“But, if anyone writes filthy words against our religion, why should we tolerate that?”

An editorial in the Dhaka Tribune:

Asked about the murder of Jagannath University Masters student Nazimuddin Samad, the home minister told BBC Bangla: “We need to see whether he used to write objectionable things on blogs.”

No, no, no.

It is almost impossible to quantify how wrong-headed and self-defeating this approach is.

The point is not what Nazim may or may not have written. The point is that he has been slaughtered in public in cold blood.

It’s stomach-turning that a high government official apparently thinks writing “objectionable things” on blogs is a valid reason to murder the writer.

The minister’s unwise and ill-judged comment, by implying the victim may in some way have been responsible for his fate, only gives comfort to the perpetrators and raise doubts about how serious the government is in trying to catch those behind the series of targeted killings that has blighted the face of the nation.

For the minister to further claim that law enforcers have solved all the previous murders and say “the masterminds have been arrested or identified” — in stark contradiction to the facts — reduces his credibility to zero.

The “or identified” is interesting, since it could mean the law enforcers know who they are and have no intention of doing anything about it.

His remarks are worse than complacent.

Not only do they divert attention from the over-riding need to catch and punish the killers, they also feed into the mind-set that such a crime can be justified and that people need to watch what they say or write or suffer the consequences.

It bears repetition: It does not matter what anyone says or writes. It is never acceptable to kill someone for his or her words.

The home minister would do well to understand and internalise this basic truth, and act accordingly.

His regrettable statements suggest that this elementary premise of both human rights and of law enforcement is beyond him, calling into question his fitness for the office he holds.

Exactly so, hence my finding his comment stomach-turning. Its reminiscent of law enforcement in Mississippi in 1964, when sheriffs knew perfectly well who had killed the civil rights workers, and looked on in approval.

And today Sheikh Hasina said people who dispute religion deserve what they get, thus putting an even bigger target on their backs:

Hasina said it is not at all acceptable to write something hurting religious sentiments of others. ‘We perform our religious rituals. But, if anyone writes filthy words against our religion, why should we tolerate that?’

She said nowadays it has become a fashion to write something against religion as part of free thinking. ‘But, I consider such writings as not free thinking but filthy words. Why anyone would write such things? It’s not at all acceptable if anyone writes against our prophet or other religions. This is a characteristic fault, expression of distorted or filthy mindset. I hope no one would write such filthy things.’

Mentioning that as being a Muslim she follows the religious rituals and it hurts her seeing such filthy words against any religion, the Prime Minister questioned why the government would take responsibility in case of any untoward incident for such writings. ‘Everyone should maintain decency. Otherwise in case of any uncivilised attitude, the government wouldn’t take the responsibility.’

That is absolutely appalling.

About the killing out of vengeance for such writings, she said Islam does not permit it and Almighty Allah does not bestow the duty of trial on them.

‘But, if anyone doesn’t abide by the guidance of Almighty Allah and his prophet and thus kill people, it is ‘Shirk’. I hope no one would indulge in such act,’ she added.

But it’s not the government’s problem if they do. That’s basically a green light to go out and kill all the atheists and secularists.

H/t Nick Little and Michael De Dora

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