concerned and who chooses not to follow this recommendation. If anything happens, the only person who will be responsible for it is the patient.

Responsibility and human rights

Responsibility and human rights are strictly interconnected: one does not exist without the other. In fact, rights are something that each of us or some of us are allowed to have or do (or not do), something we are entitled to. According to the United Nations, human rights are “rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status”. Hence, if something must be granted to a person, there has to be another person, or group of persons,  state, institution or organism, that is accountable and responsible for ensuring that the right is respected or that whoever did not respect it gets punished.

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100 London Buses Drive Home Muslim Message: ‘United Against Extremism’

Ahmadiyya Muslim Campaign Highlights Islam’s Rejection of Extremism

One of Britain’s oldest Muslim communities, founded over a century ago as the peaceful renaissance of Islam, is launching a new campaign to counter extremist rhetoric and literally drive home a message of peace.

It follows the Paris atrocity and adds to a multilevel strategy by anti-extremist Muslims to counter the rhetoric and ideology of terror.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the driving force behind the United Against Extremism campaign and is at the frontline of countering the barbaric ideology of ISIS and other extremists. From its inception in the 19th century, the community has espoused an ethos of Love for All, Hatred for None.

One hundred buses with French colours and the iconic image of the Eiffel Tower will operate in London to clearly convey Islam’s abhorrence of extremism.

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The London-based Caliph of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has repeatedly condemned extremist ideology and said in the aftermath of the Paris attacks that:

“Under no circumstances can murder ever be justified and those who seek to justify their hateful acts in the name of Islam are serving only to defame it in the worse possible way.”

Rafiq Hayat, National President Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, said: “We stand united with all who oppose extremists because our strength stems from our unity. The campaign will send a clear message that IS has nothing to do with Islam and that extremism will never succeed.”

The campaign that has featured a full-page advertisement in national press, will also see the distribution of half a million leaflets across the UK, to highlight Islam’s rejection of extremism and its emphasis on peace.

It has received wide support including from the Government’s Minister for Countering Extremism, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, who said: “We are an incredible, inclusive and progressive nation where the diversity of our communities is our strength. I pay tribute to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who have shown that devotion to faith is the foundation to a selfless desire to serve humanity driven by a deep sense of loyalty to our nation. At time of great human tragedy as we have seen recently with the terrorist atrocities in Paris, the Community has once again issued a resounding and resolute call of peace and unity against the dark forces of extremism which seek to divide us.”

The Prime Minister has also praised the work of the community including its blood drives, charity work and efforts to reach out to all, saying that “Britain can be proud of you. This is true faith in action.”

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Source and Media contacts
Basharat Nazir media@ahmadiyya.org.uk
Tel +447703 483 384
Mahmood Rafiq Tel +447971 060 962