By Adi Chowdhury
Bangladeshi clerics have issued a fatwa against the killings of minorities and secular campaigners in the mainly Muslim country, where police have arrested over 10,000 people in a crackdown on militancy.
In an act of tentatively placing a foot out of the steady yet sinuous stream of killings against around 50 secular Bengalis as well as minority groups, clerics of the nation have issued an edict stating that such slaughters are “acts of terrorism.” Stunningly, 100,000 religious clerics had signed the fatwa. The official edict will be made public on June 18.
Well, my country’s finally growing up, it looks like!
The head of the Council of Bangladesh Clerics, Farid Uddin Masuod, had this to say:
“The fatwa unequivocally said these killings of non-Muslims, minorities and secular activists are forbidden in Islam. We’ve said these killings are illegal and are crimes against humanity. The fatwa clearly says these killings are not a just part of Jihad, but mere acts of terrorism.”
The government of Bangladesh, far from striving to actively combat the slaughterings, has even descended to victim-blaming when it comes to the killings of Bengali atheists. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had sunk to a new low when she issued this statement:
“We perform our religious rituals. But, if anyone writes filthy words against our religion, why should we tolerate that? (..)… But, I consider such writings as not free thinking but filthy words. Why anyone would write such things? It’s not at all acceptable if anyone writes against our prophet or other religions. This is a characteristic fault, expression of a distorted or filthy mindset. I hope no one would write such filthy things.(..).. Why the government would take responsibility if such writings lead to any untoward incidents? Everyone should maintain decency. Or else the government wouldn’t take the responsibility for any uncivilized attitude. (..). But, if anyone doesn’t abide by the guidance of Almighty Allah and his prophet and thus kill people, it is ‘Shirk’. I hope no one would indulge in such act.”
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan informed that the government would “search through the writings” of Nazimuddin Samad, a blogger who was hacked to death, to see if he wrote anything “hurtful towards religion.” In every sense of the word, this is a laughably counter-productive solution.
But, as the religious clerics unveil their decision to condemn the killings, perhaps things are looking up for the future of civil liberties in Bangladesh.