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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  March, 2006  Of fatwa …
Of fatwa and its defenders

New Age, Bangladesh
Dhaka, Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Of fatwa and its defenders

Fazlul Haq Amini of the Islami Oikyo Jote thinks the High Court has violated the constitution. And how has it done that? If you hear Amini say it, you will find that the HC verdict against fatwas goes against the rights enshrined in the constitution. Of course, that is a twisted way of looking at the situation. One wonders if what Amini has said just now is not in itself a violation of not only the constitution but of morality as well. It is surprising, if not exactly amazing, that a rightwing politician should be defending the medievalism that is defined by the fatwa in a country which clearly remains wedded to liberal democracy and secularism.

   While we do not wish to be seen as intolerant of others’ opinions, we do feel it is our responsibility as it is of the larger body of civic society to remain alert to the depredations of men and women who clearly derive immense thrill from an exercise of the fatwa. It is especially in the rural interior, where people are helpless in the academic and economic sense, that these self-appointed guardians of religious law have been doing the biggest damage to the social fabric. They have delivered judgements on such matters as adultery, with some rather disturbing results. If a man accused of adultery has been let off because he has paid the fatwa elements a certain amount of money, the woman made pregnant by him has not been spared a sentence of public lashing by these self-same guardians of morality. Whichever way one looks at it, the whole picture is a terribly outrageous one. And when men like Amini speak in defence of such gross acts, they are adding one more bad picture to an already bad social image we are all trying to discard and throw into the sea.

   Such comments as those that Amini has made need to be curbed. And men like him should be chastised sufficiently for them not to mislead the country any further than they have already.

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