Bangladesh – mohammadans call for death of 4 bloggers for ‘blasphemy’

by 1389 on April 9, 2013

in 1389 (blog admin), Bangladesh, blog censorship, Shari'a

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Published on Apr 9, 2013 by SDAMatt2a

Bangladesh remains tense as Islamists continue to demand the death penalty for bloggers who they accuse of defaming Islam and insulting the Prophet Muhammad. They want the government to introduce a new blasphemy law to punish the bloggers.

Over the weekend, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Bangladesh’s capital city Dhaka demanding that “atheist” bloggers be executed for defaming Islam.

The Islamists also want Islamic education to be made compulsory in schools, members of the minority Ahmadiyya sect to be declared non-Muslims, and the restoration of pledges to Allah in the constitution, which Hasina’s government had done away with.

Police said that around 100,000 people participated in the Islamist protests on Saturday, April 6, referred to as “the long march,” which had been organized by the Islamist Hifazat-e-Islam group, which is believed to be an offshoot of country’s largest Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami and is based in Chittagong in south Bangladesh.

Hifazat’s long march was supported by the Khaleda Zia-led main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and also by General H. M. Ershad’s Jatiya Party, a key constituent of Awami League-led ruling alliance.

“I’ve come here to fight for Islam,” Shahidul Islam, an imam at a mosque outside of Dhaka, told the AFP news agency. “We won’t allow any bloggers to defame our religion and our beloved Prophet Mohammed.”

In an attempt to keep the Islamists away from Dhaka, anti-Islamist groups called a nationwide strike.

“Hifazat-e-Islam has been calling for punishment against the bloggers. But we think these bloggers are innocent. So, to save our children who are blogging, we have called the shutdown and are trying to halt the Long March,” Shahriar Kabir, a leader of the groups who called the strike, told DW.

The agitation of the Islamist parties is seen by many as a counter-move to the recent protests at Dhaka’s Shahbag Square by rights activists and anti-Islamists demanding vengeance against Islamist politicians accused of war crimes during the country’s 1971 war of independence and a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami.

Three Islamists have so far been convicted and two of them were sentenced to death by a Bangladeshi war tribunal. At least 96 people have been killed during protests over the trials since January.

The government has blocked a number of blogs.

Jamaat-e-Islami and the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia say the trials are bogus and are part of a political campaign to repress opposition.

Bangladeshi Premier Sheikh Hasina said her government would take action against anyone defaming Islam. Last week, in a meeting with some Islamic scholars who sought action against the bloggers, Hasina said that her government was indeed serious about taking action against people involved in anti-Islam blogging. However, on Monday, Hasina rejected the demands of new blasphemy laws from the opposition.

“We don’t have any plan to (bring in a new law). We don’t need it,” Hasina told the BBC in an interview. “They (the opposition) should know that existing laws are enough,” she said, adding that Bangladesh was a secular democracy.

Under the existing cyber laws in Bangladesh, a person can be jailed for up to 10 years if convicted of defaming a religion on the Internet.

Four online writers have been arrested on charges of “hurting religious sentiment through their writings against Islam,” among them, a winner of the DW Bobs blog awards in 2012, Asif Mohiuddin, whose blog had been among the most popular ones in Bangladesh before the government shut it down. Shortly before he was arrested, Mohiuddin wrote on his Facebook page, “It is a crime against the religion to misuse it for political purposes. That is why bloggers in Bangladesh demand that religion is separated from state – to prevent this blasphemy.”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elaine April 9, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Cutting off heads;
Murdering family members;
Raping Children;


Criticism with words?

2 1389 April 9, 2013 at 6:51 pm

There will be a lot of dead bloggers, and not only in Bangladesh. Could happen to any of us.

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