Sunday, March 03, 2013

Half a world away, religion is causing horrendous harm.

I've written about the harm I see religion causing, and have, in the past, focused on religion in the US, with mere mentions of other religions elsewhere.

But here is something going on half a world away that is a perfect example of several things I've written about in the past.

First, an illustration of the direct harm religion causes, just because it exists...
Second, it illustrates that, indeed, there ARE atheists in Islamic countries...
Third, it shows the kind of enlightenment that Islam is just now being introduced to...
Fourth, it illustrates that our own problems with radical Islam are not a prime focus of radical Islam...

There is a secular struggle going on in Bangladesh as I write this.  This is being revealed by Taslema Nasreen on her blog No Country for Women on Freethought Blogs.  Her blog post is called, appropriately enough, Secular Uprising in Bangladesh.

Pardon the long winded quote:

Most people protesting at Shahbag and demanding the death penalty for Mollah were born after the 1971 war following which East Pakistan gained independence from Pakistan, forming the nation of Bangladesh. However — thanks to secular writers and artists, who strove to keep aflame the emotions and perceptions associated with the ‘71 war, through books, plays, films and performances — these protesters are by no means ignorant about the genocide carried out during the war by the Pakistan Army, along with local religious militias affiliated with the Islamist outfit, Jamaat-e-Islami. After Islamization started in earnest in Bangladesh during the mid ’80s, many of these protesters have also witnessed how Islamists murdered progressive people, violated people’s human rights, oppressed women, and tortured non-Muslims in the name of Islam. After decades of maintaining silence, their patience has worn thin; they have finally started to rise in rebellion against the status quo. As more people joined the crowd, they have started demanding death penalty for all tried and convicted war criminals. 
A Bangladesh tribunal recently sentenced Abdul Kader Mollah, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, to life imprisonment for his war crimes, but the Shahbag crowd could not be happy with this verdict. Based on previous experience, they are apprehensive that Mollah would be released if the political party-in-opposition, a known ally of Jamaat-e-Islami, were to win the next election. 
It is important to remember that in present Bangladesh, not all Islamists are war criminals; however, all war criminals are Islamists – who, at one time, did not want the separation from Pakistan, a country based on Islam. The Shahbag movement gained interest for me when some protesters started demanding a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, as well as on all the religious schools, banks, clinics and other amenities that were created with money collected from Middle Eastern Islamists, whose express desire was to turn the erstwhile-secular Bangladesh into a country of Islamists.
As you can see, sooner or later, even in very religious parts of the world, us secularists will get impatient and start marching in the streets.   Pay attention to the parts I have bolded and underlined.  That is the harm religion causes.  People who specifically want to make a country into a religious bastion are almost always willing to kill, torture and oppress those they don't like to get what they want.

But notice that it is specifically the atheists who primed and got this movement going.  They DO exist in Islamic countries, and they ARE sometimes willing to risk their lives to oppose such brigandry.

As for enlightenment,
It is very alarming that the word ‘atheist’ is being considered as a filthy, obscene word in Bangladesh, and the liberal people refrain from doing anything in support of the freedom of expression of atheists. They must know that Islam should not be exempt from the critical scrutiny that applies to other religions as well; in their mind, they must understand that Islam has to go through an enlightenment process similar to what other world religions have already gone through, by questioning the inhuman, unequal, unscientific and irrational aspects of religion. If the Shahbag movement can’t make people understand this simple but necessary idea, then real change would never occur, even if some old criminals are hanged. I know that even the atheists at Shahbag would say, the time for this idea has not arrived yet. However, I earnestly hope that people would soon evolve, and be enlightened enough to realize that there is no real difference between the Islam of the 7th century and the Islam Jamaat-e-Islami practices to this day.
THIS is the prime focus of Islamic radicalism, the opposition to and the destruction of, the new and more enlightened movements within their own religion, themselves empowered by the modern world's new and open information networks through the Internet, allowing even the most oppressed people's to see and understand that their way of life and the old outmoded ways are not being practiced everywhere and their leaders' words of condemnation about those different ways of life are indeed, lies.  This is why they oppose us, because we are the source of those differing ways of life and that open information network that threatens their hold on their fellow Islamists and the monopoly they are used to having on information distribution!

But make no mistake about it, we are merely a sideshow to their prime purpose:  fighting against an Enlightened Islam.  They know that such an enlightenment is the beginning of the death knell for religion everywhere.  They may be uneducated by our standards, but they are most certainly not stupid.

I strongly wish that the main stream media in the First World would publicize this.  It is a perfect example of what the Islamic struggles are really all about, that it really isn't all about us, and it certainly isn't about the Second Coming in the Middle East.

It IS about the struggle between educated people and uneducated religious fanatics and just how much religion the world needs.

Maybe that's why they are trying hard to ignore it.

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