Bangladesh and Pakistan: where minorities fear to walk
Lee Jay Walker – The Modern Tokyo Times
In modern day Bangladesh and Pakistan you have constant persecution of non-Muslim minorities and also minority Muslim communities are being killed in the name of radical Sunni Islam in Pakistan. Therefore, Ahmadiyya Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Shia Muslims, Sikhs, and others, face daily persecution and hatred in Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively.
On August 11th this year it will be “Minority Day” in Pakistan, however, Dr. Nazir S. Bhatti of the Pakistan Christian Congress announced that they will be observing ‘Black Day” because of the constant persecution of minorities in Pakistan.
Dr. Nazir S. Bhatti states “How we can celebrate Minority Day in Pakistan when our innocent brothers are being killed by Islamic militants and our women are being gang raped and enforcedly converted to Islam.”
It is clear that the partition of India led to chaos and hundreds of thousands of people were murdered. After this chaos divisions would emerge between East Pakistan and West Pakistan and further bloodshed would occur, with the outcome being the sovereign nations of Bangladesh and Pakistan. However, while India remains to be multi-religious, the opposite is happening in Bangladesh and Pakistan because religious minorities are facing the brute reality of radical Sunni Islam.
To make matters worse both Bangladesh and Pakistan would witness the gradual Islamization of their societies, notably Pakistan, and massive corruption and persecution of women would continue. The Islamization of both nations was especially traumatic for Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan and for Hindus and Buddhists in Bangladesh. Not surprisingly, this Islamic persecution of minorities in both nations re-awakened anti-Islamic feelings in India.
Christians in Pakistan also began to feel the brunt of radical Sunni Islam and the same applies to Ahmadiyya Muslims who suffer greatly. At the same time you also have growing divisions within Sunni Islam and the usual Sunni-Shia divide led to many massacres and terrorist attacks.
However, unlike the destruction of Buddhism and Hinduism in Afghanistan which happened centuries earlier because of Islamic conquests, forced conversions to Islam, systematic persecution, and controlling all leverages of power; the Islamization of Bangladesh and Pakistan took place in the twentieth century and continues today.
Yet why are Buddhism and Hinduism being allowed to be destroyed in both nations? After all, Buddhists in Bangladesh were a small minority and they could never threaten Islam; the same applies to Hindus in Pakistan. Despite this, the international community remains very silent.
Therefore, why did other nations remain quiet when massive religious persecution was taking place? After all, nations like France, the United Kingdom and America were espousing ‘democracy’ and liberals were glorifying multi-faith societies and stating that Islam was a religion of peace. At the same time major institutions like the Commonwealth, which espoused global human rights, remained quiet despite religious persecution and pogroms in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
In Pakistan the destruction of Hinduism and persecution of Hindus took many forms. The first path was the massacre of Hindus during partition and forcing Hindus to leave via coercion. However, over the last 50 years the destruction of Hinduism in modern day Pakistan was based on past Islamic global conquests and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed who sanctioned the persecution of non-Muslims. For the Prophet Mohammed had told his followers to ‘Fight those who believe not in God nor the last day . . . Nor acknowledge the religion of truth (Islam) . . .’ Therefore, the followers of Hinduism were to be subdued in accordance with the teachings of Islamic Sharia Law, the Koran and the Hadiths.
Given this, Hindus were now a subdued minority, like Christians in Pakistan, and they were unequal in law and status in accordance with the teachings of Islam. At the same time Hindu temples were often converted into Muslim mosques or destroyed, and ancient Hindu architecture was left to collapse and fade away. The choice for many Hindus was either to convert to Islam in order to escape persecution, flee to India or to accept that they were second-class citizens in Pakistan. Not surprisingly, the Hindu population in Pakistan continued to decline and this civilization was being eradicated by Islam.
The situation for Buddhists in Bangladesh was different, for Buddhism had survived countless Islamic conquests in one region because of terrain and other factors; therefore, Buddhists and other faiths had survived in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. However, the increasing population of Bangladesh led to many problems and the government of Bangladesh hoped ‘to kill two birds with one stone.’ This applies to moving millions of Muslim people to remote parts of Bangladesh, notably the Chittagong Hill Tracts, while at the same time this new Muslim migration would crush the mainly Buddhist tribal opposition in this region.
Therefore, millions of Muslim migrants were moved into the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the mainly Buddhist tribals (some are Christian, Hindu or follow traditional beliefs) became embroiled in a civil war. Islamic radicals also moved into this region and many Buddhist priests were killed, including some being beheaded. At the same time hundreds of Buddhist temples were destroyed and the Bangladesh army took part in many massacres, and some Buddhist women were gang-raped by both Islamic zealots and the Bangladesh army.
In time the mainly Buddhist tribals were overwhelmed by the armed forces of Bangladesh and Muslim migration because this was a clear dual policy based on Islamization and control. Their situation, however, went unnoticed in the West and Islamic nations obviously remained silent. To make matters worse, the mainly Buddhist tribes had no nation supporting them and no major world leader to draw attention to their plight. Given this, the government of Bangladesh continues with this policy and Buddhists and other minorities face the ongoing Islamization of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Therefore, the destruction of thousands of years of Hindu/Buddhist civilization in these nations is being destroyed and the world remains largely silent. It is clear that mainly Buddhist nations like Japan (and Shinto), Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and others, should form an organization to help their co-religionists; with Japan being the main financial power to raise awareness of Buddhist persecution. However, sadly this is not happening and India clearly did not do enough in order to protect or raise the issue of Hindu persecution in both Bangladesh and Pakistan.
If global silence continues then Buddhism will one day be eradicated in Bangladesh. However, the global community did condemn the Taliban in Afghanistan for destroying Buddhist statues and art, yet the same global community remains quiet when Buddhist tribes are being systematically persecuted. Does this mean that Buddhist art in Afghanistan is more important than the persecution of Buddhist communities and the gang rape of Buddhist women in Bangladesh?
Surely the Hindus of Pakistan and Buddhists in the Chittagong Hill Tracts deserve better? If the international community remains silent about this crime, then soon these lands will be Islamized and religiously ‘cleansed.’
The ongoing silence is an international disgrace and because of this Islamists are now killing Ahmadiyya Muslims and Christians in Pakistan. After all, the world remained silent when Hindus and Sikhs faced massive persecution in Pakistan and the same applies to the constant destruction of Buddhist tribal villages in Bangladesh. Therefore, the persecution of all minorities is getting worse in modern day Pakistan.
The most vulnerable and ‘voiceless’ in Bangladesh and Pakistan have been abandoned by the international community. Why?
Lee Jay Walker