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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  April, 2004  Bangladesh premiere of documentary about Ahmadiyya Muslims
Bangladesh premiere of documentary about Ahmadiyya Muslims

The Daily Star
Vol. 4 Num 317Tue. April 20, 2004


Bangladesh premiere of documentary about Ahmadiyya Muslims
Staff Correspondent

A scene from the documentary‘Muslims or Heretics?’ a documentary about persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslims, was screened at Goethe Institute on Thursday, April 15. The screening was organised by Drishtipat, a US based Bangladeshi expatriate organisation focused on human rights issues, and Bangladesh-based DRIK.

The director of the film, New York-based Naeem Mohaiemen, is Editor of Shobak.Org and Associate Editor of Progressive Muslim website Explaining his reasons for making the documentary, he said, “In the US, we are active in campaigns to protect Muslim and Arab immigrant rights, especially during post 9/11 crackdown through Special Registration, Deportation and racial profiling. In North America and Europe, we are a marginalized minority. Yet, in Bangladesh, we are the majority — and other minorities are facing difficulties. If I am going to protest what’s happening to Muslims in the West, I also have to protest what is happening in Bangladesh.”

The event attracted a full house, with many people standing in the aisles during the screening. Among people in the audience were Dr. Shahdin Malick (BRAC University), Dr. Faustina Pereira, Barrister Sara Hossain, Sajjad Sharif (Prothom Alo), filmmaker Morshedul Islam, Khushi Kabir, Hameeda Hossain, journalist Govinda Shil, and Moinuddin Khan Badal.

Introducing the film, Asif Saleh of Drishtipat said, “Diaspora Bengalis are a resource for progressive movements in Bangladesh. Drishtipat is non-partisan and not aligned with any of the political parties of Bangladesh.” It is worth noting that Drishtipat has attacked human rights abuses by both the AL and BNP government. Drishtipat’s previous projects included fundraising campaigns for journalist Tipu Sultan (attacked by Joinal Hazari during AL government), Hindu villagers of Annadaprashad (attacked after 2001 elections) and women veterans of 1971.

Naeem Mohaiemen, who is also New York correspondent for The Daily Star, spoke to our reporter after the film: “As a progressive Muslim, I feel it’s essential that we defend the rights of all minorities. The Islamic extremists are using the Ahmadiyya issue as a Trojan horse -- their ultimate intention is to push through draconian measures like Blasphemy Law, and eventually lead us to a fundamentalist State.”

‘Muslims or Heretics?’ received a community service award from New York University Law Students Association.

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