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.

Continue reading

#Books4Future: Letters from Kenya – Benny

Keny Letters 1

My name is Benny James Ohero. I am nine years old. I am in standard 3 at Star of the Land Education Centre. I like mathematics very much.

I live with my parents and me being first born. At school I am always number one. This makes my parents happy. I like reading but we do not have story books. This makes me to borrow books from friends in other schools.

I like school because it helps me know how to read and write. Sometimes it is hard to read and write because we have few books.

If we can have a library I will learn more new things than now. I am happy that GMA will bring us more books in our school. It is great because all children will read too.

Make Benny’s dream come true and help all children of Kibera to be good readers. Donate now: www.bit.do/Books4Future

]

#LahoreBlast: Terror hits Pakistani Christians on Easter Day

Global Minorities Alliance condemns the terror attack on Christians in Pakistan in Gulsan-e-Iqbal Park, Lahore, Pakistan while families were celebrating Easter on Sunday 27 March, 2016. The terror attack has claimed 69 lives (at the time of writing) and reports claim that around 300 are injured. The Government of Pakistan has announced national mourning for three days.

The atrocious act of violence has hit mostly women and children in the eastern city of Pakistan and is thought to be one of the worst attacks that has hit Pakistan’s biggest minority.  GMA condemns the attack and urges the Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif to take all measures to uproot terrorism in the country and ensure safety of its religious minorities.

“Our thoughts go out to the bereaved families who lost their loved ones, especially the women and children who are mostly effected in this tragedy. This is a coward attack on the innocent civilians and we condemn such barbarous acts against the defenceless citizens of Pakistan”, said Manassi Bernard, GMA’s Chief Executive.

Global Minorities Alliance also commends Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, on his  stance of activating the ‘safety check mode’ to make sure that people in the area can let their friends know that they are safe.