‘Bangladesh Finalizes Agreement to Build Buddhist Monastery in Lumbini, Nepal’ was the headline of the Hong Kong-based Global Buddhist Door’s news headline on October 11
‘Bangladesh Finalizes Agreement to Build Buddhist Monastery in Lumbini, Nepal’ was the headline of the Hong Kong-based Global Buddhist Door’s news headline on October 11. Can anyone imagine a Muslim country building a Buddhist monastery in Hindu-majority Nepal? Dhaka has the intention to project Bangladesh as a non-communal country. But some barbaric elements and criminals are trying to damage Bangladesh’s prestige by orchestrating communal violence.
Bangladesh’s record of communal harmony is well known. Its people believe in the thinking that religion is everyone's festival and everyone must equally respect all faiths. But people who have anti-Bangladesh sentiments don’t think so. They wait for opportunities to commit communal frenzy. Recent events surrounding Durga Puja celebrations in Bangladesh proved this again.
Bangladesh wedded to secularism
Some miscreants spread rumors through social media to destabilize peace and stability in Bangladesh, a secular country that tries to ensure the rights of all ethnic and religious groups. Bengali culture is synonymous with inter-communal harmony. It is one of the countries where Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and various ethnic tribes live together largely in peace.
But incidents of vandalism of Durga idols in Bangladesh created tensions. The people who committed the crime must face the law. No one has the right to bother or disturb anyone.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government believes in communal harmony. She tries her best to attend all religious and cultural events. Anyone can understand that she is committed to ensure the rights of all groups.
Bangladesh is committed to protect the rights of all groups because its journey as an independent nation started through the participation of people from all walks of life in the 1971 liberation war. The Bengali nation consists of multiple religions. Bengalis hold on to the spirit of the liberation war.
Bangladesh has sheltered Rohingyas from Myanmar and take back its own Chakmas. It wants to ensure peace in the region in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Rioters Must Be Punished
Those who insulted the Holy Qur'an and attacked and vandalized the Durga puja pandals don’t symbolize the mindset of the Bangladeshi people. Basically, that was terrorism in the name of religion. It is true that each and every religion teaches tolerance towards others. Whatever happened recently in Comilla, Chandpur, Chittagong and Rangpur do not symbolize Bangladesh.
The perpetrators of the communal violence must be given exemplary punishment. I am sure the Bangladesh government will do that. The Prime Minister did well to promptly meet members of the Hindu community. Bangladeshis respect all religious festivals and these are national holidays. Please don’t blame Bangladesh for the recent incidents.
(The writer, from Dhaka, is Bangladesh-based NGO activist and researcher-writer on international relations. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at email@example.com)