Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence


Annex 1

  There has been an exponential rise of militant Islam in Bangladesh under the patronage of the ruling Islamic nationalist Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia. The armed cadres of her own Islamic nationalist party, BNP, and her Islamic extremist partners in the government, the Jamaat-E-Islami, and Islamic Unity Council, along with other militant Islamists are conducting barbaric atrocities against the countries dwindling minorities. They want to rid the country of its 20 million minorities thus transforming it into a monolithic Islamic state, like Taliban Afghanistan. The government harbours militant Islamists, Afghanistan veteran Al-Qaeda Warriors, who are training Islamic jihadis in the country's 64,000 madrassahs. Please act without delay to (i) stem the surge of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh thus preventing the country from turning into another Afghanistan, and (ii) save the country's minorities who are living there like caged animals or the Jewish people in Hitler's Germany. In 1204, there had been no Muslim people in Bangladesh, only the Hindu and Buddhist. In 1947, 40% of the Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and the other religious minorities were residing in Bangladesh (the then East Pakistan). In 1965, the Enemy Property Act was passed. It means if any one from a Hindu family would flee to India, an enemy's country, their land property would be confiscated. This Act still exists for the Hindu in the name of Vested Property Act 1971: in the liberation War with Pakistan, three million people were killed, 250,000 women including children were raped, nine million people were driven out of the country, 80% of whose were the religious minorities.(Hindu, Buddhist, Christian) (Bangladesh: a portrait of covert genocide, USA, p-iii) 1988: In 8th amendment, "Islam" was declared "the State religion in Bangladesh." This has openly pushed the people of other faiths in the second grade status which is a flagrant violation of Human Rights.

  An Exponential Escalation in Religious & Ethnic Cleansing: A Glimpse of the picture of today's Bangladesh (Last six weeks):

    —  19 November: 11 Hindus were burnt alive (including a four day old boy, two minor girls of age 11 & 7, one teenage girl (17) and a 70 year old man) at Banshkhali in Chittagong, Bangladesh (All national dailies). Government is trying to portray this as a robbery.

    —  3 November: "Convert to Islam in seven days or Face death", an ultimatum to Hindus by Harkat-E-Islam Al-Jihad in Manikgang. The letter says: "Listen the Kafirs (Non-believers), Jews and the infidels, you are living in a Muslim country . . . Our mission is to annihilate people like you . . . Our main objective is to exterminate people like you" (Sangbaad, 3 November).

    —  12 November: Gang rape, plucking of both the eyes and killing of Radha Rani Saha of Thakurgaon. Radha, mother of four and wife of Malin C Saha was gang raped and then brutally killed. Police did nothing, no one arrested although everybody knows Rafiqul Islam, Yunus Ali and Naziruddin of Chilarong Telipara village did the heinous act of barbarism (BHBCOP).

    —  18 October: Minority tribal girl Bobita Rani Bobby was gang raped by criminals and as well as by two police at Hatgangapara, Bagmara, Rajshahi (Sonali Sangbad).

    —  14 November: 10 member of a minority Hindu family stabbed in broadday light for resisting abduction of an 18 year old girl Sabita Rani Mallick in Brahmanbaria (Vorer Kagaj).

    —  14 November: 7 members of a Hindu family abducted and two acres of land grabbed in Banaripara, Barisal. Police did nothing (Sangbad).

    —  24 October: Vandals raid temple, set Lord Shiva's image on fire in Manikgang (Daily Star). No actions taken.

    —  14 November: Temple desecrated and Shitala idol beheaded in Gouranadi, Barisal, none were arrested (Sangbad).

    —  28 October: A destitute Hindu widow Kamala Rani Sarkar (60) of 41 D.N.Road. Nandipara, Narayanganj was evicted from her own home, everything looted, deity desecrated. Government official involved (HRCBM, Dhaka).

    —  12 November: Torture of Gyanendra Bain and demand of Ziziya kar (Infidel security tax) in Gopalganj, Faridpur (Jugantor).

  08.02.1989: 400 Muslim from a neighbouring village attacked Hindus at Sobahan village, in Comilla. December, 1992: the Bangladeshi Muslim extremists attacked the Hindu. 15 Hindus were murdered, 2,600 women were raped, and 3,600 temples razed, 200,000 rendered homeless, though 08.12.1992: In Bhola, 10,000 families rendered homeless. Several areas in Bhola became "Wasteland". On 15.12.1992: Only in Chittagong, 700 Hindu houses reduced to ashes. 02.10.2001: Purnima (a minor hindu girl) was gang raped by BNP cedars and Muslim extremists. (The Guardian. UK 1 July 2002) on 11.10.2001: two women were raped in front of their husbands in Khandazpur, Barisal. On 15.10.2001: Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action expressing the fact of persecution and protection for minorities. (No response so far they received from the government). 03.11.2001: Within a month after the BNP came into power, 4 million minorities were affected where 269 women were reported raped (actual figure would be much more), 2,690 men and 1,430 women were physically tortured, 100 men and women were kidnapped, 38,000 families disposed their ancestral properties, 155 Churches and temples razed and 4581 dwelling houses and business set ablaze.

  On 09/03/2003 Tapan Vattachargee (Komor pukur, Bagerhat) was killed and three women (including mother and daughter) were gang raped by BNP caders (The Daily Janakantha, 24 March 2003).

  On 20 August 2000, the distinguished Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity council leader Advocate Kalidas Barhal two-times elected ex-chairman, Chitalmary sub-division of Bagerhat District, and vice Chairman of Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council was shot dead about 9.30 am by the Islamic terrorists.

  On 16.11.2001: Hindu Principal Prof Gopal Krishna Muhuri of Nazirhat College was brutally murdered.

  In November 2002 two journalists from Channel 4 of the UK went to visit the victims of the attacks but Bangladesh government arrested them and seized all their information.

  Dr Sudhir Kumar Mukherjee, an octogenarian physician, founding President of Khulna Division Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA), President of Bangobandhu Parisad of Jhenaidah, President of District Puja Observance Committee, Past President of Jhenaidah Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Unity Council, Past General Secretary of Chuadanga District Awami League, and an inspiring leader of the minority community.

  On 8 May 2003, Aratibala of Nathpara in Banshkhali, her mother and her only child were burnt to death in the late hours of the night by a Bangladesh National Party (BNP) cadre, On 16 May 2003, an organised gang supported by local BNP burned three members of another minority family in Potiya, Chittagong, to death. (Reports Shahriar Kabir, Chairman, Bangladesh Ghatak Daalal Nirmul Committee, The Daily Janakantha 21 November 2003). Srikanta Rakshit, an Engineer, in Chittagong, was abducted and brutally Killed on 19 April 2003 (The Daily Star, 21 April 2003). Ukhia Chakma neighbourhood, district of Coxbazaar, was burned and the village was made bereft of men, and women were gang-raped. Principal Gopal Krishna Mahuri of Nazirhat College, Chittagong, a renowned freedom fighter, a revered teacher and a leader of the minority community, was gunned down at about 7.30 am in broad daylight by Islami Chhatra Shibir cadres. Buddhist Monk Gyanjyoti Barua was murdered on 21 April 2002 by ruling coalition cadres. Hindu Priest, Madan Gopal Goswami was murdered by the ruling party cadres and the Temple looted and desecrated (The Daily Janakantha dated 30 April 2002). Five professors of the Chittagong University (CU) Chemistry Department, who are from the religious minority community, were asked by the Chittagong branch of an organisation called "Islamic Solidarity of Bangladesh" to leave the country immediately. They were threatened with death, at any time and at any place, if they fail to leave the country immediately (The Daily Janakantha, September 5, 2002).

  Amar Das was killed on 11 December 2003, in Chittagong police (DB) while he was in custody because of unbearable torture by the authority.

  On 27 October 2002 in the morning Swapan Kumar Goshami (37) a popular Hindu teacher of Laboratory High School (Dhaka) was brutally killed by terrorists (Surma, 1 November 2002, London) Mr Bina a Hindu prominent School Teacher was murdered in daylight in Dhaka.

  29.05.2002: In Bashkhali 500 women were raped and assaulted, the minority is the main target. December, 2002: 18 people were killed and over 200 were injured after a bomb explosion in a cinema hall populated by 2,000 people in Mymensingh, Bangladesh, for which Al-Queda were suspected. By March, 2003: within these 17 months, (Present Government came in power 1 October 2001)—gang rapes, mass rapes, forcibly conversion to Islam, murders, ultimatums made 100,000 minorities to flee India.

  18.11.2003: 11 Hindus were burnt to death in one family, where there were baby of four days to man of 70 years. The Home Minister without any investigation made an unlawful comment about this to escape their responsibilities.

  A girl was raped and put into the earth until throat. And so many similar brutal events of systematic persecutions have been continuing for the religious minorities in Bangladesh..

  On 21.11.2001: Faizul Haq MP said, "Bin Laden is loved by the Bangladeshi people". Every one respects him and considers him to be a leader of Muslims. In December, 2001: Baitul Mukarram National Mosque Khatib Obaidul Huq gave a fatwa "America and President Bush is number one terrorist". He said "The Americans will be washed away if Bangladesh's 120 million Muslims spit on them."

Persecution on Christians:

  28.04.1998: The Muslim perpetrators attacked on Christian community in Laxmibazar, ransacked St Francis Xavier Girls' School, Holy Cross Church, and 200 years old Church called St. Thomas. On 02.06.2001: On Sunday a Church in Baniar Char was bombed, 10 Christian were killed, and 20 were injured. On 01.10.2001: In Kodamatali and Foiljana Christian villages were attacked, where attack is still now continuing. On 07.12.2001: A Christian woman from Boraigram was kidnapped and gang raped for several days. The attackers demanded from the villagers either 50,000 Taka or a girl for each night. On 27:02.2002: In Foiljana village, Pabna, Paul Baidhya (75) and his son-in-law Subal (55) were attacked, beaten; both their arms had been broken. On 26.02.2002: A Christian women in Rajshahee was raped by an Union Council member, who was once again later on by Muslim village Arbiters given 25 lashes and fined Taka 1,500 to cure her guilt of being polluted. On 05.04.2002: Two Christian Mission were closed in Bandarban for the attack. On 29.08.2002: Four Christians were seriously injured in Boraigram village. On 07.03.2002: Pabuapara Christian village was attacked, two were seriously injured. On 08.04.2003: On Good Friday, Natore Mission was attacked, 25 people were injured. There are several kidnappings of Christian women in Natore. Five Tribal Christian were killed. No justices were received.

  Buddhists: 23.10.1992 Sudarsan Barua was burnt to death in Chittagong. On 24.03.2002: Ukhaiya Buddhist Temple was burnt. A Monk was assaulted in Aburkil village and many others were tortured. On 21.04.2002: The attackers sloughed to death Monk Gnyan Jyoti after failing to occupy his Monastery, which supported and accommodated 96 orphans. On 26.08.2003: In Chittagonj, Labusari Buddhist Temple was burnt. Andha Kanun Temple was ransacked.

Other State sponsored activities:

    —  Due to a continuous exodus caused by blatant discrimination as found in countries where apartheid was practiced or in Nazi Germany, forcible conversion, gang rape, murder, desecration of places of worship, and eviction after looting and razing of dwelling houses,the minority population which was 20% in 1972 is down to 10% today.

    —  The government has seized 2.5 million acres of Hindus' land (The US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices—2001) by using an anti-Hindu or racist law called the Enemy Property Act (Vested Property Act).

    —  By sending Muslim settlers supported by the armed forces to evict the indigenous people from their traditionally autonomous region of Chittagong Hill Tracts, thus changing its demographics—whereas the Bengali Muslims represented only 3% of the population in 1947, it rose to an alarming 50% in 2001 (The US Deepartment of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices—2001).

    —  The armed forces systematically murdered 130 to 600 residents of Logang, Chittagong Hill Tracts, and then burned down the entire village, on 10 April 1992, (Please refer to the letter 17 honourable US Congressmen wrote to Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in this regard, pointing out that there was a "pattern" of mistreatment of the minorities in Bangladesh). Again, on August 28, 2003, Muslim settlers sent by the government gang raped nine indigenous girls/women and burned down 400 dwelling houses.

    —  In 1992, using the Babri incident as a ploy the Islamists killed 15 minorities, razing 3,600 temples, raping 2,600 women in December 1992.

    —  Mass/gang rape has been the weapon of choice because when a girl is raped the family tends to leave for India to avoid its repetition. 200 Hindu women were raped in one night at a single spot in October 2001 Hindu mother and daughter are being raped together so they dare not stay in the country. Even handicapped and 70-year-old women are raped.

    —  The minorities represent less than 10% of the population but 98.7% of the rape victims are minorities.

    —  The minorities are forced to pay infidel tax.

    —  Minorities are a highly educated section of the society. But they are denied access to positions of power and prestige.

    —  In fact they live in an apartheid-like situation, which is directly linked to the rise of Islamic extremism.

HERE ARE SOME FACTS ABOUT ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM

A Worrisome Rise of Militant Islam

  There has been a "Worrisome Rise of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh" (The Wall Street Journal, 2 April 2003). Bangladesh has become a "Cocoon of [Islamic] Terror" (The Far Eastern Economic Review, 4 April 2002). The chief of the Jihad Movement of Bangladesh (of which HUJI-B is a part), Mr Fazlur Rahman, was one of the signatories (together with Osama Bin Laden and his second-in-command, Ayman Al Zawahiri as well as the chiefs of jihad movement in Pakistan, Egypt and the Sudan), on the Declaration of War on America, in 1998. A Bengali speaking Islamic terrorist brigade of Ansar-Al-Islam served in Afghanistan for Mollah Omar (John Walker Lindh, CNN-News, 12/20/01). Bangladeshis were among the 23 Islamic terrorists (who sympathize with Al-Qaeda) who were recently arrested in Egypt. Government reportedly harbors Al-Qaeda warriors (Time Magazine, 14 October 2002, and The Herald, 23 October 2002) and Time' Discovery Channel). Bangladeshi Islamic militant group of Jamat-Ul-Mujahedeen have imported at least a 225 gram ball of uranium to make "dirty bombs" (Time Asia Magazine, 16 June 2003). The Assam Tribune (19 September) reports that over 400 of the 64,000 plus madrassashs that Bangladesh are being directly funded by Osama Bin Laden and that 25,000 youths are being trained in those madrassahs to become members of suicide squad. While the government has consistently denied the existence of Islamic extremists in Bangladesh, the US Department of State has declared Harkat-Ul-Jihad-I-Islami (HUJI-B), Bangladesh to be a terrorist organisation on 21 May 2002. The ruling "Islamic hardliners" of Bangladesh has turned Bangladesh into a stronghold of militant Islam and an underground station for international Al-Qaeda recruits (see The New York Times, 5 October 2002; New York Post, 22 October 2002). They allowed Al-Harmine's money laundering operations for the Islamic militants on their soil. Recently 18 Islamic Extremists of the Jamia Islamia Nurul Ulum Kawmi Madrassah, who confessed to the police to have been trained in Pakistan, and to have fought in Afghanistan for four years, was recently arrested in a BNP leader's House in Boalmari (The Daily Star, 21 September 2003), a clear proof of the fact that the government is Talibanising Bangladesh. The ruling "Islamic hardliners" are supporting the 64,000 + 11, 000 madrassahs with public money and foreign aid. The Islamic militants have bombed secular events like New Years' Day celebration and movie theatres with the BNP led Government looking the other way (New York Times, 8 December 2002). Former President Bill Clinton had to cancel his trip to the national monument just a few miles off the capital city for fear of being shot down by the Bangladeshi Taliban's?

  The Muslim extremists, pro-Taliban force and the authorities will continue these persecution to the religious minority until Bangladesh becomes a pure Muslim country.

  The minorities of Bangladesh cannot survive without your intervention. They deserve a permanent solution like the Bosnians and or the East Timorese had.


 
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