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     Volume 4 Issue 56 | July 29, 2005 |

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Two Wrongs Do not Make a Right!
I would like to chip in with my tuppenny's worth in response to the opinion expressed by Iftekhar Sayeed (SWM July 22). I think Mr. Sayeed truly failed to appreciate the theme of the articles by Farah Ghuznavi and Lally Snow. Condemning the attacks in London, and indeed any other terror attack, does not mean supporting the war in Iraq. No one suggests that the United States and Britain emerge from the war in Iraq "smelling like roses". The invasion of Iraq and the unjust foreign policies in the Middle East have made the world a dangerous place and fueled the rise of extremism.
That does not make what happened in London any less a heinous crime. Nothing can justify the killing of innocent non-combatants. The people who committed these acts are killers, they did not care who died in their attacks. They did not stop to ponder the teachings of Islam. It was just indiscriminate slaughter. There is a right way and a wrong way to fight injustice. The people of Iraq are resisting the occupation of their land. The people who bombed the underground railway and the buses in London may have invoked Iraq, but they are not friends of Iraqis. For their actions hurt the cause of Iraq and Islam.
There are millions of people in Britain and the United States who have opposed and are continuing to oppose the war. But the terrorist attacks will weaken their hand, and strengthen the warmongers. Is it any surprise that Tony Blair's approval rating has soared? Is it any surprise that the controversial anti-terror laws will now be passed comfortably?
There is no bravery in targeting unsuspecting office goers in Edgware Road. That is cowardice. That is not what Islam is about. Sahara Islam, who died on one of those ill-fated London buses, was the cousin of a friend of mine. Sayeed, try to tell them that their sister was killed in retaliation for Iraq!
Saeed Ahmed Subidbazar, Sylhet

An Alternative Opinion
I am really astonished by Sayeed's attitude. With due respect, the deaths of innocents is not about numbers, whether they are innocents in Iraq or Palestine or even London! I don't know whether Sayeed is trying to be funny by suggesting that it is the greatest number of deaths that are overlooked, but I think this is disrespectful to all those who lose loved ones as a result of such state policy or terrorist action. Furthermore, I guess those who have suffered the backlash for the London attacks, including the family of the man who was beaten to death, do not consider this an inconvenience, as Sayeed suggests!
It is a fact that Islam is being misjudged as a result of the actions of a few, and I for one as a Muslim, feel it necessary to state that this should be done "not in my name".
Also, judging from what Lally Snow and Farah Ghuznavi have written in their previous pieces, I don't think either of them feel anything but the same sorrow that most of us, though perhaps not Mr. Sayeed, feel about the killing of civilians anywhere in the world. He is entitled to his opinion, but I would suggest that he does not twist the word of others to suit his point, as he has done in this case.
Salim Irfan On Email

What Makes Hens Weaker Than Cocks
I am so shocked and disappointed after reading Rubaiyat Hossain's article "My Silence is Your Comfort" in SWM on July 15th. She has presented 'Purdah'--one of the fundamental duties of a Muslim woman ordained by Allah--as a weapon of patriarchal society used to seclude women or make them weaker than men.
A hen is physically weaker than a cock and a cow is weaker than a bull. But is purdah a means for making women weaker than men? I believe that unveiling women is one way of persecuting them socially, physically and mentally. Are half dressed women freer from persecution and molestation? Does the writer realise that the number of rape and carnal harassment in western countries is far larger than that of those women living in countries where women are veiled? If a woman wears a burqa or practices purdah she can see men but men cannot see her. Does that not then give her an extra privilege? Would it be possible to tease and sexually harass a woman in burqa? I think such forms of dress enhances reverence for them rather than denounce them. I do not feel like she is looking at the other side of the coin. Purdah was introduced by the Creator not for the seclusion of women, nor was it meant to make people feel that the bodies of women are evil. Rather, it serves the purpose of creating a peaceful society. I appeal to Rubaiyat Hossain to rethink her opinions without any narrowness.
Md. Azizul Haque Dhaka University

Response to Iftekhar Sayeed in "An Opinion"
This is in reference to Iftekhar Sayeed's letter about the recent articles on the terrorist attacks by Lally Snow and Farah Ghuznavi. I cannot help wondering if Mr. Sayeed deliberately seeks to misunderstand what the writers are saying! He begins "Let me see if I understood the writers", and proceeds to place a strong negative spin on the pieces, which is rather misleading. So perhaps he DIDN'T understand them at all.
No, I don't think that this was a question of the attacks on western targets merely being a question of "inconveniencing" Muslims, nor is the matter of Islam being given a bad name something that those of us who consider ourselves Muslim should take lightly. Ghuznavi's previous articles have repeatedly discussed the double standards of western policy and their disastrous consequences, so Sayeed is not telling us anything new. We all acknowledge western injustices, and abhor the dreadful consequences of these policies, but the killing of innocents does not do any of us anything but harm. Nor does Islam sanction such killings.
You do not have to agree with western policies to condemn killing the innocent, contrary to what Sayeed's letter seems to imply. The solutions must come through protest, and activist action, not terrorism. Apart from anything else, two wrongs do NOT make a right. And that is not only my view. It is best put in Mahatma Gandhi's words, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
Eeshita Rahman On Email

On the Cover Story
My heartfelt thanks to Srabonti Narmeen Ali and Imran H Khan for writing a great cover story on the Ahsania, cancer Hospital and Detection Centre in the July 22nd issue of SWM. It was indeed great to learn the fact that The Dhaka Ahsania Mission, with a view to helping the society in manifold directions, has undertaken a great endeavour -- the Cancer Hospital and Detection Centre.
The new project is indeed a noble task as it is designed to meet the challenge of the life-taking disease cancer. Modern facilities equipped with hyper-modern technology will be rendered to the people of this poverty-stricken country where the average and the middle class can hardly meet the demands of the treatment of this deadly disease. Moreover, they will be offering a state-of-the-art treatment to the patients of the poor land and will be charging in accordance with the patients' ability -- I fall short of words to aptly appreciate such a great humane mission. Another important aspect is that their plan to offer post-treatment services like pain management counseling, information about cancer support groups et c.
It's encouraging to learn that people like Barrister Rafiq-ul-Haque donated a powerful mammography machine worth Tk 29 lakh and a monthly donation of Tk 10,000 and that there are other donors as well. The government deserves applause for its legislation that donations made to the Mission will be exempted from tax. At this point I humbly urge the rich people in the country to come forward to help them meet the proposed budget of Tk 150 crore and contribute to the cause of humanity.
My best wishes to the great minds that are involved in this task that has been aptly summed up by the writers as For the People, By the People. Thanks to the writers again for such a praise worthy cover story.
Rafiqul Islam Rime Agrabad, Chittagong

In the Voice Box of the last issue's SWM we mistakenly mentioned that the Rotary Club (Dhaka North) brought three "Indian Idols" to Bangladesh for a concert. It was, in fact, a local event management company that brought them to the country. We regret the error.

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