Tag Archives: Bangladesh

Muslim Justice??

A twenty-two year old Bangladeshi woman was punished for telling people that a neighbor was the father of her six year year-old son. The woman told some friends about the man who had fathered her son and when he heard about her comments, the man informed local religious leaders that she was lying. They called her and the alleged father before a hastily formed Islamic court and asked for testimony. The man held the Koran in his hand and swore to the village clerics that he was not the father of the boy. Naturally, they believed his comments. The clerics then issued a fatwa calling for the woman to be caned thirty-nine times.

The woman is now fighting for her life as a result of injuries suffered during the caning. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is furious and has ordered the arrest of the clerics and asked police to do a DNA testing of the man. Of course, that was the simple solution to the problem, but for the clerics if a man swore on the Koran he must be right. Of course, if a woman swears on the Koran, she must be wrong.

Kidnapped Doctor Forced To Marry In Bangladesh

Dr. Huumaryra Abedin left her position in Great Britain as a doctor in order to rush back for a visit to her mother who reportedly was ill. It was the normal consideration any daughter would feel for her mother, but little did the doctor grasped her parents had other thoughts in their mind than a visit from their daughter. They were upset at reports she was dating a Hindu in England, and once in Bangladesh, they forced her to marry a man of their choosing, a nice Muslim boy, that is. Dr. Abedin was able to get off a text message seeking help and the British government intervened and persuaded a Bangladesh court to obtain Dr. Abedin’s release from captivity and return to the United Kingdom.

Back in London, Dr. Abedin, announced: “On 14 November 2008, I was forced to marry a person of my parens’ choice. I was removed to another province of Bangladesh. I entered into the marriage under duress. I did not consent to the marriage.” She is having the marriage voided.

After news of what happened to Dr. Abedin became known, the number of phone calls to the forced marriage hotline in England witnessed heavy traffic. This is the year, 2008, not 1498.

Bangladesh Court Respects End To Forced Marriage Law

A Bangladesh woman who works for the British National Health Service had her forced marriage voided by a Bangladesh court in response to requests by the United Kingdom that Dr. Humayra Abedin was being held against her will by members of the family. This is the first example in which a nation responded to a British request to void a forced marriage of a non-British national. Although Dr. Abedin is a Bangladesh citizen, she was placed under court protection until a representative of the UK came to assist her return to England. Justice Syed Mohmed Hossain told the court: “Children are not the slaves of their parents, they must have their own freedom.”

Dr. Abedin was lured to Bangladesh by reports her mother was ill and when she reached Bangladesh the family informed her they were going to marry her off. She was able to get off a text message to friends, “please help me. My life is in danger.” Parents fought to refuse bringing Dr. Abedin to court on grounds she was mentally incapacitated. When finally brought to court, Ms. Abedin made clear she did not wish to marry the man selected by her parents and wanted her freedom. That freedom has now been restored.

Bangladesh Forced Marriage Halted

A British teenager has been rescued from a forced marriage to her Bangladeshi cousin due to intervention by a British diplomat. The 19 year old girl was traveling with her mother in Bangladesh in order to be forced to marry a cousin. Hours before the wedding was to take place, the girl telephoned the British consular office in Syihet and an embassy official shortly arrived with local police to halt the marriage. The girl was handed back to her mother on condition she would not be forced into any marriage. The British High Commission in Dhaka says it has assisted in preventing 56 such forced marriage in the past year.

The issue of forced marriages remains an interesting contrast in views regarding the meaning of family and the power of parents to make decisions regarding their children. Historically, parents arranged marriages but in the past century this cultural tradition has died out in most industrial and post industrial societies. The rights of women have become important and this incident is simply one more example of the clash of cultures that remains alive in many parts of the world.

Let Them Eat Cake– Or Potatoes!

American farmers are making money by converting corn and wheat fields as part of the effort to reduce the impact of oil on the economy. In so doing, their actions are part of a world-wide inflation in food costs which make it difficult for poor people to afford food. In Bangladesh, which is ruled by a millitary government, its head urged people to reduce their demand for rice and turn to other foods such as potatoes. According to General Moeen Ahmed, “eating potato with rice will reduce its demand alongside fulfilling nutrition requirements.” He admitted local weather conditons such as cyclones and floods had impacted the rice crop. He governs a nation in which forty percent of the people live on a dolalr a day. Banglaldesh and other Asian nations have been hit by record costs for imported oil and food.

Wealthier nations can afford to encourage ethanol production even while it impacts the total crop of food being produced. The poor nations of the world have no such options and they must switch diet in order to survive. The world can readily insist that poor people switch their foods but there is less interest in switching from gas guzzling large cars to small ones.

“Blasphemous” Muslim Female Writer Threatened With Death

The writer, Taslima Nasrin, has been fighting for women rights in Bangladesh and India for years, but last week there were violent protests by mobs that drove her to flee from the city of Koikata. She noted that “India is my home and I would like to keep living in this country until I die, but the All India Minorities Forum, a Muslim group, demanded she be deported. At the center of hatred against her is the charge that she allegedly told an Indian newspaper years ago there was need for alterations in the Koran in order to provide women with more rights. A court also accused her of “deliberately and maliciously: hurting the feelings of Muslims because her novel, “Laija”(Shame) focused on riots between Muslims and Hindus.

Nasrin has denied making comments about changing the Koran, but she has refused to back down on her fight for women rights. “Women are oppressed in the East, in the West, in the South, in the North. Women are oppressed inside, outside home. Whether a woman is a believer or a non-believer, she is oppressed. Beautiful or ugly, oppressed. Crippled or not, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, oppressed. Covered or naked, she is oppressed. Dumb or not, cowardly or courageous, she is always oppressed.”

Any religion which attacks individuals for expressing opinions about religious documents violates the religious and secular rights of the person. Neither mobs nor religious leaders can decide what a human being thinks or feels. Ms. Nasrin has every right to comment about the Koran, the Bible or any other religious piece of writing, she is talking, not taking action against another human. If people don’t like what she says, they can refute her comments in the press or write books attacking her, but violence has no place for those who believe in the Koran or the Bible.