By Madeline Brooks
November 19, 2013
Bangladesh is on the road to becoming another Afghanistan, fulfilling the clearly stated desires of jihadists and fundamentalists, according to Bangladeshis who have fled their homeland.
Imams describe women as filth and demand that they cover themselves. They accuse exploited female garment workers of prostitution when they are forced to work late into the night to earn a living. Schoolchildren have to dress in Islamic garb, even if they are not Muslims. Workers are discriminated against if they are other than Muslim. Land grabs by Muslims of property owned by minorities occur all the time -- with impunity. Atheist bloggers are beaten and even killed for "insulting Islam," and all this under the supposedly secular Awami League administration.
The Hindu empire once stretched from Afghanistan to Indonesia, before the Muslim invasions whittled it down. According to Dr. Sachi Dastidar, professor of politics at the State University of New York at Old Westbury, Long Island, forty-nine million Hindus are missing from the Bangladesh census over the period of 1947 to 2001. At the time of the partition of India in 1947, Hindus comprised thirty-one percent of the population of Bangladesh. The population of Hindus in Bangladesh is now down to a mere nine percent. The numbers are shrinking very fast due to coerced conversions; the kidnapping of girls and women, as well as rapes followed by murder; forced flight -- and genocidal massacres.
In the near future, all the non-Muslims may be "ethnically cleansed" from Bangladesh. The world will have lost one more part of the globe to fundamentalists and gained one more staging ground for new attacks on the West.
The minority population in Bangladesh lives under constant fear of loss of life and property, especially in the countryside, where Muslim transgressions more easily escape being publicized.
Imagine this: You are a peasant farmer living in a thatched house in a remote area. You and your brother try to keep a vigil during the night, expecting another raid, since there have been frequent attacks on your neighbours. Men with torches come at three in the morning and set fire to your house, after dragging out your wife and two daughters, ages nine and thirteen. You must fight alone, because your brother was mutilated by the same men in a previous raid. All his fingers were cut off, and his right leg was amputated at the hip so that he would suffer lifelong humiliation as well as disability.
You are beaten and bound, forced to watch the gang-rapes of your wife and daughters. Your house and all your possessions are burned beyond use.
Your wife and daughters are afraid to file a complaint with the police, because they know that the police usually do not prosecute the attackers -- and they may even turn on the victims. (All this, to say nothing of having to bear the shame of being sexually violated.) You have talked with your neighbours about mounting a stronger defence against the frequent attacks, but all of you feel demoralized, knowing that scores or even hundreds of armed men have descended on others like you to punish you for having the temerity to fight back.
You consider fleeing with your family but do not want to give up the land that has belonged to your ancestors for hundreds of years. But if you stay on your land, which is the only life you know, you may very well be killed.
Such is life today in Bangladesh for Hindus, as well as for all the other minorities: Buddhists, Christians, atheists, and animists. The details of this sketch are all too real. They were culled from photos and verbal descriptions of the persecution of the minorities compiled by a human rights organization of Bangladeshi Americans, the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council.
The Bangladesh Unity Council will meet on November 20, 2013 in Washington D.C. with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Hopefully this time they will see results, since the same group has been meeting with other U.S. officials since 1999 without any sign of improvement.
An immediate concern is the upcoming national elections in Bangladesh, because in this aspiring democracy, ironically, elections bring fresh new pogroms against the minorities.
This is not to say that every Muslim in this Muslim-majority country participates in or accepts these atrocities. On the contrary, there are Muslim intellectuals who write frequent articles decrying their country's slide toward Sharia and jihad.
The international press, however, has barely noticed Bangladesh's descent into fundamentalist hell, and the threat it poses to world security.
Worldwide attention and political intervention may be able to help slow down this disaster. But that takes time. Most immediately, however, support is needed to stop the ongoing genocide. To meet immediate needs for survival, non-violent physical assistance to protect endangered communities must be considered.
Madeline Brooks is a counter-jihad activist and writer, based in New York City.