Rationalism : A Weapon of Mass Construction
By Imran Hossain
Introductory note by Jahed Ahmed: After I re-joined Mukto-Mona recently, I have seen sporadically some write-ups of Imran Hossain both at M-M Forum and Vinnomot. However, I did not have any personal contact with him until recently we met through online chat. I must admit, Imran Hossain has impressed me so much with his sense of critical inquiry, love and reason that I took time to make him a special request viz. Imran, please, write something for us for Rationalist Day Celebrations! His answer was more than merely an assurance. “I must! Jahed Bhai; because this is what is needed!” While chatting online, I was taken by surprise to discover- despite Imran’s having left Bangladesh for North America at such an early age, and despite presence of his 47 close relatives here; to date, Imran not only misses Bangladesh constantly, but also he thinks actively about her. Any bad news about Bangladesh is a personal bad news for Imran and vice versa. He is no less aware than many of us about rise of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh and the grave threat it poses for our future. He possesses copies of Quran/Hadis in multiple languages. Nevertheless, the biggest surprise I came across only at the end of our online session: Imran is only 22 years old!
Dear readers, I take great pleasure to introduce this exceptionally unique and possibly the youngest Bangladeshi freethinker at our forum before you all. It’s an additional joy to realize, our struggle for a better world is not completely going in vain!
Mukto-Mona Rationalist Day Celebration Committee
1st March, 2004
Rationalism : A Weapon of Mass Construction
By Imran Hossain
I am so proud to join group of rationalists called Mukto-Mona (Freethinker). Pleasure certainly abounds in me so much, every time I remember, the fellow-thinkers mostly hail from the same country as I do. Thanks God (!) I have seen the light (noor) of love and reason at an early stage. The job of a rationalist, in my opinion, is not merely to embarrass or offend a race, culture, or religion, but to scrutinize and revaluate all conventional beliefs centred on an ideology, be it religious or non-religious, with the tools of love and reason. Our ultimate goal is to make the world a safer, a happier and a more beautiful place to live in and to set the world free from racism, terrorism, hatred, and so on. However, as people say, charity begins at home. As a young rationalist of Muslim origin, obviously, I have been affected more by hypocrisies, double standards and mass prejudices prevailing among Muslims including many educated (or simply trained?) individuals than those of non-Muslim origin. Therefore, I consider it a moral obligation of each and every educated Muslim to raise his/her voices against injustices, racism, and narrowness of perspectives of their own society/religion first before finding faults with an ideology or a system of a far remote origin. Thanks to internet! Otherwise, probably I would have never learned about the existence of so many like-minded people. It goes without saying; it would not be possible to publish our free thoughts in any public media back home in Bangladesh. In order to join our group(s), no-one need to follow the foot step of Einstein. One need not worry much about holding a big degree to become a rationalist, what is really needed is a mind free from biases, prejudices and all myth-based bizarre theories. Most of my fellow Muslims do have an organ called brain; unfortunately, I’m not very convinced that they all have mind as well.
People often ask me, “which place are you from?” I take pride often to reply, “I belong to the planet earth”, instead of answering typically, “I am an American or a Bangladeshi”. However, trend is such that most of the time, we judge people based on pre-existing concepts many of which are sometimes deadly wrong and arise from provincial and sectarian religious teachings. For example, Holy Quran strongly discourages Muslims from accepting a Christian or a Jew as a true friend (5:51). How can we accept such narrow-minded teachings given that now we are living in 21st century? When we come across a person, we should try to find his or her inner-self. To me, someone’s skin colour, race, religion, and culture are insignificant. It’s the person within all these coverings, I’m interested to know. In order to establish peace on earth, we need to drive out all sorts of discriminations. We, the humanists/rationalists are trying to eliminate all types of extremism by sensible arguments. Pen is our weapon. We never use any form of procedure other than our sense of reasoning which, I believe, is the greatest gift of nature to mankind. The magnificent progress’ that science and technology have achieved so far is grounded on sense of reasoning and not on any myths.
At a public forum, we encourage people to target a write-ups based on rationale, not the author himself/herself. In contrast, often we do not get published and treated equally by our fellow-species belonging to Islam. We believe, every one in this planet has a right to express his or her ideas. It’s a fundamental human right. We persuade people to hate the sin, not the sinner. Our motivation is to help the people find meaning of life based on love and reason and get rid of irrationalities and prejudices. I am sorry to say that many people of X- belief system are often hurt by our work. But, we are not doing anything other than a work that would ensure a safer and a more meaningful coexistence of all humans in the world. Our belief is reflected in our actions such as at our forum(s) or webs, we allow people from every background as long as
they are tolerant and respectful of alternative opinions to their own and refute them through creative analysis of solid facts and reason. Thus our forum is not consisting of freethinkers only, but of many hardcore believers as well and we enjoy such an ambience of tolerance, mutual respect. Unfortunately, reverse is not always true. Often, Muslim believers are determined not to allow any freethinker at their forum.
We, the rationalists, are very small in number compared to huge mass of believers across the planet. However, I am glad to see that our members are increasing everyday. We emphasize the cultivations of creativity alongside raising voices for basic human rights such as the freedom of speech, equal rights for minority, woman and children. Consequently, Mukto-Mona has turned out to be an impressively diverse internet site for freethinkers of Bangladesh/Bengali origin and glad to say, even beyond. People not only learn about religion, but also art, culture, literature, feminism, history, philosophy, and politics. Be it whatever types, write-ups at this forum are not any folk stories or fairly tales. They lead people to think beyond norms. At least, this has been the case with me! We love to talk with logics. We all have to remember: our life is too short. Nothing should be lost consciously from life. As a human being, let us prove our superiority, if any, in our actions of benevolence, love and reason and not simply in anthropomorphic shapes. Let us do something in our transitory life which will help achieve our goal of a safer and better planet.
I am waiting for such a time when Rationalist Day will be celebrated world wide and not just within internet. So many cultural holidays, religious holidays we have and I am not against it, however, celebrating a day purely for the purpose of love and reason is not only unique but also uplifting for my spirit. If we make any mistakes, please feel free to point it out, we will appreciate that more than any thing else. In addition, you are welcome to write me personally as well.
Wishing you all love!! Wishing you all reason!! Happy Rationalist Day to each and every member of this forum!!
Long live rationalism!!
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