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         Volume 11 |Issue 08| February 24, 2012 |


 Cover Story
 A Roman Column
 Special Feature
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Break the Barriers

I was very glad to learn from the article "Overcoming the Silent Barriers" that an initiative has been taken to include sex education, gender studies and reproductive health issues in a school's curriculum. In this part of the world, talking about 'sex' is still a taboo even in educated families. As it is not possible to force every family to promote sex education at home, including the issue in the academic curriculum can be the way out. Free access of pornography deteriorates the concept of sexuality and sexual behaviour. As a matter of fact, many teenagers have to rely on those unreal sexual behaviors on the screen and therefore develop unwanted sexual behaviours, as they don't have access to sex education. If schools introduce sex education in their curriculum, fallacies about sexuality will be reduced. It will also promote awareness about sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and reproductive health. The most common misconception regarding gender is that the man always remains in charge of the family. Even educated girls tend to think in this way. Structured sex education can break these fallacies.

Most teenagers grow up with mistaken notions about the opposite sex as gender studies is completely absent both in the academia and at home. Gender-based crimes like eve teasing and domestic violence are the results of those fallacious notions about the opposite sex. In schools, colleges and universities students should be taught that women are not merely sex objects and personal belongings of their husbands. If educational institutions include gender studies in their curriculums, the number of gender-biased crimes will go down. At the outset, gender studies and sex education might create embarrassment among students, teachers and parents, as all of us inherited prejudice and conservative traditions. However, we have to come out of the shell. Proper knowledge and sex education of sex, gender and reproductive health can bring a drastic change in our society.

Kohinur Khyum Tithila
East West University

On “An Ominous Trend”

This letter is with regard to the cover story “An Ominous Trend” published on 3 February, 2012. Arresting people in the guise of RAB or law enforcers have created a lot of panic among the general people in the city. Several successive incidents of such abductions have taken place during the last few months. Is it not a clear indication that the law and order of our country has deteriorated overwhelmingly? Is it not the right time to address the issue strictly? But our government has not taken any drastic action. People who have been abducted in this style are students, businessmen, service holders and political leaders. People's lives are at stake as the government cannot ensure our safety and security. Amidst all this, our Home Minister Sahara Khatun proudly claims that the law and order situation is much better now than at any time in the past. Going through the story, it seems to me that there is an organised group of terrorists who are committing all these crimes for financial and political gain. However, in order to get rid of this, we have to be very careful about the identity of the people who claim to come from administrations and nearby RAB offices should be informed immediately. At the same time, there should be very good coordination between the police and RAB, especially while arresting people. However, I also want to know the answer of the questions that Dipto's mother wants to know at the end of the cover story: “Where have these missing people gone? What is the reason behind their disappearances? What kind of a law exists in this country?”

Md Musfikur Rahman Jony
Light House

Ministers and their Senseless Comments

Last year the Commerce Minister said food prices would reduce if people ate less. The LGRD Minister and General Secretary of the ruling party ignores the daily killings on our borders as “incidents” of no consequence. The Shipping Minister thinks the more illiterate the bus/truck driver, the better; while another minister said that it was sufficient if they could identify a goat or a cow on the road. Today the shipping minister, also a transport big-wig, wants tolls and extortion to be legalised to stop rampant corruption in the transport sector. Half the Prime Minister's time is spent in warning various ministers, members of parliament, government officials and party men to behave, all to no avail. Will the Home and Population Ministers, tomorrow, declare that Sagar and Runi actually volunteered to reduce our population? Are we supposed to listen to their “wise words”?

Sikander Ahmed

The Importance of Reading

Photo: Amirul Rajib

The write-up, “A neighborhood library turns 48”, was well-thought out and encouraging. Thanks to those who initiated this novel activity. These days, we are more interested in watching TV or playing games than in reading books.Of course, we need recreation and we can pass some of our free time through unproductive means. But we shouldn't waste all of it! Books are a great source of knowledge. It is the best habit a person can have, and can nourish one's mental state. It is really sad that most of us spend time watching Hindi serials and students only read their text books. There are so many things that a student can read – newspapers, novels, journals and books on current issues. Reading habits should be developed from childhood. Reading and acquiring knowledge can enable people to understand others better and to be compassionate towards them. So many of us can take similar initiatives to set up libraries in our locality and provide services. We have to figure out a way to popularise this initiative so that people come to libraries.

Mizanur Rahman
Sher-e-bangla Agricultural University

Response to “further Response to ‘When Religion is a Burden’

I am writing this letter in response to “further response to when religion is a burden”. The write-up raises certain misconceptions in our society, which is evident from the number of responses following the write up. I am not an Islamic scholar, but from my own acquired knowledge, I can say that Islam never meant to hurt anyone or trouble anyone. Allah, the Almighty, mentions in the Quran that there is no compulsion in religion.

Yes, the tableegi jamaat or ijtema isn't specified in the Quran and Hadeeth but the activities performed in ijtema, such as calling people to Islam is definitely prescribed in Islam as Allah says in Sura Al Asr, "Indeed man is at loss (for losing valuable time) except for those who believe and do good deeds and advise one another to truth and advise one another to patience (during the time of calamity they are faced during the preaching of religion)". The Holy Quran mentions clearly that one of the conditions for becoming a righteous Muslim is to do dawah (preaching the message of Islam). Hadeeth Abu Mas'ud Al Ansari (r.a.) narrates that Allah's messenger (SM) said, “... One who guides to something good has a reward similar to that of its doer.”

From the above quotes and Hadeeth, we can conclude that preaching of Islam is a duty of every Muslim. I must say that I was extremely overwhelmed to see Muslims attending ijtema in a photo shared in yahoo news. It made me feel proud.

When Bangladesh hosted the inauguration ceremony of ICC World Cup, many of the roads were blocked. This hampered the lives of the local public, too, but we accepted it for it uplifted the image of Bangladesh. Bangladeshis can proudly arrange the second biggest Islamic jamaat in the world in peace.

Anika Nawal Ahmed
Dhanmondi, Dhaka

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