Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 15, Tuesday April 17, 2007



News Flash

Sonargaon in its own style

While almost everyone knows the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, few seem to know about all the things that Sonargaon does and all the occasions that they celebrate. Within a span of one week, there were two events that marked everyone's calendars: Easter and Pohela Boishakh. And Sonargaon, in its own understated but elegant way, celebrated both.

For Easter, the hotel organised an egg painting competition and had its restaurant, Café Bazaar, set out an elaborate feast topped by a magic show for their younger diners.

For Pohela Boishakh, the hotel lobby was attractively decorated with Bangladeshi motifs, posters and authentic Bangladeshi cuisines were served at Café Bazar during lunch and dinner. The main feature of the day’s menu included Ilish Polau, Bhuna Khichuri, Sharisha Ilish, whole Rui and array of mouth-watering bhorthas, salad and tantalizing desserts. Music was played on the flute all day, while guests had a chance to colour their hands with henna. . If you happen to be one of those unfortunate people who found out about these events just now, the next time something important is marked on your calendar, call up Sonargaon. Who knows? You might just be pleasantly surprised!

-LS Desk
Photo: Zahedul I Khan


Chocolate, Christ, and Islam

Just the other day while watching Larry King Live on CNN, a report on an American artist and his “Sweet Lord” drew my attention. The feature was on a six-foot sculpture depicting a naked and anatomically correct Jesus Christ on a cross. The artist, Cosimo Cavallaro in an interview to CNN, said that it was his way to show respect and feel closer to his God. However, the Head of Catholic League, Bill Donohue fumed over the atrocity of the artist. Made from chocolate, the statute has been named “My Sweet Lord” by its sculptor.

The first thing that the CNN feature instantly made reference to was the comic strips of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005. The obscene cartoons not only created a wave of protests in the Muslim world but also helped illustrate the low amount of religious tolerance that exists in the world today. There could not have been a more horrible way of disgracing the followers of Islam and their Prophet. We often forget that a handful of people do not represent any particular religion, race, culture or country. Generalisation is one of those biggest mistakes that have made the present world a battlefield. You cannot judge an entire nation or a religious group by a handful of people, who feign to be its members.

Supporters of the Muhammad's caricatures said at that time that their publication was a legitimate exercise of their right of free speech. And if that is the case, then I believe that Cosimo Cavallaro also has his full right of free speech. The hate mails and the angry phone calls that poured into the New York City hotel displaying the statue showed the extent to which the believers of Christianity were offended by the sculpture. Now think of the obscene comic strips of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that were published in over 50 countries around the world. Each comic published in Jyllands-Posten illustrated Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a retarded, belligerent Arab. The obscenity of the caricatures only raised the question of the sanity of the artist who drew them. The sole purpose was to dishonour Islam, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his followers. However, the purpose behind creating the Chocolate Christ was different. The artist, a Catholic, claimed that this was his way of feeling closer to his creator.

I think the Danish artist, if aware of the Chocolate Christ, would now understand that nothing can be won or achieved through hurting religious beliefs. Sometimes I feel that Muslims are more tolerant in nature. The extent to which they are now being discriminated in the world has not led to any extreme outrage. I am not ready to tag Al-Quaeda or other militant groups as genuine followers of Islam. A group of derailed people certainly do not represent the Muslim community. The Danish artist humiliated none other than the general Muslims through his repulsive cartoons.

Has any Muslim ever created a gross image of Jesus Christ and made it public? Has any Muslim man ever taken his pen and disgraced Christ? The answer is No. We gulped the dishonour done to us. Today when the Christians see their Christ being desecrated by one of their fellow men, I wonder how they feel inside. The so-called blow to their religion hasn't come from a Muslim, Hindu or Jew but from a Catholic Christian! No wonder the religious bodies are furious over the whole thing.

I believe that every person has his/her right to practice any religion he feels close to. Hurting religious beliefs is the most despicable thing that a civilized man can possibly do. My friends and acquaintances range from Christians to Jews, and I never felt for once that they cannot be trusted or befriended because of their respective religious beliefs. It is humanity that should come before everything and we should base all kinds of relationships on the fact that we are humans. Just because a Danish artist desecrated our prophet, it does not mean that I would think ill of all the Danish people- it would be a foolish generalisation. I would also not believe that all the Christians out there feel similarly towards Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Furthermore, many people forget that Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (PBUH) are epitomes of all kinds of goodness. Therefore, since you and I will never make it to their level in our lifetime, let us not show the atrocity of ridiculing them.

This article has not been written because some Danish artist hurt my own religion. I would have probably written this article even if some other religion was disgraced in the media with the excuse that every individual has his right of free speech.

By Wara Karim

Check It Out

Khazana embraces Boishakh…

Baisakh is first month of Bengali Calendar. To welcome and celebrate the New Year Khazana is offering their guests with special Bengali thali for lunch & dinner. Chef Dhani from Kolkata has specially come over to share the taste of “O Par Bangla” for this auspicious day. There will be vegetarian and non-vegetarian thalis so nobody is disappointed. They are organizing an “O Par Bangla” Food Festival from 15th April 2007 for a span of 10 days with delicious Bengali cuisine. There will be a range of 20 new mouthwatering Bengali dishes to choose from. Along with Non-vegetarian items there will be enough selection of Vegetarian items. Also available are summer drinks to beat the heat.

Bibiana in Uttara

Bibiana, the fashion gallery, has opened its long-awaited branch in Uttara. The opening took place on Thursday, April 12, 2007. It was inaugurated by the once-popular duo of the silver screen- Razzak and Kobori. To check out their fashion line, drop by their store. Address: Sector- 4, Road- 6, House- 23, Uttara, Dhaka. Phone: 8616251.

- LS Desk


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