Friday, May 26, 2017

Justice in Bangladesh: A Parable.

Bangladesh is a case study of a country which is slowly becoming more fundamentalist.  Consider the most recent example:

Under pressure from Islamic hard-liners, the Bangladeshi authorities in the predawn hours on Friday swiftly and quietly removed a sculpture of a woman personifying justice from outside the country’s Supreme Court building.
The hard-liners argue that Islam does not allow the depiction* of living beings in art.  Bangladesh's prime minister, Sheikh Hasina appears to have consented to the removal of the statue which was only erected five months ago.

I cannot tell if she believes that such a compromise would make the hard-liners content or if she has other political motivations.  Nevertheless, Bangladesh already suffers from extremist violence:

In recent years, its authorities have struggled to contain extremist violence against religious minorities, foreigners, gay people and secular intellectuals. Attendance at madrasas, or Islamic schools, is swelling, and more women are wearing the hijab, or head scarf.

What drives this radicalization in Bangladesh?  Is it supported by the petro-dollars or is it home-grown or both?  Whatever the seeds that have been sewn, the harvest is not something the world might want to gather.


*  This is based on the sayings of Mohammed, the hadiths, and not on the Quran, as far as I can tell.  The original intention was most likely to ban idolatry. 

Note that Bangladesh is nominally a secular country, though with Islam as its state religion.