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 Though the said black Act was repealed later on, the minorities did not get back their land snatched away by the Government.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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Afghan journalism student facing death over alleged Islam insult says he was tortured

KABUL, Afghanistan: An Afghan journalism student sentenced to death for allegedly insulting Islam told an appeals court Sunday he confessed to writing materials that questioned the religion’s treatment of women because he was tortured. He denied all charges against him.

During a packed hour-long hearing, a judge read a transcript of the proceedings against 24-year-old Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh on Jan. 22 at a lower court in northern Balkh province.

It was the first time that full details have been revealed of the closed-door trial, which reflected the influence of conservative religious attitudes in post-Taliban Afghanistan’s nascent justice system. The verdict sparked an international outcry.

Kambakhsh was studying journalism at Balkh University in Mazar-i-Sharif and writing for local newspapers when he was arrested Oct. 27.

The transcript said he disrupted his university classes by asking questions about women’s rights under Islam. It also said he distributed an article on the subject and wrote an additional three paragraphs for the piece.

The only people with him in the courtroom during the January hearing in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif were three judges, a court scribe and the prosecutor. Kambakhsh said he had no defense lawyer, and only three minutes to defend himself.

He was transferred to Pul-e Charkhi prison on March 27, and his case was moved to Kabul, where rights groups believed he would have a fair trial.

On Sunday, Kambakhsh spoke in the appeals court in Kabul, again without a defense lawyer.

“I’m Muslim, and I would never let myself write such an article. All these accusations are nonsense,” he said, standing before the judge and addressing the court through a microphone in an emotional 15-minute statement.

“These accusations come from two professors and other students because of private hostilities against me. I was tortured by the intelligence service in Balkh province, and they made me confess that I wrote three paragraphs in this article.”

He did not give any further details about the alleged torture.

Saied Ansari, spokesman for the intelligence service, said it had not received any official information on Kambakhsh’s allegations and declined comment.

According to the Balkh court proceedings, the prosecutor said Kambakhsh admitted writing three paragraphs of the article and had initialed them.

He also was accused of writing, “This is the real face of Islam. … The Prophet Muhammad wrote verses of the holy Quran just for his own benefit.”

Prosecutor Ahmad Khan Ayar told the appeals court that the primary court sentence was “the right decision” according to Islamic law and the Afghan Constitution.

“Kambakhsh has insulted Islam by writing these paragraphs, and he has insulted the Prophet Muhammad,” Ayar said. “I ask the appeals court today to uphold the decision of the primary court of Balkh and sentence him to death.”

A number of rights groups have demanded that the case be annulled and Kambakhsh set free. A U.S. State Department spokesman expressed concern that Kambakhsh was sentenced to death for “basically practicing his profession.”

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said it was concerned that Kambakhsh may have been targeted because his brother, Yaqub Ibrahimi, had written about human rights violations and local politics.

Ibrahimi said the family approached more than 10 lawyers who were initially willing to take on the case but later changed their minds.

A week after Kambakhsh was sentenced, lawmakers in the upper house of Parliament lauded the verdict. Conservative clerics and tribal elders have demanded that the government support the court’s decision.

More than 150 people — including several Western observers and more than 20 journalists — filled the courtroom Sunday to view the proceedings.

Kambakhsh said he did not believe he needed a defense lawyer for his appeal because he had not done anything wrong, but when pressed by the judges on the matter he said he would like to have one.

The head of the three-judge panel, Abdul Salaam Qazizada, adjourned the trial until next Sunday to allow Kambakhsh to meet a lawyer and prepare a written defense.

Afghan media have flourished since the fall of the hard-line Taliban regime following a U.S.-led invasion in 2001. Newspapers and TV and radio stations have opened nationwide.

But journalists face violence for news stories that criticize government leaders, warlords and religious clerics or challenge their often authoritarian views.