March 14, 2008

The devil can say what he wants - in the name of religion

On the International women's day (March 8) The chief adviser of the caretaker (interim) government of Bangladesh Fakhruddin Ahmed had announced the National Women Development Policy 2008. From the New Age the text of his speech:
‘To achieve the goal of women’s economic empowerment, there should be enactment of necessary laws covering important aspects like health, education, training, vocational training, information, opportunity for income, property, debt, technology and equal rights and establishment of the right to have control over moveable and immovable property earned through market management,’ read one of the clauses of the policy
However Mufti Fazlul Huq Amini, chairman of Islami Oikkojote (Islamic confederation) has proclaimed a Fatwa in a press release that by announcing the policy, the caretaker government has spoken against the Koran, and are thus considered apostates. He has also asked President Iazuddin to disband the government, and asked Army chief of staff Gen. Moeen U. Ahmed to withdraw his support (via Shada Kalo).

But Amini did not describe how the Government had violated the Koran. Although there is a law in Bangladesh which prohibits any Fatwa, the government had not taken any action against Amini. Instead it sounded a meek protest that the policy has been 'misinterpreted':
"The caretaker government has not passed any "law" regarding inheritance, Law Adviser AF Hassan Ariff yesterday said, adding that the National Women Development Policy, 2008 has been misinterpreted.

The women development policy is not a law, it is only a policy to work out measures for protecting women from different forms of harassment and deprivations. It does not even contain anything concerning inheritance."
The crux of the matter is thus the law of inheritance and women's equal rights.

According to AFP:
The government "does not have any plan to enact any laws that goes against the Koran and the traditions of Prophet Mohammad," a government statement said. Arif gave the assurance to top Islamic clerics and scholars late on Tuesday, after Islamic groups warned of nationwide protests, saying they would not tolerate any law that went against sharia, the Islamic law code.

Sharia is based on the teachings of the Koran, prescribing both religious and secular duties, from prayer to alms-giving, as well as penalties for law-breaking. There are many interpretations of the sharia.

The clerics' complaints followed a new government policy announced last week which stated women should have equal property rights.

Bangladesh, whose population is 90 percent Muslim, has a secular legal system but in matters related to inheritance and marriage Muslims follow sharia law.

Sharia practised in Bangladesh's inheritance law generally stipulates that a girl would inherit half of what her brother gets. Women groups have long protested against the disparity and demanded equal rights.
And if you are wondering who is this Amini read Sid's post:
Fazlul Haque Amini MP is one of Bangladesh’s more repulsive political Islamists and head of a Jamaat-friendly Islamist political party (Islami Oikya Jote). A man with a history of managing some of the most hate-filled religio-political projects Bangladesh has suffered. In 2004 and 2005, Amini blackmailed the Bangladesh government into a brutal and ugly campaign of attacks against the Ahmadiyya Muslim minority of Bangladesh. More information here.

Amini said in a press statement that if ever an Islamic party came to power in Bangladesh it would ban Grameen Bank from operating in the country.
Why the grudge against Grameen Bank? Because they empowers poor women.

And why people like Amini are around with their fanatic approach? Even the so called progressive political party like Awami League reached an agreement of coalition with them agreeing on these astonishing clauses (which were later termed void by AL because the election did not happen):
1) Certified Alems (Islamic clerics) will have the right to issue fatwas (Islamic religious edicts) if the grand electoral alliance comes to power.
2) A bar on enacting any law that goes against Koranic values,
3)A ban on criticisms of Prophet Muhammad.
4) Those who do not believe in the assertion that the Prophet of Islam is the last messenger of Allah would forfeit their right to be known as a Muslim, an oblique reference to the Ahmadiyya community.
It seems power brokers do not want to mess with Amini and he seems ever immune to hate speech against the government under a state of emergency.

The authorities did not take any action against Amini's puking towards them whereas a common citizen can find himself in deep trouble because of constructively criticizing the Government under the state of emergency. Such is the standard of law and justice in today's Bangladesh.


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