Bangladesh would face serious problem from Islamic fascists, if it fails to change her Islamizing social and political course, and embrace secular pluralism...
Benjamin Franklin, American political leader and scientist, advocated, “When you're finished changing, you're finished.” Any hope for the future comes to an end for an individual when their ability to change comes to an end. As something ends and something else must begin to inspire one to move forward. Winston Churchill asserted, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.”
A positive change in the right direction is the highest need in South Asia, especially for Bangladesh. The areas of society and politics are groaning for change in Bangladesh. Yet the nation has failed to see positive and lasting change in its social life and politics. The question is whether change is a choice or a challenge before the nation.
The nation of Bangladesh was born out of an armed conflict pitting West Pakistan against East Pakistan. After nine-month bloody war, the Pakistan Army of West Pakistan finally surrendered on December 16, 1971, when the Mukti Bahini, a guerrilla force supporting independence of East Pakistan, assisted by an Indian force, decisively defeated it. During the war, there were widespread killings, rapes and arsons, carried out by the Pakistan Army with support from treacherous Islamic militias of East Pakistan. Up to three million people were killed; some 200,000 women, tortured and raped, gave birth to thousands of war-babies.
The nation of Bangladesh was the result of a positive, dynamic change. Prominent writer Nathaniel Branden said, “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” The nation of Bangladesh was created with a deep desire for secularism. But soon after its birth, particularly after the assassination of founder father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, it took an Islamic term and was declared, not long after, an Islamic state through a constitutional change.
Almost four decades after the war for independence, while some politicians and parties are calling for the removal of “Islam as the state religion” from the constitution, none of them are standing up for the principle of secularism that was put forth in Bangladesh’s original constitution.
Bangladesh challenged sectarianism and religious fanaticism in 1971, which led to its birth, but the world today look at her with the fear of Islamic terrorism.
Bangladesh remains a threat to the world due to its expanding Islamic terrorism and will become leading global threat in coming years. Political Islam is deeply ingrained in the way of life and politics of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is under attack from within by a power that controls the popular consciousness and life of the nation, i.e. 'Islam'.
The non-Muslim minorities paid the highest price during the Bangladesh’s Liberation War against Islamist Pakistan army and its local Islamic allies, but the nation has failed to recognize their sacrifice. The minorities are persecuted by state-backed Islamic fascists in all kinds of ways, which is very visible. They were persecuted during the Liberation War for being non-Muslim enemy of Pakistan; today they are being persecuted again for having a different religious faith. And the state has done nothing to secure their rights. The war is run by Islamic fascists against secular forces.
Discrimination is clearly visible if one looks at the presence of minorities in the state machinery. In almost four decades, no minority person has the chance to be prime minister or president of the nation.
Recently, the government decided to change the name of the BDR (Bangladesh Rifles, the border security force) for undertaking a mutiny, in which more than 50 army officers were killed by the native paramilitary forces.
Bangladesh has failed greatly in various ways. And what Bangladesh needs is a change of its national psyche, its social and political course. Benjamin Franklin said, “When you're finished changing, you're finished.”
Yes, if Bangladesh fails to change as a whole and move towards progressive political naturalism, the nation will face more than a BDR mutiny in the near future.
William Gomes in an ex-Muslim from Bangladesh.