28 August 2006
Mukto-Mona, Shabdaguchha & Other South Asian/Bangladeshi Secular Organizations Condemn Death Threats Issued to Eminent Secularists in Bangladesh
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion & expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference & to seek, receive & impart information & ideas through any media & regardless of frontiers."
- UN Universal Declaration of Human rights, Article-19
Recently, in Bangladesh, Islami Chatra Shibir, the militant student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami--a coalition partner in the ruling government--has issued death threats to two eminent secular intellectuals in the country. The two individuals, Hasan Azizul Haque—a Professor of Philosophy at the Rajshahi University and a revered litterateur--and Prof. Zafar Iqbal (also a popular writer) at the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology have been issued death threats in that- their attempts at teaching the values of secularism, democracy and science to youth make them nastik-murtads or filthy atheists if one wants a literal translation. That a student organization could issue such a condemnation of two reputable academicians is regrettable in itself, the worst part in this is that the two professors have been warned in graphic detail that their tongues would be cut out, that they would have their throats slit etc.
The Jamaat-e-Islami is not an organization without its supporters outside Bangladesh. It is ironic that Mr. Richard Boucher—US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs—has certified the same fascist Jamaat-e-Islami as a ‘democratic party’ (Ref. https://gold.mukto-mona.com/Articles/jahed/shibir_threats.htm) during his recent trip to Dhaka at a time when US is known to be at a war on terror worldwide. It may be recalled, these kind of intolerant and jingoist attitudes of fundamentalist Jamaat-Shibir gang is not new in its history. In the past, Jamaat MP Maolana Delwar Hossain Saidee (blacklisted by US Dept. of State), a demagogue of political Islam, had slurred late Prof. and author Humayun Azad after his book “Pak Bad Sar Jamin” was published and demanded that “blasphemy law be introduced in Bangladesh"(Ref. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mukto-mona/message/14785).Prior to Azad, target of Saidee’s constant slur was another renowned atheist and humanist late Prof. Ahmed Shariff. Most of us are also aware that because of the same gang of Islamists' continuous death threats & fatwas, renowned feminist author Taslima Nasrin is on exile to date. Also it was not long ago that the Jammat-Shibir gang had been reported to be involved in the conspiracy and murder of Prof. Yunus, another vocal voice for secularism, at Rajshahi University in Bangladesh. Those familiar with the history of Bangladesh’s liberation war of 1971 still vividly recall- how Jamaat-Shibir gang collaborated with the West Pakistani army to assassin some of the country’s brightest secular minds on the night of 14th December—just a few days before the country was liberated.
It’s quite appalling that Jamaat-Shibir, on one hand, doesn’t miss a single opportunity to proclaim itself as a “modern Islamic party”, and on the other hand, continues to do everything it takes including murders and killings to establish a theocratic state based on sharia law. This is, however, not any hidden agenda of Jamaat. “We did not join the government in power simply to enjoy the share of bread and butter; and ownerships of the cars-houses. Our major aim is Islamic revolution. Should Jamaat ever come to power (on our own) ; we shall introduce Sharia-law (into the country),” said chief leader (ameer) of Jamaat-e-Islami and then Industry minister Maolana Matiur Rahman Nizami during a speech in 2003.
As a committed secular organization, we, on behalf of Mukto-Mona, Shabdaguchha, Durdesh, Satrong and other secular humanist organizations listed below condemn this threat to the two secular intellectuals in the strongest possible terms. We call for immediate action by the government of Bangladesh against the issuers of this threat and call for the international community to recognize the danger Jamayat-Shibir gang is posing to the people of Bangladesh.
1. Jahed Ahmed
& Tanbira Talukdar
Mukto-Mona Humanist Network
2. Prof. Ajoy Roy
Shikkha Andolon Mancha
3. Hasanal Abdullah
Shabdaguchha , a bilingual international poetry magazine
4. Saleem Samad
TIME (Asia) Magazine
DurDesh South Asian news every hour, 24 hours
5. Dr. Nuran Nabi
Former Chief Scientist
Colgate, New Jersey.
Bangabondhu Parisad, USA
Bangladeshi Americans Against Terrorism (BAAT), USA
6. Syed Mohammed Ullah
Weekly Probashi, New York
International Forum for a Secular Democratic Bangladesh, NY
Ekattorer Ghatok Dalal Nirmul Committee, USA chapter
7. Nondini Hussain
8. Dr. Mohsin Ali
Bangladesh Human Rights Watch
9. Khandakhar Gias Uddin
Mrs. Lutfun Nahar Lata
Former Drama Actress, Bangladesh Television (BTV)
Swadhinotar Chetona Moncho
10. Webcommune Yahoo groups, New York
CCs sent to:
PEN USA Chapter
US State Dept.
Center for Inquiry (CFI) International
Council for Secular Humanism
The New York Times
The Washington Post
New Age, Bangladesh