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Hindu Rights Activist: “Bangladesh has a lot to learn from Israel”

(Photo Credit: Hindu Struggle Committee)

Hindu rights activist Shipan Kumer Basu illustrated that Bangladesh has a lot to learn from Israel and that Israel can play a role in assisting the minority communities within Bangladesh.

According to Shipan Kumer Basu, head of the Hindu Struggle Committee, the Jewish people have been persecuted for thousands of years and that due to this history, “Israel has a history of helping people who are in distress throughout the world. Israel is a country full of talent and has vast expertise.” He believes that Bangladesh could benefit from Israeli knowledge in a variety of fields: “Extending their strong helping arms will strengthen our country and the minorities both intellectually and financially.”

He noted that in the past, Israel was very helpful to the Bangladeshi people: “In the 1971 Bangladeshi War for Liberation, then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi appealed to Israel for help. Israel readily helped with arms and ammunition and thus Bangladesh was born. Israel was the first country to recognize Bangladesh as a country officially. But, the same country did not keep any ties with Israel.” Some Bangladeshi Muslims are now greatly opposed to this reality. As Kaji Aujijul Haq said, “Why can’t we keep ties with Israel, when most of the Arab world is opening up to Israel? Our Prophet instructed us to keep ties with the Jews. Have we become more powerful than the Prophet himself?”

“Israel can help us in many ways,” Basu stressed, noting that Israel has the potential to play a key role in empowering the minorities within his country. According to a report released recently by the Hindu American Foundation, the Hindu minority living in several countries in South Asia are subjected to legal and institutional discrimination, restrictions on their religious freedom, social prejudice, violence, persecution, and political marginalization: “Hindu women are especially vulnerable and face kidnappings and forced conversions in countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. In several countries where Hindus are minorities, non-state actors advance a discriminatory and exclusivist agenda, often with the tacit or explicit support of the state.”

For this reason, Basu believes it is of critical importance for Israel to work in order to empower the minority communities within Bangladesh, stressing that this can lead to the re-establishment of diplomatic relations. He seeks for elections to be held as soon as possible under international supervision for he does not trust the Awami League government to hold fair elections: “If the Awami League comes to power again through a showcase voting process, then it will be a disaster. All of the minorities will lose the power to vote. Then, the Awami League will snatch land, kill and force the Hindus to leave Bangladesh. So a very neutral election is in need so that both Hindus and Muslims can live in peace.” Basu has enlisted the support of Israeli Druze diplomat Mendi Safadi, head of the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy and Public Relations, so that the plight of the Hindu minority in Bangladesh can reach the international community. He believes that Israel can play a key role in helping his people to obtain human rights and equality before the law in Bangladesh.

 

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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