Foreign Policy Blogs

Hindu Rights Activist: “Bangladesh Should Establish Diplomatic Relations with Israel”

Photo Credit: Mendi Safadi

Bangladesh is one of the 29 UN member states that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. Bangladeshi citizens have it written on their passport that they cannot travel to Israel and Israelis cannot go to Bangladesh.

As Bangladeshi Hindu rights activist Shipan Kumer Basu who heads the Hindu Struggle Committee related, “As of now, the Bangladeshi government has severed all ties with Israel. All diplomatic, cultural, trade and even travel is non-existent.” Basu wants for this to change and believes that by empowering the Hindus and other minorities in Bangladesh, this could alter the reality within the country.

Basu, as a Hindu Bangladeshi activist, is quite disgruntled with the present Bangladeshi government: “Sheikh Hasina gave ISIS a stronghold in Bangladesh. She has given them moral, administrative and political support to carry out their dreadful activities throughout the country. A recent survey has shown that even the moderate Muslims don’t like the functioning of the Bangladeshi government. Thousands are lining up along the border and going to India. This will create another huge refugee problem in the subcontinent.”

Basu stressed that Sheikh Hasina’s government is persecuting the minorities of Bangladesh: “The Hindu women and girls are the most vulnerable in our country. They are systematically forced to marry people from the Muslim community. The minority women are sometimes even dragged out of their homes and beaten up. Minority women are forced to sleep with the Muslims to keep them satisfied.”

“In addition, they are forcefully grabbing the lands of the Hindu Temples with the help of the local administration. Many Hindu gods and goddesses were broken to pieces and Hindu priests were severely beaten up by radicals. Not one arrest was made. All of the government people are of the ruling Awami League. The police don’t accept any complaints from minorities. All of the political parties are involved in this dreadful suppression of the minorities.”

According to Basu, the Christians of Bangladesh fair no better: “Recently, a Christian person was killed by radical Muslims. There was a big protest by the local people demanding to punish the perpetrators but nothing happened and no arrests were made. I asked Mendi Safadi, the President of the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy and Public Relations, to help us achieve our rights as minorities. Till now, no minority party is given the permission to register within the country yet there are 11 Muslim parties. Safadi assured us that this corrupt government will be exposed to the international community.”

Basu proclaimed that if Israel empowers the minorities in Bangladesh to address the issues they face with the present government, “We will open all channels with Israel. We will establish full diplomatic ties. There is vast opportunities of work to be done in Bangladesh, which is only at the developmental stage. Our country will have a better opportunity to get the latest technology and equipment. Bangladesh has a population of about 160 million and so we have a huge consumer market. Setting up trade relations will help both countries to grow at a rapid pace.”

 

Author

Rachel Avraham
Rachel Avraham

Rachel Avraham is the President of the Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi Center for Human Rights in Middle East (under formation) and is a political analyst at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights. She is also a fellow at the Haym Salomon Center, a news and public policy group. For over 6 years, she has been an Israel-based journalist, specializing in radical Islam, abuses of human rights and minority rights, counter-terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria, Iran, Kurdistan and other issues of importance. Avraham is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media," a ground-breaking book endorsed by Former Israel Consul General Yitzchak Ben Gad and Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara that discusses how the media exploits the life stories of Palestinian female terrorists in order to justify wanton acts of violence. Avraham has an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She received her BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.

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