Bangladeshi government is cracking down on bloggers critical of its pro-Islamist stance 1


The news from Bangladesh is rather grim, the government has been letting Islamic lunatics dictate policy, here are some details from the Huff Po

Asif Mohiuddin, 30, is one of those bloggers. Mohiuddin has only recently recovered from injuries he incurred during an attack on him by a militant Islamist group in January. Detectives took him from his home on Wednesday night, just two days after police arrested three other bloggers for allegedly hurting the religious beliefs of the people.

Subrata Adhikary Shuvo, 24, Russell Parvez, 36, and Mashiur Rahman Biplob, 42, were picked up on Monday night. Like other bloggers around the world, they have criticized both politicians and the press, in this case for being biased toward Islamist views and ideologies in a country that is constitutionally supposed to be secular. All three wrote regularly for Amar Blog, a popular site that was also shut down after the arrests.

Even before bringing any official charges against the three, police marched them before reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. Detectives also seized their laptops and hard disks, which they displayed at the press conference as if the computers were arms recovered from a criminal den.

For now, the three bloggers have been remanded for police questioning for a week. The fate of Mohiuddin is still being determined.

There has been a lot of uproar about this, “Muzzling the voice of freethinking bloggers: An alarming development in Bangladesh!” read the headline of a post by A.H. Jafar Ullah. But wait, what is going on here, is this Islam being intolerant, or is something else at work here? Well, only a couple of hours before he was arrested, Parvez had criticised the prime minister and his party, the Awami League, for ostensibly being secular while actually kowtowing to the Islamists.

“What do our partisan intellectuals opine about Sheikh Hasina [the prime minister] being a believer?” blogged Parvez at Unmochon.com.

So yes, once again the core of this is indeed an intolerant belief system, the supposedly secular party is in fact in bed with Islamists.

Recent history perhaps reveals the root behind this. Back in Feb Bangladesh Bloggers launched a mass protest advocating the separation of politics and religion, as well as justice for war crimes victims. Since that all began on Feb. 5 it has been going non-stop in one of Dhaka’s busiest intersections, Shahbagh — hence it has been dubbed the Shahbagh movement. What is now happening is the push back. The Islamists have used their influence with the government to launch a direct attack upon the bloggers and also clamp down on freedom of expression in general as demonstrated by the country’s law minister, Shafique Ahmed, announcing on Tuesday that his government was planning to strengthen its control over social media, blogs and online newspapers.

“When the same government that formed a tribunal to try war criminals takes a stance against free-thinking and pro-liberation bloggers, then the new generation has the right to ask, ‘Et tu, Brutus?'” said Imran H. Sarker, a spokesman for those organizing the Shahbagh movement.

“What does it signal when a government takes such a position?” asked Mehzabin Ahmed, a development activist. “This is a clear violation of a citizen’s constitutional right.”

A senior television journalist summed up his anger on his Facebook page. “In this country, it is not a big issue to attack someone with rifle, machetes or hurling bombs at him/her. It becomes a big issue when you hurt somebody using your pen and keyboard,” posted JE Mamun.

Meanwhile, several people — including a blogger and the child of someone who organized Shabagh movement efforts elsewhere in Bangladesh — were killed, allegedly for organizing the protests, and police failed to name any suspect until recently.

Perhaps the government hoped their latest crackdown would quell the unrest that was being stirred up, but no, having now seen this, the Islamists are crying for even harsher actions.

These Islamists are once again sowing the seeds of civil war. You would think they would learn from their past history, back in 1971 Jamaat-e-Islami, a party that opposed the country’s independence from Pakistan ended up committing war crimes that are listed by the Guinness Book of Records as among the five deadliest 20th-century killings. Millions died, and now it looks as if they are pushing Bangladesh down this road once again.


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