Foreign Policy Blogs

Op-Ed: World ignores mass rape of Hindu women and girls in Bangladesh

Op-Ed: World ignores mass rape of Hindu women and girls in Bangladesh

One must conclude that all of the government-inspired rapes that target Bangladeshi Hindu women merely because they were born into the wrong faith community constitute a form of state-sponsored terrorism.

Recently, it has been reported that a series of human rights abuses have occurred in Bangladesh.  In a recent interview, Mendi Safadi, who heads the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, stated: “The people of Bangladesh are held hostage by a cruel tyrant, who has no problem slaughtering tens of thousands of her opponents merely in order to hold onto power, detaining masses of opponents before the elections merely to prevent them from disturbing her overwhelming victory and holding hostages in prisons merely in order to prevent just voices from rising up against her.  Bangladesh in recent years has become a country that has suffered from a high number of ethnic murders, the mass rape of Hindu women and girls by mainly Muslim men and a high number of Hindus being expelled from their homes so that the Muslims can take over their lands.”  However, while international media outlets have covered Sheikh Hasina’s repression against her opponents, very few international media outlets speak out about the daily rape of Bangladeshi Hindu women and girls.    

In my new book titled Emerging from the Depths of Despair: A Memoir on Rising Above the Trauma of Childhood Rape, which I am in the final phases of editing, I wrote: “There is an international consensus that politically-motivated rape is a form of terrorism.   Rape, like terrorism, is all about obtaining power, dominance and control over the victims, thus prompting them to feel helpless and weak.  Thus, Judaism considers rape to be equivalent to murder for the very nature of that crime is that it literally slaughters the soul of the female victim.”  Given this, one must conclude that all of the government-inspired rapes that target Bangladeshi Hindu women merely because they were born into the wrong faith community constitute a form of state-sponsored terrorism.

Yet sadly, the world is silent about this horrific phenomenon experienced by Bangladeshi Hindu women.   Recently, the World Hindu Struggle Committee reported that Rekha Rani Biswas, a Bangladeshi Hindu mother of two, was murdered after being gang-raped in Faridpur by Muslim terrorists.  Her husband Goap Biswas proclaimed: “I have a son and a daughter.  How can I live with my daughter in a country where my wife was brutally gang-raped and murdered?”  However, despite the fact that it is believed that her gang-rape and murder was religiously motivated, not a single major English-language newspaper has covered what happened to her.   In fact, not a single major Bangladeshi newspaper even covered her story.   Only a few online news sites noted it.   

Rekha Rani Biswas is not the only Bangladeshi Hindu female victim ignored by the community of nations.  According to the World Hindu Struggle Committee, Haimanti Shukla, a Hindu student at the Khepurpara Government Model Secondary School in Kalapara, committed suicide after being exposed to intense sexual harassment and was once even sexually assaulted by Muslims.   One of the Muslim harassers threatened Shukla: “If you don’t marry him, they will throw acid on you and murder your father.”  The threats, the sexual assault and the sexual harassment bothered Shukla to the point that she just committed suicide.   However, her story also did not make it into the major English language newspapers or even a major Bangladeshi newspaper for that matter.  Again, only a few online news sites covered it.

In an interview, Shipan Kumer Basu, President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, proclaimed: “These days, fathers, brothers and uncles in Bangladesh provide school girls with security.  This is because no Hindu girl feels safe on the way to school or college due to the increasing incidents of sexual harassment, rape and murder that are encouraged by the Awami League government.   In our society, girls and women are helpless, especially if they are Hindu.  Sheikh Hasina often claims that she is working for the development of women and girls.  Here is a question.  How can you call this reality the development of women and girls?  What have you done for the development of women and girls over the past 11 years?  Is this the kind of development for women and girls that you seek?   Bangladeshi Hindu women and girls don’t feel safe.  This must be changed or else Bangladesh won’t be headed in the right direction.”




Rachel Avraham

Rachel Avraham is the CEO of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy and the editor of the Economic Peace Center, which was established by Ayoob Kara, who served as Israel's Communication, Cyber and Satellite Minister. For close to a decade, she has been an Israel-based journalist, specializing in radical Islam, abuses of human rights and minority rights, counter-terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Azerbaijan, Syria, Iran, 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.