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10th-Apr-2016

Message of hatred either from bloggers or religious extremists is not free expression

By Editorial Desk

The anti-Muslim bloggers everywhere are fanatics like the religious extremists to be found among moderate Muslims. They cannot be regarded as intellectuals for their hatred of other people's religion and are not to be entitled to protection on the ground of freedom of expression. To identify hatred with intellectualism is perverse.
Hatred of any kind is dangerous for civilised living and cannot be equated with freedom of expression. By treating the anti-Muslim bloggers as intellectuals deserving special protection for their right to freedom of expression the Western democracies are, in effect, encouraging the Muslim fanatics everywhere. Now Muslims and non-Muslims are affected by the senseless terrorism of killings and violence.
If they do not want to believe then it is their problem. But the inhuman brutalities and degrading humiliation inflicted on the Muslims for sheer joy of using power by the West is responsible for fuelling the anger generated among the Muslims for retaliation. Terrorism among the Muslim fanatics was thus born.
Only the Western countries can stop terrorism not by applying fire power alone but by showing respect and dignity in embracing the Muslims. President Barack Obama has been urging to pursue this policy but in reality the others do not find it easy to follow.
Terrorism is a kind of madness and it cannot be cured by violence against violence policy. We have to extinguish the flame of anger. There will not be peace in the world if the Christians and the Muslims do not learn to live side by side peacefully.
The freedom of expression is ensured in a democracy. The Western countries want free expression to be protected for bloggers whether or not the government allows others to express freely their political differences. The bias in favour of anti-Muslim bloggers offers provocation to religious extremists of other kinds.
The Muslims of Bangladesh are moderate. But in the absence of democratic tolerance and political compromise, extremism  is growing  for easy abuse of power and rampant corruption. The bloggers want freedom of expression for themselves only but not for others. They do not support democracy without freedom or the rule of law.
It is the irresponsible bloggers who by fanatical asserting anti-Muslim propaganda is creating unnecessarily religious tension. Not only that the anti-religious bloggers are fomenting religious extremism within the particular country, but also fanning up antagonism against the sympathisers of the bloggers in the West.
The online activist Mr Nazim Uddin Samad whose murder attracted international condemnation was not an anti-Muslim blogger. The investigating police say they have not found anything to connect him with anti-religious activities. On his bare body was painted 'death  to Rajakars' meaning  those who acted as collaborators of Pakistan army during the liberation war. Thus Mr Nazim Uddin was not critical of religious extremism. He can be at best seen to be vehemently against collaborators of Pakistan army after 40 years of separation from Pakistan.
What is so far known about him is that he was a zealous descendent of a freedom fighter and though he had no personal experience of the liberation war yet, the young man is part of a political campaign for the death of all the collaborators of Pakistan occupation army.
Mr Nazim Uddin has been motivated by the group called The Ganajagaran Manch or the People's Platform whose members proudly regard themselves as the next generation of freedom fighters. But they do not concern themselves with the guiding values of the liberation war such as democracy or the rule of law. They want to see themselves as a very special class high above all others to know all about the liberation war.
We will find no justification for his killing because he wanted to see all Razakars killed. We condemn lawlessness prevailing in the country while government is a blind bystander. Life is most insecure even for women and children. There is a feeling of fear in the air for anybody to help the government with the truth.
The other day an Imam of a mosque in the city was also brutally assailed to death. But no reaction came from the West. Because the blogger speaks against Islam however irresponsible and illiterate he is to be respected by the West as an intellectual deserving all their support. This is perversion the West must give up to be sensible.
Human rights bodies are extremely disturbed because murder has become so easy and the government so indifferent about seeking everybody's help to contain the situation. Many responsible citizens find it imperative to warn the government that the country's intolerant politics and bureaucratic dominance of the government are paving the way for greater extremism.
A government isolated from the people cannot be the government of the people for getting the people's cooperation. Again, the Western democracies do not feel strongly enough about the violation of human rights so essential for safety of life and security of living.
The country needs international response for improving the human rights situation for all. We find it unjust and unkind that the United Nations and the Western democracies are concerned only about the safety of a blogger and not all the citizens of Bangladesh. Such a policy cannot work.
We know that the international politics can be heartless and ruthless if strategic interests so demand. We are appalled by the indifference of the democratic West about the importance of effective democracy for peace, progress and above all national unity in Bangladesh.