Setara Hashem’s stentorian voice had produced enough cacophony in various e-forums  

Shabbir Ahmed

Published on July 04, 2004


Ms. Setara Hashem wrote a desultory write-up in response to my earlier essay. In my essay, I focused on the need for investigating the teachings of Islam that create obstacles in the progress of any ism (socialism, capitalism, or any mixed system). Ms. Setara Hashem quite unnecessarily wrote on irrelevant issues while rebutting my essay. She even attacked me personally. According to her, I am under hallucination like other Bangladesh-origin freethinkers/secularists.

As it appears to me, “she” thinks anyone who does not agree with her is under hallucination. What a generalization! In my essay, I didn't write anything to attack her personally. I placed my point of views with my arguments. I only expected “her” arguments to rebut my essay. But, “she” chose to use derogatory words to undermine my knowledge and analytical abilities. “She” even suggested "to understand social conflict and has to gather knowledge regarding reasons of present conflict and to identify the people." Regarding “her” knowledge, Mr. Jahed Ahmed showed her areas of deficiency. I thank Mr. Jahed Ahmed to give “her” some well-referenced data and information.

I hope “she” has understood “her” mistakes and lack of knowledge on the information that she communicated based on her wrong ideas. It's never late to correct oneself and it's also never late to learn something new. In this respect, Mr. Jahed Ahmed has done a mighty fine job to educate “her.” But I am doubtful whether Setara Hashem would ever learn anything from anyone in the e-forum.

In her writing, she criticized USA. I wrote that there are many conscious citizens in USA, who would fearlessly criticize the foreign policy of their governments if necessary. I also believe that there are many democratic institutions in USA, which will help correct the mistakes of their government eventually.

There are many freethinkers in USA, who can write fearlessly against any religious doctrine that can cause sufferings to their people. But, in a Muslim dominated country such as Bangladesh, there aren't many people who can come forward to criticize the cruelties of the dominant religion called Islam.

Ms. Setara Hashem prefers not to criticize Islam even though its teachings/practices allow capturing state power and impose barbaric Sha’ria laws. I hope Ms. Setara Hashem understands that the barbaric Sha’ria laws are basically Islamic laws. I'm sure that the freethinkers of Bangladesh (and the world) will stand against these barbaric laws. They'll certainly scrutinize the teachings of Islam that creates Maulanas who try to implement these age-old and barbaric Islamic laws.

Ms Hashem wrote: "A man, who rebuts or bashes religion or Islam, cannot be a secularist." If the Bangladesh-origin freethinkers are labeled as bashers for criticizing the barbaric laws of Islam, then I think there will be more and more bashers until the Islamists modify/rectify their barbaric laws. Ms. Hashem should know that Bertrand Russell, Einstein, et al. criticized the core beliefs based on a personal God. Were they bashers of Judaism or Christianity? In fact, these are the people who helped the progress of civilization and humanity by criticizing the superstitious belief system.

According to Ms. Hashem, thousands of Madrassah-educated people fought against Pakistani Islamists during 1971. It's such a ridiculous claim that there is no need for me to even write anything on it. Only a dunce may say such a thing! The independence war against Pakistan was portrayed by most of the Maulanas as a ploy to destroy both Islam and Pakistan. How can I forget about such lectures of Imams after Friday prayers in 1971? I'm not writing anything from any fictitious ideas. I'm writing from my own experiences. It's not only my own experience.

I suggest Ms. Hashem to read about the experiences of Dr. Humayun Ahmed (novelist) on the role of Maulanas in 1971 (reference: Shadhinotar Bish Bochor Por (Twenty Years after the Independence), published probably in 1992).

On top-down policy, I didn't mean to impose anything by force. I meant that the intellectuals and politicians around Bangabandhu realized the need for the separation of politics/state from religion long before the common mass realized about it. They considered secularism as one of the major principles for the progress of Bangladesh in 1971. They didn't try to impose it rather they constantly tried to convince the people.

The role of the Islamic political parties in conducting genocide in 1971 made it a necessity to ban their vicious Islamic politics. After independence, the Bangalees rightfully identified the political Islamists as the vicious communal forces.

The majority accepted the banning of the Islamic communalists because Bangabandhu got the mandate in the election held in March 1973. Unfortunately, the political Islamists didn't give up their dream to make Bangladesh an Islamic Republic a la Pakistan. They continued their vicious propaganda against secularism in religious gatherings. Ms. Hashem wants to regulate them. How can she regulate them? They get inspiration from their scriptures to regulate all including her and anyone else.

The Mullahs think that they've the authority based on their scriptures to veil Ms. Hashem and others like her under a mobile prison called Burqah. They can give authority to her husband, if she has one, to beat her if she repeatedly disobeys him. Judging from her attitude, she might disobey her husband!

The Mullahs could stone her to death if she lays her eyes on another man and fall in love in the process. If her husband gives divorce at some point of time, they won't let her come back to her dear husband without undergoing a hilla marriage (an intermediate form of marriage, which needs to be consummated). They won't let her drive. They won't even let her go out alone. Please don't take me amiss. Please don't take anything personally. I just wanted to show how cruel the Islamic rules are for a woman.

The rules are also cruel for anyone who has some analytical abilities. They'll kill if they declare anyone as a Murtaad (apostate). The Maulanas are the ones who give Fatwas to kill. They issue Fatwas citing the verses of their Holy Scriptures. I'm sure she (Setara) read the recent Fatwa against Professor Muntasir Mamun and two other professors issued by none other than a group of Maulanas.

If they succeed in capturing power, then their Fatwas will become the state laws. They'll be the judges, jury and all. Of course, they'll read the verses from the scriptures while issuing the verdict for amputation, hilla marriage, beheading, and whatnot for silly reasons. Before that happens, we must look into the scriptures and disseminate the information to make the current and future generations aware of the vicious rules and the pernicious forces of political Islam.

I always thank and appreciate those who have come forward to expose the hidden face of political Islam. I don't think Ms. Hashem has proper knowledge on this vicious philosophy of Islam even though she masquerades as a know-it-all pundit. But her knowledge seems to be confined to leaflet-based materials on Marxism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc. I would request her to read and understand before she gives unnecessary advices/suggestions to others. She wants to be “Dear Abbey” amongst Bengalis. I would also like to inform her that I wouldn't debate again with her for her sophistry on irrelevant issues. I would rather not listen to her stentorian voice. All her cacophony must stop in the Net!

Dr. Shabbir Ahmed, a research engineer and cyber commentator, writes from Jacksonville, Florida, USA. He can be reached at