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Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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Need for correct interpretation of religious teachings

I commend the human rights society that urged that those guilty of the attack on the Bauls some months ago, at a major gathering, should be brought to justice. Those perpetuating this great Bengali tradition suffered one death, one injury and the rest utterly humiliated.

But why did the extremists dare to do such a thing? Surely it was because, some years previously, they had torn down the statues of the Bauls from a roundabout near the airport - and what happened? Nothing! How can I express the feelings of all minorities when the authorities allowed such action to go unpunished?

I remember what many of us felt, some years ago, when the new British High Commissioner, Anwar Chowdhury, on only his 18th day at work, suffered injuries from a bomb thrown at him in a famous mosque on his way to visit his Bangladeshi birthplace. It killed 3 other people. Yet no one was brought to justice until quite recently - for an attack that, mysteriously, was not headlines across the world.

If a country does not enforce the laws that under gird the constitutional rights of minorities, including foreigners, how can it have status in a world in which every nation is now a 'rainbow' nation! Moreover, when Bangladeshis emigrate to be minorities in other countries, they (rightly) insist on the enjoyment of their legal rights!

Every nation has the choice either to confront or to ignore the activities of a minority of Muslim extremist 'missionaries', who insist not only that those of other faiths must be humiliated, driven out or worse, but other Muslims who do not agree with them! And all in the name of some supposed religious 'purity' and their claim that their interpretation of 'sharia' is correct and everyone else's is wrong.

How important it is, in all faith communities, for members to spend time at the feet of their best scholars, to correct false teachings! May we hope that this newspaper can publish more articles from such scholars?

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