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 Though the said black Act was repealed later on, the minorities did not get back their land snatched away by the Government.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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Non-Muslims To Lose Citizenship Under New Constitution

Information minister Mohamed Nasheed has admitted on his personal blog that Maldivians who convert away from Islam, or who are children of Maldivians married to non-Muslims, risk losing their citizenship of the country under the constitution in progress.

The issue is believed to have been raised with government by international diplomats visiting Maldives during the development of the constitution.

A prominent lawyer who wished to remain anonymous told Minivan News the clause was “not practical” and would “formally introduce asylum seekers from the Maldives”, doing “more harm than good in the international community”.

He also acknowledged “practical” issues with the clause, saying it would be difficult to implement.

But Nasheed says a last-minute change is unlikely, because “it will be very difficult for Maldives mentality to accept Maldives citizens may belong to a different faith…No Maldives leader would want to rock the boat.”

The anonymous lawyer agreed public pressure was likely to prevent parliamentarians from opposing the clause.

The constitution has still not been finalised, and the attorney general’s office (AGO) has now raised over 200 issues of consistency, wording and practicality, to be addressed by the constitutional drafting committee and Special Majlis (constitutional assembly) before ratification. However the citizenship question does not appear on the list.

And presidential candidates were reluctant to adopt a position on the issue ahead of the country’s first multi-party presidential elections, expected once the constitution comes into force.

Former attorney general Dr Hassan Saeed, now standing as an independent candidate, said the issue was of “very little relevance” as “we do not have a non-Muslim population”.

Mohamed Nasheed (Anni), contesting on the largest opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) ticket, said the MDP “can’t have a position outside the constitution”.

However another candidate, Umar Naseer of the Islamic Democratic Party (IDP), said to local newspaper Miadhu: “In my government there would be no chance [of] any other religion.”

And Sheikh Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari, head of the religious Adhaalath party scholars’ council, told Minivan News in a May 13 interview he personally supported the tightening of citizenship regulation.

Citizenship is dealt with in the existing constitution, in force since 1998, in clause 5, which reads as follows: “Persons mentioned herein below shall be citizens of the Maldives: (a) every person who is a citizen of the Maldives at the commencement of this Constitution; (b) every child born to a citizen of the Maldives; and (c) every foreigner who, in accordance with the law, becomes a citizen of the Maldives.”

But the constitution in progress adds additional subclauses which specify (in unofficial translation) that “citizenship cannot be wrested away from a citizen of the Maldives”, “Any person who wishes to relinquish his citizenship may do so in accordance with law,” and “despite [earlier] provisions…a non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives.”

Despite the wording specifying citizenship cannot be “wrested away”, lawyers and government interpret the clause as removing citizenship from those who leave Islam or are children of non-Muslims.

“No Maldives politician would want to take the case up,” said Nasheed on his blog. Yet, he contends, “they all would privately agree that citizenship of the country he is born in, or his parents belong to, is…a human right.”

The anonymous lawyer said that because parliament is televised and “they [MPs] want to get re-elected”, a change through parliament was unlikely, but also said it would be “difficult” to reduce the impact of the clause through legislation.