Non-Muslim Minorities in Bangladesh: Victim of Bloody Religious Persecution

At last the Department of State of the Government of USA has admitted through a circular issued on September 14, 2007, that the religious minorities, e.g. the Christians, Buddhists and the Hindus, are being persecuted brutally in Bangladesh by the Muslims. According to a press report appeared in the 17th September edition of the Kolkata based Bengali daily Bartaman, the circular says that the entire non-Muslim population, belonging to religious communities of Hinduism, Buddhism etc are victims of violent religious discrimination and torture by the Muslims, the majority religious group. The circular also says that, though Dhaka speaks of religious tolerance and freedom of religion, the attack on religious minorities has recently assumed a extremely savage and fierce. These unfortunate people are targeted for all kinds brutal and barbaric atrocities.

The report says that, as a result of this inhuman religious discrimination, minorities are losing their lives and properties. After the formation of independent Bangladesh in 1971, the Government grabbed Hindu land with the help of the so called “Vested Property Act”. Though the said black Act was repealed later on, the minorities did not get back their land snatched away by the Government. By a verdict in 2001, the Bangladeshi Supreme Court had directed the government to return the land, grabbed with the help of the said black Act, to the real owner. In spite of that, few Hindus could get back their land. According to a Professor of the University of Dhaka, nearly 2 million Hindu families have, so far, lost about 40,000 acres of agricultural fertile land. Many are convinced that this is only a tiny tip of an iceberg. In fact, land grabbing is a enshrined policy of jihad against the kafirs as ordained by Allah in Koran. Prophet Mohammad had taught this lesson in his life time by driving away the Jews of Medina, belonging to the Beni Nazir and Beni Kanuika clan and slaughtering the Jews of Beni Koreiza en-masse and acquiring their land and property.

It is difficult for an ordinary individual to guess the social condition of non-Muslim kafirs in an Islamic State. Koran does not consider these kafirs as human beings. Allah has condemned them as godless beasts and has empowered the Muslims to heap any kind of atrocity and torture on them. Not only that, he is alluring such oppressors of rewards in the Paradise. So, an Islamic court in an Islamic Country does not consider such atrocities even a crime at all. And the reality is that, in such a country, judiciary is heavily influenced by the religion of Islam and cannot play neutral in giving verdicts.

That is why the US circular has said that in Bangladesh, the government and its machineries are heavily influenced by religion and hence they cannot do much to stop all such religious discriminations. Not to speak of Hindus and Buddhists, even the Ahmadiyas, a sect of Islam, have declared non-Muslims and turning victims of similar religious discriminations.

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Whitewashing the Thai Jihad

By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, May 30, 2008

In a story Wednesday on a jihadist attack on a wedding party and other jihad activity in Thailand, Agence France Presse added a concluding paragraph that was typical of mainstream media coverage of the Thai jihad and of jihad activity in general. For while AP, Reuters, AFP and the rest never saw a piece of Palestinian propaganda they didn’t like, they also never saw a jihad they couldn’t whitewash.

AFP’s concluding paragraph blandly placed all the blame for the conflict on the non-Muslim Thai government:

More than 3,000 people have been killed since separatist unrest broke out in January 2004 in the south, which was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until mainly Buddhist Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.

All was well, you see, until the Buddhists of Thailand, motivated apparently only by rapacious imperialism, annexed the poor autonomous Malay Muslim Sultanate. AFP does not mention, of course, that the Malay Sultanate at that time was making war against the Siamese during the war between Siam and Burma, and Thailand conquered it in that context — making it Thai by a right of conquest that has been universally recognized throughout human history (except, of course, when it comes to Israel and to any Muslim land that is conquered by non-Muslims).

Along with this come the media’s allergy to the word “jihad,” and its frequent recourse to the passive voice when discussing what the jihadists did. Sometimes inanimate objects act, apparently of their own accord. For example, in a March story on bombings in southern Thailand, Reuters’ lead paragraph stated: “Bombs killed three men and wounded 21 people in three separate attacks in Thailand’s troubled Muslim far south, police said on Sunday.” Reuters gives no hint as to who is doing the bombing and who are the victims – which in itself is a clear indication that the bombers are not the government or pro-government vigilantes, but jihadists.

The story continues in this vein. Its second paragraph tells us that a bomb was hidden in the car, but with no hint as to by whom. In paragraph 5 we learn that in the three southern provinces, “2,500 people have been killed in gun and bomb attacks since a separatist insurgency erupted in January 2004.” The separatist insurgency just erupted, you see, like a volcano. It was an act of God, a force of nature. Here again Reuters gives the reader no hint as to who the separatist insurgents are, or who killed the overwhelming majority of those 2,500 people. In paragraph 6, we learn how the “suspected militants” set off another bomb, but once again are given no hint as to who these militants are.

Same thing in paragraph 7: unidentified “insurgents” ambush the security forces. In paragraph 8, it’s simply a “bomb,” a random, accidental object, that unaccountably wounded four people. But also in that paragraph we learn that this is all taking place in “the three far south provinces which formed an independent sultanate until annexed by Thailand a century ago.” Reuters and AFP are in step on this: the only background they give suggests that Thailand is entirely responsible for provoking the conflict, and should simply have left the Malay Muslims alone.

Only in paragraph 10 of the Reuters story are we finally told that “Buddhist monks” are among the chief targets of the still-unidentified “militants” — which should lead the informed reader to identify them as Islamic jihadists and Sharia supremacists. But they come to that identification with no help from Reuters.

In reality, the Thai jihadists are uniquely brutal even by the standards of their jihadist brethren, and are fighting to correct the outrage, as they see it, of non-Muslim rule over a Muslim population in southern Thailand. But the AFP and Reuters stories exemplify the kind of coverage that jihad activity receives from the mainstream media as a matter of course. The perpetrators of jihad violence are not identified, their ideology is never discussed, and the conflicts they provoke are blamed on their victims. This kind of coverage is of a piece with the U.S. government’s new see-no-jihad, speak-no-jihad, hear-no-jihad policy: both appear to be based on wishful thinking. Both seem to emanate from the idea that if we simply do not allow ourselves to notice jihad activity, it will somehow fade away from neglect. If we pretend that Islam is peaceful, violent Muslims will lay down their arms.

The price we will have to pay for these fantasies could be very high.

Religious Authority Warns Women against Perfume, Flirtation (Turkey)

Secular Turks say the government’s religious authority has gone too far by advising women not to flirt with strangers or wear perfume outside their homes. The article is expected to further inflame a debate about the role of religion in the secular nation.

Is wearing perfume a sin? Or casting a flirtatious gaze at a man? According to an article recently published on the Web site of Turkey’s directorate for religious affairs, Diyanet, it is.

The article, which is drawing criticism in Turkey and raising attention abroad, essentially chalks women up as walking aphrodisiacs and puts the onus on them to cover up and prevent themselves from sexually stimulating men in any way outside their homes.

“Women have to be more careful, since they have stimulants,” the article states, according to a report in the Guardian. “The women communicating with strange men should speak in a manner that will not arouse suspicion in one’s heart and in such seriousness and dignity that they will not let the opposite party misunderstand them, that they should not show their adornments and figure and that they should cover in a fine manner.” It even goes so far as to equate flirtation with adultery, according to critics.

The article also discourages women from wearing perfume. “His highness the Prophet Muhammad did not think kindly of women who put on perfumes outside their homes and go strolling and saw this as immoral behavior,” it continues.

The article also reportedly said women should not spend time together with men in private unless married and questioned the virtues of mixed-sex workplaces.

Generally, Diyanet has promoted a moderate form of Islam and the article threatens to further inflame a roaring debate about the role of religion in what is constitutionally a secular state. The Islam-rooted Justice and Development Party of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is currently facing a legal challenge in the country’s highest court, accused of undermining the secular principles upon which Turkey was founded, and faces the possibility of a ban in the future.

“It’s like a comedy,” writes Yusuf Kanli, a columnist with the pro-secular Turkish Daily News, “but the article appeared on the Web site of a state institution that is supposed to regulate the practice of Islam in the country according to the teachings (as perceived by the Turkish government) of Islam rather than those of some Islamist orders or brotherhood organizations. … Is this mentality different at all with that of the Taliban that placed Afghan women behind chadors?”

Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, established Diyanet in 1924 to ensure that Islam did not interfere with the country’s strictly secular government. Although Diyanet has no legal authority, it is highly influential as the custodian of the Muslim faith in the country. It is in charge of the country’s 70,000 clerics and is also responsible for appointing Turkey’s imams.

GAY ASSOCIATION CLOSED FOR IMMORALITY (Turkey)

(ANSAmed) – ANKARA, MAY 29 – A Turkish court ruled today the closure of the only gay rights association in Turkey after the prosecutor had said it violated the family protection and public morality laws, Turkish agency Anadolu reported. The agency added that the ruling was issued by a court in the Beyoglu district, in Istanbul’s centre, against the LambdaIstanbul group set up in 1993. Three years ago, the deputy governor of Ankara asked for the closure of the ‘Kaos’ association in which gays and lesbians living in the Turkish capital had joined, calling for the application of a norm which bans associations “against the law and morality”. However, the Ankara prosecutor rejected the request. Unlike the other Muslim states, homosexuality has never been a crime in Turkey, but is surrounded by a widespread social criticism with the exception of Istanbul’s European districts where there are various places of meeting reserved for homosexuals, without this sparking off scandal. Nevertheless, there are no laws for protecting the homosexuals from discrimination. (ANSAmed).

Ten Christian converts arrested (Iran)

Tehran, 28 May (AKI) – Ten Iranians who converted from Islam to Christianity in recent months have been arrested in the southern city of Shiraz.

According to Goodarz, a spokesperson for the Iranian converts, more than 35 of them have been arrested since the beginning of the year. Goodarz himself has taken refuge in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

The new Majlis or Iranian parliament which met for the first time on Tuesday will be discussing in the coming weeks proposed laws presented by the government to reform the penal code.

Under the new law, anyone born to a Muslim father who decides to renounce Islam and convert to another faith, faces the death penalty.

The punishment is currently absent from the Iranian penal code even though in the past, dozens of Christian converts and followers of the Bahai faith have been hanged.

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Gambia To Behead Homosexuals?

Gay rights activists have condemned Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s threat to behead homosexuals.

Last week he told a political rally that gay people had 24 hours to leave the country.

He promised “stricter laws than Iran” on homosexuality and said he would “cut off the head” of any gay person found in The Gambia.

Carey Johnson of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Council said the comments were “disgraceful”.

“What president Jammeh fails to realise is that there are a significant population of Gambians who are gay, and he has no right to ask them to leave,” Mr Johnson said.

The speech was “doubly disgraceful” because The Gambia is the host country for the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, he said.

Mr Johnson said the speech, part of President Jammeh’s 13-day tour of the country, was an attempt to scapegoat gay people and blame them for the country’s ills.

“He’s fighting to maintain his control over the country, he finds the weakest group and lays all the problems at their door,” Mr Johnson said.

‘History of homophobia’

“The Gambia is a country of believers… sinful and immoral practices [such] as homosexuality will not be tolerated in this country,” the president told a crowd at a political rally on May 15.

“Jammeh has a long history of homophobia,” said British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.

“If he tries to carry out these threats, international aid donors are likely to withdraw their support, and foreign tourists will stay away in droves, thereby damaging the Gambian economy,” he added.

Correspondents say a number of homosexual men have fled to The Gambia from neighbouring Senegal after a crackdown there following arrests at a “gay wedding” in February.

Both countries are predominantly Muslim and President Jammeh cultivates an image of being a devout Muslim.

In February last year, he was condemned by campaigners when he claimed to have cured people of HIV and Aids.

His “cure” was a mixture of herbs that patients ate and spread on their bodies.

Iran Launches Fresh Crackdown on Anti-Islamic Websites

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian authorities have blocked access to several websites and blogs of women’s rights advocates and journalists critical of the government, a press report said on Tuesday.

The move follows a new directive sent out by a committee tasked with identifying illegal websites to Internet service providers, the reformist Etemad Melli newspaper said without giving a source.

“There seems to be a tougher approach this time as some sites and weblogs belonging to women’s rights and human rights campaigners, writers critical of the government and well-known journalists” have been singled out, it said.

Internet providers in Iran have in recent years been told to block access to hundreds of political, human rights and women’s sites and weblogs for expressing dissent or deemed to be pornographic and anti-Islamic.

The report said several feminist websites including Meydaan-e Zanan (Women’s Field), Kanoon Zanan Irani (Iranian Women’s Centre), Shir Zanan which covers women’s sporting events, and “Change for Equality” have been blocked.

The ban has targeted the “One Million Signatures” campaign websites launched in different Iranian cities as well as in Germany, Kuwait, Cyprus and California in the United States, the report said.

The campaign seeks to change the Islamic republic’s laws for women in marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody by collecting signatures online and in person.

The ban has also targeted popular social networking sites and news sites, while several cyber journalists and bloggers have been detained.

With more than half the 70-million-strong population aged under 30, Iran has one of the highest number of bloggers in the world. Persian-language blogs have multiplied since a crackdown on the reformist press in 2000.