Stop flirting with extremism, Dhaka daily tells politicians
Dhaka: A prominent Dhaka daily newspaper has urged political parties to take note of "what has happened in Pakistan" and "stop flirting with religious extremism" as had happened during Monday`s strike.
The Daily Star Wednesday took serious note of some Islamist activists wearing "the Holy Quran around their necks or under their loosely fitted outer garments", while being part of the strike called by a conglomerate of Islamist organisations. The strike was `tacitly` supported by main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
"Knowing full well what happens when there is a street fight with the police, bringing the holy book on to the streets is a clear indication that these people wanted the Holy Quran to be exposed to situations when it might be unwittingly and unintentionally desecrated," the daily said.
"The aim appears to have been to show on TV screen and in newspaper photographs that our holy book was desecrated by police. This then could be used to fan anti-government sentiment," the newspaper wrote.
"Such blatant, shameless, and cynical use of religion and of our Quran had never been seen in the past, and must be condemned by all," it said.
"To us nothing exposes the moral bankruptcy of these agitators as the sight that they stooped to using our Holy Quran for their narrow political purpose."
The newspaper said: "Pakistan serves as a good example as to what happens if extremism is not tackled with a firm hand..."
Supporting the government in fighting religious extremism, the newspaper said: "We must also acknowledge, other than Sheikh Hasina`s government none dared to take the bull by the horn, and fight extremism with courage, determination, and a lot of political and personal risk."
"The opposition must study what has happened in Pakistan, and stop flirting with religious extremism just because it gives an additional number of cadres to harass the government," the newspaper said.
Bangladesh was East Pakistan between 1947 and 1971.
"During our time with Pakistan, the oft-used propaganda against Awami League was that it was a party against Islam. It is ironic that the slogans and propaganda tactics that we heard and saw in the late fifties, sixties, and in the freedom fighting days of the early seventies -- are now being repeated," the newspaper noted.
"We must remember that extremism has done no good to any people any where in the world," the newspaper`s editor in chief Mahfuz Anam wrote.
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