The Islamic Circle of North America and the Pakistani nuclear connection
Ashrafuzzaman Khan in NY: ICNA president alleged death squad leader who shot to death 7 university teachers in Dhaka
by Jamal Hasan Secular Islam .org
September 19, 2004
MIM: In addition to documented ties to Al Qaeda , Al Muhajiroun, and Jihad in Chechyna, the Islamic Circle of North America's Pakistan connection may indicate a nuclear threat which must be investigated .
Jamal Hasan explains the connection between the large Pakistani expatriate member of the Islamic Circle of North America and Pakistani politics and hints at the dangers which this group can pose given the nuclear technology which is unsecured in Pakistan.
For a scientific analysis of the threat of nuclear weapons falling into terrorist hands see the articles which are listed below.
"Pakistani-Islam's Global Ploy and Suppression of Bengali Genocide Tragedy"
by Jamal Hasan
The year 1971 was indeed a time of a catastrophic tragedy of disproportionate magnitude in the South Asian region. It also inculcated a serious message on the belief system on a number of God-fearing Bengalis. The cruelty inflicted on a hapless population was so immense that many of the traditional believers became disillusioned with the religion of Islam, totally. A few of them even went to the extent of going on a missionary zeal of being vocal critics of Islam. Conversely, the defenders of Islam who did not side with the brutal regime would endlessly argue the position of the neo-attackers of Islam. They would say, "Look what the Pakistanis did was not manifestation of true Islam. The Pakistani marauding soldiers even killed namazis in mosques all across occupied Bangladesh."
When excesses are done in the name of religion, the people in the receivers' end often become disenchanted rather quickly. Iran could be a case in point. Many of the urban intelligentsia now comment that even in Shah's time people used to respect Islam. Now the mullahs made the religion very much an oppressive tool. No wonder, more and more people are losing respect for Islam in the country of Islamic Shangri-La.
A few weeks ago, Abul Kasem from Australia wrote a mind-boggling commentary in News from Bangladesh (Mindset of Pakistanis favouring 1971 Genocide, NFB Feature; Nov. 22, 2000) on the mindset of Pakistanis about the genocide of 1971. If we go back to 1971 once again and try to extrapolate the lifestyle of average Pakistani army man in the occupied Bangladesh, we may bring one possible scenario. As the soldiers plundered, looted and raped the masses, they suddenly did not become atheists or agnostics. Most of them were God-fearing Muslims. The keepers of the Razarbagh Police Line prison, where dozens of Bengali women were raped and assaulted on a daily basis, were in all likelihood practicing Muslims. Maybe, many of them did not miss the daily prayers. Or, how about the caretakers of those bunkers near the Tripura border and elsewhere in the erstwhile East Pakistan where unclothed and visibly shaken Bengali women were rescued immediately after liberation of the country? Maybe, during the month of Ramadan many of the rapists and assaulters fasted following the dictum of the Divine religion. The question is, why didn't the barbaric oppression not subdue because of the religious teaching? Is it because somehow the brutal forces could rationalize all the misdeeds keeping the broader guideline of scripture? Did they believe by heart whatever brutality they were committing was not against the spirit of Islamic ideal?
The critics of Islam would say that the problem of such barbarism lies in the inherently ambiguous scriptural texts of the religion. Defenders of faith sympathizing with Bengali cause may argue that all the brutality was perpetrated with a facade of a skewed interpretation resulting in misinterpretation of the scripture. I do not want to join the debate as I lack enough expertise on the intricacy of Islamic theology. I can only attempt to put the political agenda of the Pakistani brand of Islam in proper perspective as it relates to the events of 1971. As before, I am calling the manifestation of Islam a tool for oppression in occupied Bangladesh as Pakistani-Islam. I am not blaming Islam, per se, for the catastrophe. I would rather accuse the Pakistani oligarchy for smoothly pocketing a century-old religion to serve the narrow interest and racist agenda of the Punjabi ruling clique.
Almost all the Islamist parties in the Pakistan occupied Bangladesh sided with the oppressive military regime of Yahya Khan in 1971. Immediately after liberation, quite a few of the social outcasts experienced backlash from the victims -- the Bengali masses. Under such an unfavorable situation of post independent Bangladesh, the killer and collaborator mullahs went into hiding until the reformed Islam pasand dictator Ziaur Rahman became victorious in the political arena. During much of Zia and the other military ruler Ershad era, the hibernating killers and collaborators of the Pakistani-Islamic sector got a new lease of life. The paradigm was calculatively shifted by the conniving Bengali generals favoring Yahya Khan's position of 1971. In this backdrop, the heinous Islamist criminals of 1971 could, without much effort, recapture significant Islamic landmarks like Bait-ul Mukarram and the other leading mosques. The situation became so frustrating that many of the Bengali nationalists who were also believers in Islam had no option but to boycott the places of worship that put killers of 1971 in a clergy's role. The leading Bengali poetess Sufia Kamal's death bed wish was no Jamaati or a killer mullah would be allowed to do the needful during her funeral rites.
Turning back to Pakistani army juntas, let me reiterate that they used and abused the religion of Islam to serve their purposes. They were quite aware of the ground reality that their colonial interest could only be attained if they skillfully played the Islamic card. In fact, they succeeded to a great length not only yesterday, but also today. Islam's critics saw the ruthless Yahya army indiscriminately killed civilians, and religious minority in particular. From the night of 25th March there was a selective massacre in Hindu populated areas where even the little children were not spared. The critics of Islam would find a pattern of intolerance to non-believer from the dawn of Islamic civilization that goes contrary to humanistic ideals. According to their view, the concept of Jihad and killing of infidels mercilessly was nothing new in the history of Islamic civilization. And their view was reinforced as the great majority of the Muslim nations nakedly sided with the marauding Pakistani junta of 1971.
The terms like Umma or Islamic brotherhoods are uniquely common in the faith of Islam. These terms are definitely political. In other words, the politicized terminologies could wake some faithful who are half asleep. Unfortunately, the merchants of religion, the Pakistani oligarchy, till today are bent on using those words to subjugate the less viable populations of Sindh, NWFP or Balochistan. Whenever a minority ethnic group demands its right, the usual outcry in Islamabad would be, "Islam in danger!" The irony of the matter is Yahya's troop in 1971 did so much harm and long term damage to Islam that it won't be too easy to salvage. When a crime against humanity is committed in the name of religion, the incriminating evidence can hardly be hidden from the watchful eyes of the conscientious international community.
As the days go by, we are confronting with the sad past and are unearthing and documenting gory details of the monstrosity of those Muslims from a western land called Pakistan. Consider the most recent documentation of demolition of the Ramna Racecourse Hindu Temple call Kali BaDi. According to an eyewitness account the following chilling moments occurred in that historical big field located in the close proximity of the Dhaka University. On the fateful night of March 25, 1971, when the Pakistani soldiers cordoned off the area, they gathered a number of Hindu men, women and children from the vicinity. Before getting shot at, the high priest of the age-old temple was compelled to recite some Qura'nic verses. The men and children were put on the firing line and the women's lives were spared as they were whisked away to an unknown destination. These sorts of dark chapters gave the requisite ammo to the anti-Islamic crusaders to transpose their point of view. They have the opportunity to equate these grotesque situations with the snatching of the so-called war booties (captured women and children) from the defeating forces of the Pagan Arabs or the Quryash tribe in the late 7th century that had legitimization as per Islamic doctrine.
These days many Bengalis outside Bangladesh attempt to reinvent their identity. A good number of them try to become neo-Muslims. I have no qualm with it if it only confines to individual relationship to the divinity. But the problem arises when Pakistani-Islam comes into play. Unfortunately, in regard to 1971 episode, many Bengalis fall into the trap of selective amnesia, which is quite detestable. To them, loving Islam means loving the marauding Pakistani army of 1971. Ultimately, the crime and rape committed by those hordes become less condemnable. That is the winning situation for the Pakistani ruling elite. They successfully injected the opium of Pakistani-Islam into the veins of the Bengalis for 24 years, which did not go away with a tragedy of nine months. If the Pakistani soldiers were Hindus, Jewish or of Christian faith, we may witness those God-fearing Bengalis would never forget the crime inflicted on their own brothers or sisters. Probably those Islamist Bengalis would have been the greatest crusaders to rekindle the spirit of 1971, if the scenario was such. After all, in a politicized religious world, it is always an issue of us versus them.
Lest we forget, in the theological realm, Christianity got serious setback from within by the Protestant movement of yesteryear. After 1971, the Bengalis had a real chance to confront the world body of Islamic nations to extract a justifiable explanation for its overt antipathy toward Bengalis' struggle for national emancipation. Did the Bengalis utilize the opportune moment? Not at all. To add insults to the injury, the founding father of the emerging nation went to the Islamic summit in Lahore that was tantamount to kowtowing the Pakistani regime that could consequently legitimize the role of Pakistani-Islam in 1971. After that melodrama, as the Bengali leader went to the Saudi Arabia begging for the nascent republic's recognition from the medieval sheikdom, he got a real taste of the Pakistani-Islam's over encompassing tentacle. The Saudi leader categorically said that he was in great pain to see the casualty of Pakistani Muslim soldiers in East Pakistan. Readers may now see that although the Pakistani soldiers raped and destroyed a peace-loving population, they were still perceived as the Saudi kingdom's brothers. That means even if half of the Bengali population were wiped out and all the Bengali women were raped by the "brotherly Pakistani army," it would not bring any second thought among the Saudi royalty. What a disgrace! Turning my eyes to modern day America to look at how my Bengali compatriots faring with other Muslim Ummats I get the chill of my life. Here, quite a few expatriates Bengali Muslims endeavored to enhance their Muslim identity by joining such groups like Islamic Society of North America, Islamic Circle of North America, American Muslim Council or the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The groups are supposed to help the minority Muslim cause in a predominantly non-Muslim country like USA (or Canada). Pakistan traditionally has been a good patron for such groups. As a new member of the nuclear club Pakistan's influence and prestige have quadrupled in the comity of Islamic nations. They are the proverbial Big brother now. The ruling elite of Pakistan already have become a behind-the-scene agenda setter of many Islamic groups in non-Islamic countries. Not only that, a fundamentalist party like Jamat-i-Islami has exerted considerable influence on a group like Islamic Circle of North America. One of this group's leaders is an alleged notorious war criminal who was accused of killing seven university teachers in Bangladesh in 1971. Any new member of either of the above-mentioned groups may come across political discourse on the misery and sufferings of a number of nationalities of Muslim faith. The plight of the Chechens, Kashmiris, Kosovars or Bosnians may inundate the web pages of such groups. Bangladesh genocide is history now. But do you think there is any room for the great human tragedy in the charters of those groups? Readers, please do not delude yourselves. These highly politicized groups are mouthpieces of quite a few vested interests and Pakistani oligarchy is one of them. If anything mentioned in any of the group's working paper regarding Bangladesh genocide that would be something like this, "In 1971 India attacked Pakistan and Pakistani soldiers fought against the attackers and ultimately India succeeded in splitting up the Islamic nation of Pakistan with the help of miscreants belonging to Awami League." Probably Bengali Muslim faithfuls who became part and parcel of the Pakistani-Islamic agenda do not care much when the question of their Pakistani brothers' crime against humanity is raised. And that attitude is definitely a great hindrance to upholding a nation's dignity. We should be reminded of this sad reality one more time.
MIM: The 'punishments' were a farce. In one well publicized case the scientist got off with an apology which begs the question as to who in the Pakistani government was complicit. The fact that the US believes Musharaff, whose security apparatus has been infilitrated by Al Qaeda and Taliban sympathisers, is even more alarming.
He was speaking after press reports stated that investigators had discovered millions of pounds in accounts linked to scientists...
We believe what Musharraf tells us," said one senior western diplomatic source. "Under his administration the government has not authorised this. We are a lot less sure of previous governments. We have no doubt that individual Pakistanis are involved."
AP) The founder of Pakistan's nuclear program apologized in a nationally televised address Wednesday for spreading weapons secrets.
The government said Abdul Qadeer Khan asked President Gen. Pervez Musharraf for forgiveness.
"I have chosen to appear before you to offer my deepest regrets and unqualified apologies," Khan said in a solemn speech broadcast on state television. "I take full responsibility for my actions and seek your pardon."
Intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was an agreement not to prosecute Khan, who agreed to cooperate with investigators and give them all the required information for their probe into the nuclear transfers.
A friend of the scientist said Tuesday that Khan told him he gave nuclear weapons technology to other countries with the full knowledge of top army officials, including Musharraf.
But Khan said government officials were not involved in the leaks.
"I also wish to clarify that there was never ever any kind of authorization for these activities by the government," he said.
In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, the Institute for Science and International Security has created this temporary web page as a resource of ISIS findings that may be relevant to an understanding of the threats and risks posed by nuclear terrorism.
new -->"Bin Laden and the Bomb,"by David Albright, Kathryn Buehler, and Holly Higgins. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January/February 2002.
"Secrets, What Secrets? Terrorists Might Exploit Pakistan's Cavalier Attitude Toward Nuclear Information" by David Albright (published by Scientific American). This brief article discusses how the historical development of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, which has relied extensively upon illict procurement and deliberate deception, has heightened the risk that sensitive nuclear technology, equipment, or materials could leak out to other nations or terrorist groups. In the organizational culture of Pakistan's nuclear program, disaffected individuals could find plenty of justifications and opportunities to transfer classified information or sensitive items. Recent revelations concerning connections between senior Pakistani nuclear scientists and the Taliban reinforce the risk that Pakistan does not have adequate controls over its sensitive nuclear information. Article accessible for a fee from the Scientific American Digital Archives.
MIM: ICNA's family and parenting forums also included alleged death squad leader Ashraf Uzzaman Khan as a speaker, and Zulfiqar Ali Shah, who was president of ICNA, until he became CEO of the Universal Heritage Foundation in Kissimmee Florida. Shah was the ICNA president and Ashrafuzzaman Khan served under him as vice president.Note that UHF trustee Siraj Wahaj was also a listed speaker at this conference.
Dr. Ahmedullah Siddiqi, a member of the ICNA organizing committee, discussed the positive roles Muslims could play in the media. "News about Muslims and Islam should not just happen, we should make it happen," Siddiqi argued. In order to know how to deal with the media, Muslims should have good knowledge of individuals responsible for community events and news, knowledge of acceptable formats for their messages, and understanding of deadlines and media pressures.
Besides sessions that focused on family issues, the ICNA convention hosted seminars and workshops on a wide range of topics that interest Muslims in the U.S. such as Da'wah concepts, intercultural interactions, and parenting skills. Parallel sessions were also held for young Muslims who participated heavily in various activities prepared by ICNA.
The Islamic bazaar hosted more than 150 exhibitors who filled the exhibition area with different ethnic and cultural items. The bazaar included a great variety of bookstores and publications and a good representation of various Islamic humanitarian and human rights organizations. Booths concerning the Kosovo and Algerian problems proved particularly interesting to the bazaar's visitors. (See photo displays on inside front and back covers.)
Focusing on family issues, the convention was a gathering of families with roots in different parts of the world and residences in different parts of the United States, but all enjoying the food, the music, and the joyful ambiance. The spacious Convention Center hallways were filled with visitors and their children.
ICNA therefore succeeded in its total goal of bringing Muslim families together and making them aware of the importance of family in Islam. The beautiful Islamic atmosphere the convention portrayed was an equally remarkable achievement.
Other speakers included Imam Khalid Griggs, Dr. Amer Al-Shawa, Imam Mohammad Naseem, Imam Siraj Wahhaj,Rev. Gary Dinning, Rev. Art MacDonald, Dr. Jamal Badawi, Ama Shabazz, Dr. Francis Leap, Shamim Siddiqi, Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Dr. Ahmed Murad, Dr. Abdulah Idrees Ali, Ashraf Uz Zaman Khan, Zahid Mehmud, Nasheed Latif, Wali Alam, Dr. Islam Hussain, Dr. Mukhtar Maghraoui, Imam Plemon El-Amin, Dr. Omar Afzal, Sheikh Ali Sulayman Ali, Dr. Abdul Warith Saeed, Sheikh Abu Bakr, Abdul Malik Mujahid, Faraz Iqbal, Afia Sarwar, Tahmina Saleem, Zerqa Zafar, Aisha Muhammed, Ayesha Sheema, Abid Saffet Catovic, Nafees Khan, Tariqur Rahman, Taria Yoonus, Jawad Jafry, professor Khurshid Ahmed, Shaik Ubaid, Safia Griggs, Imam Al-Amin Abdul Latif, Aalim Fevens, Nouman Siddiqi, Fakhir Baig, Mohamed Salem, and Altaf Hussain.
News from Bangladesh: Fire in the Soul the predicament of Millions
by Jamal Hassan
As I was writing this article, the Islamic Circle of North America concluded its convention in Baltimore, Maryland. Ashrafuzzaman Khan, an accused war criminal of 1971 graced the event with his presence. This soft-spoken Islamic scholar is well respected in the Islamic circle of this region. But his dark past is hard to ignore. He was accused of killing seven Dhaka University professors with his own hands. Mofizuddin, who had chauffeured the accused killer, has testified against Ashrafuzzaman in a court of law.
How about the perpetrators of a genocide? They are perfectly normal. Most of them are really very nice, polite, and soft spoken (like the Islamic Circle of North America's leader Ashrafuzzaman Khan). But there is one trait that separates them from the rest of us and that is, the uncompromising faith in the supremacy of what they belief and their inability to accept the existence of others if they do not follow them. Any means is justified to advance their belief even if that means the annihilation of an entire race. That is why no Pakistani has ever condemned the genocide of the Bangalees. That is why they will do that again if an opportunity lends itself. Since no crime has been committed, the question of trial of the perpetrators of genocide does not arise at all. Isn't it so?
WHO IS Ashrafuzzaman Khan? Why is it so important that we now know the content of his dairy? Please be patient and read this write-up. I will let you draw your own conclusion regarding the culpability of this man.
It was the first week of December of 1971. It was also the final chapter in our nine month long days of fire and blood. Forces under the joint command of Mukti Bahini and the Indian army had almost encircled Dacca from all directions. But even as all seemed lost for the beleaguered Pakistani armed forces, sinister forces were at work at the Governor's House determined more than ever to deliver the coup de grâce to the "upstarts" who had refused to accept the fate of a subject race.
General Niazi was huddling with his comrade the infamous Major General Rao Farman Ali, and their chief troubleshooter, Major Siddique Salek. They had just received the list they had been expecting from Al-Badr and Al-Shams. Ashrafuzzaman Khan, a commander of the brutal Al-Badr, had just compiled a list of Bengali intellectuals for the "benefit" of the high command in the Governor's House.
It was the list of intellectuals who have been targeted for elimination. The plan was to kill them immediately so that if Bangladesh becomes an independent nation, it will have to make do without those that can contribute significantly to rebuild the infrastructure of the devastated nation. It would be Pakistan's parting kick to Bangladesh, so to speak.
Many of the Bengali intellectuals listed by Ashrafuzzaman Khan were taken out of their homes in the dead of night in that eventful week of December in 1971. Needless to say, none of them lived to see the light of day. Even in the moment of their defeat, Generals Niazi and Ali must have relished the thought that they have forced Bangladesh to pay an extremely heavy price for its independence. It must have given them no little pleasure to imagine that Bangladesh will fall apart in no time without the services of so many of its leading intellectuals.
Bangladesh was liberated on December 16, 1971. Unfortunately, it took longer than it should have taken for the new administration to attend to its tasks. By the time the investigators arrived at the residence of Ashrafuzzaman Khan, he had fled. However, in haste, he had left behind a crucial piece of evidence. The investigators rummaging through his leftover items managed to recover that piece of the puzzle from his house.
They found Ashrafuzzaman Khan's diary. In it was that infamous list of intellectuals in his own handwriting. It was indeed a gruesome find that shocked the people. Ashrafuzzaman Khan was a wanted man. Photos of the suspect were posted in all Bangladeshi newspapers. People were urged to apprehend the criminal. But all this was too late. Ashrafuzzaman had managed to flee not just his residence, but his country as well by the time the search was on for his arrest.
Today, Ashrafuzzaman Khan leads an active life of all places in New York. He has assumed a role of leadership in the Islamic movement in the city. Ashrafuzzaman Khan is now the President of the Islamic Circle of North America. I was reminded anew of his terrible past as I read in the Washington Post a statement by Ashrafuzzaman Khan on the tragic Egypt air accident.
Ashrafuzzaman Khan was quoted as saying, "Sometimes, we face that we are helpless.... another man lost his parents. Nobody knows anything. Everybody is sad. But we have to put our faith in God." This is coming from the man whose infamous list had left so many children without their fathers in that fateful week in December of 1971. What an irony it is that this conspirator par excellence of Bangali intellectual killings in 1971, is now a dyed-in-the-wool humanist, after all these years! But, is he a humanist? No. He is just a wolf in sheep's skin. That is what he is!
We, Bangladeshis, seem to be singularly devoid of self-esteem. Bangladesh had failed miserably to bring the war criminals to justice after the surrender of Generals Niazi and Ali on 16th December 1971. And today, Sheikh Hasina seems to be more interested in pursuing only those that had killed her kith and kin on 15th August 1975. No one seems interested to bring the killers of 1971 to justice. To me, this is the greatest travesty of justice in Bangladesh.
Of course, Ashrafuzzman Khan hasn't quite been allowed to forget his criminal past. A few years ago, Shahriar Kabir, a leader of Ghatok Dalal Nirmul (Efface the killers and conspirators) Committee exposed the whereabouts of Ashrafuzzaman Khan who, needless to say, stoutly denies any wrongdoing. But editions of the directory of collaborators, "Ekatturer Ghatok Dalal Kay Kothai" (Where are the killers and conspirators of 1971?") continues to carry Ashrafuzzaman Khan's photo together with a print of the pages of his infamous diary.
The Nirmul (Efface) Committee has branches in almost all States of USA. Most of the members were very active under the leadership of Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam. They had even sent a lawyer to assist the prosecution during the epoch making People's Trial of Prof. Golam Azam and his cohorts. When will they go after Ashrafuzzaman Khan? In America, it shouldn't be too difficult to force a war criminal to answer in a court of law. The million-dollar question is -- who will bell the cat?
The writer is a Bangladeshi journalist, based in Washington, DC. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
More on the murders attributed to ICNA president Ashrafuzzaman Khan
By: A.H. Jaffor Ullah On February 2, 2004, Lt. General Amir Abdullah Khan "Tiger" Niazi, one of the masterminds of Bangladesh Genocide had died in Lahore, Pakistan of diabetic complications. The disgraced Pakistani army General died at the age of 89 making him one of the oldest senior army officers who participated in 1971 to squash our legitimate fight for freedom to have survive that long! One by one, Pakistan's vile military leaders who wittingly participated in genocide during Bangalees 1971 freedom struggle are passing from this mortal world. Not too long ago, on March 28, 2002, another rogue army General of Pakistan, General Tikka Khan, who terrorized Bangalee civilians in erstwhile East Pakistan, also had departed from this world. The one who is still surviving to our knowledge is retired major General Rao Farman Ali Khan, the head of the then Pakistani military intelligence in Dhaka. Bangladesh's Jamaat-i-Islam leaders who are now partner in Khaleda Zia government should have no qualms recognizing these rogue army leaders who were ably assisted by them to carry out killings of the intellectuals.
One of the Jamaati executioners, M. Ashrafuzzaman Khan now in his late 50s lives in the borough of Queens in New York City doing thriving business as tour guides to Hajj performers from America. The reason I am bringing the nasty episode of Jamaat's involvement with marauding Pakistani military while remembering Gen. Abdullah "Tiger" Niazi's misdeeds is the following: Niazi's men were able to kill quite a few Bangalee intellectuals in the fag end of the war for independence in December 1971 because of the involvement of the likes of Ashrafuzzaman Khan, Delwar Hossain Saidee, Prof. Golam Azam, Motiur Rahman Nizami, Maulana Ali H.M. Mujahid, Maulana Mannan of daily Inquilab, and few more. Some of these men have now become legislators in Bangladesh and are now serving as cabinet ministers under Khaleda Zia. What a shame! Gen. Tikka Khan, Gen. Yahya Khan, Gen. Abdullah Niazi, and Mr. Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto must be rolling in their graves. Such is the irony of life.
General Niazi became famous for the picture in which he was shown signing a document of surrender on December 16, 1971 in Ramna Green while seating next to a turban-clad Indian General by the name Jagjit Singh Aurora. That infamous picture had graced the front page of newspapers all over the world. The same picture was shown in many network news in America and Europe too. It brought shame to Pakistanis because General Niazi and his ninety thousand men in uniform were taken prisoner of war (POW) by the Indian army and interned in India for months. Niazi became an instant escape goat and characterized being a coward by Pakistani military in post-war days.
When the interned Pakistani soldiers were handed over to Z. A. Bhutto's government, Niazi was arrested immediately and he languished in jail without a trial. Neither Niazi nor Pakistani military leadership had shown any remorse for their wrong doings in the dark days of 1971 in occupied Bangladesh. Years later, Niazi wrote his experiences in occupied Bangladesh entitled "Betrayal of Bangladesh" as his army participated in gratuitous mass killing, which contradicts with many scholarly writings on the subject. In his memoir, Niazi essentially blamed Pakistani Generals such as Gen. Yahya Khan, the military president of Pakistan and General Hamid Khan, the military chief of Pakistan for the fall of Dhaka on December 16, 1971.
But his description of war atrocities pales to what others had written on the subject. A case in point is the writings of Mr. R.J. Rummel, a well-recognized expert of genocide. Here is just an excerpt from Mr. Rummel's book "Death by Government":
The human death toll over only 267 days was incredible. Just to give for five out of the eighteen districts some incomplete statistics published in Bangladesh newspapers or by an Inquiry Committee, the Pakistani army killed 100,000 Bengalis in Dacca, 150,000 in Khulna, 75,000 in Jessore, 95,000 in Comilla, and 100,000 in Chittagong. For eighteen districts the total is 1,247,000 killed. This was an incomplete toll, and to this day no one really knows the final toll. Some estimates of the democide [Rummel's "death by government"] are much lower—one is of 300,000 dead—but most range from 1 million to 3 million. ...
The Pakistani army and allied paramilitary groups killed about one out of every sixty-one people in Pakistan overall; one out of every twenty-five Bengalis, Hindus, and others in East Pakistan. If the rate of killing for all of Pakistan is annualized over the years the Yahya martial law regime was in power (March 1969 to December 1971), then this one regime was more lethal than that of the Soviet Union, China under the communists, or Japan under the military (even through World War II). (Rummel, Death By Government, p. 331.)
Years later, Niazi's fellow army officers had recognized him as both a fighter and womanizer. He also got involved in lucrative pan (betel leave) trading in Dhaka while he was the military chief and administrator in the waning days Pakistani rule in 1971.
Niazi in his memoir wrote that he was very optimistic about both the Nixon Administration and Mao Tse-tung regime bailing out Pakistani soldiers trapped in the quagmire of erstwhile East Pakistan in early December 1971. But since no help came from world super power, he had to surrender to Pakistan's archenemy, India with the blessings of his superiors from Rawalpindi. Pakistan's military establishment however never did forgive him for that. He was immediately labeled as coward and whatnot. His retirement fund was frozen and Pakistani government mistreated him. Niazi saw with his own eyes that while Gen. Tikka Khan's post-military career flourished as the General was appointed as the governor of Punjab, he career just withered in the vine.
This bitterness led Niazi to write his memoir in which he blamed every living army Generals of Pakistan. Many Pakistanis had opined at the time that it would have been better for Niazi and his men to fight Bangalee freedom fighter, Mukti Bahini, and Indian army rather than to surrender. General Niazi had to live with shame for 33 long years. His countrymen never did understand the difficulty his men were in while fighting a very unpopular war. The world opinion was against Pakistani army as the news army atrocities against Bangalee civilians were filtering out in world press.
Sadly, Niazi and his marauding soldiers had received impunity against the crime they had committed in occupied Bangladesh. The nonchalant Pakistani army never did apologize for all the killings the army had done all through our struggle for independence in 1971. In all probability, they will not ask for apology from Bangladeshi folks for the war crime, which is so well documented. From time to time, Bangladesh Genocide becomes a burning topic in myriad discussion forums in the Internet. The issue has divided Pakistanis and Bangladeshis into two camps.
The two nations that share a common history for the period 1947 through 1971 remain divided because of war atrocities done in the nine-month period. General Niazi being the big boss representing the brutal Yahya regime in the waning days of 1971 shared the ignominy until his passing away from this mortal world. We Bangladeshis sadly remember the ruthless repression of Pakistani army on unarmed civilians. General Niazi's name will go down in the history of Bangladesh as a vile military leader who committed crime against humanity. With that kind of crime, could his soul rest in peace?
While the Pakistani military gave a heroic last rite to Tikka Khan when he was buried in March 2002, no such rite will take place for General Niazi. His fellow officers wrote him off as a sore loser. Even the much-touted Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report, which was leaked out in 2001, had recommended to court martial Gen. Niazi for the misdeeds Pakistani army had perpetrated against the civilians in the eastern wing under his leadership.
Nonetheless, Niazi was never court-martialled. He simply ate the bitter bread of banishment in his homeland until the day he died.
(A. H. Jaffor Ullah, a columnist and researcher, writes from New Orleans, USA
MIM: A warning about the dangers of militant Islam from a Bengladeshi perspective.
Americans should be wary of CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, NABIC, etc.
By Mizanur Rahman Milon
This article is all about the onslaught of Islamic organizations against the secular nation of America. Since I am from Bangladesh, I would like to start this essay by citing how Islamism had spread in my motherland in short three decades. Bangladesh is no ordinary country by any stretch of imagination. About 130 million people are packed like sardines in a tiny land as big as the state of Wisconsin. Bangladesh's political history is turbulent. The founding father was assassinated in August 1975 to make room for Islamization. The axis of military and Islamists veered the nation towards fundamentalism. And the nation is now paying a heavy price. Things are not tranquil at all in the backwaters of Bangladesh. The minorities are being butchered in open daylight.
Unless you have been hibernating somewhere else, you should know that a fascist Islamic fundamentalist party by the name Jamat-i-Islami [JI] is ruling the 130 million Bangladeshis as a coalition partner of Neo-Muslim League Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP. The party JI is a branch of world Islamic parties. They are essentially an Al Qaeda-like organization with clear agenda of the global Islamism. These parties are like the communist parties of yesteryears. The communists wanted to spread the mantra Marxism throughout the globe. Any enlightened mind knows that all the Marxist-communists think themselves as the comrades. A communist in South America considers himself as a comrade of say an Indian – who does not share the same language, culture and background. Likewise, an Islamist thinks himself as a brother of another Islamist notwithstanding the difference they have in their language, culture and background.
The Islamists consider themselves as brothers under a unified Muslim Ummah [community]. Nationality, language, social customs, etc., are objectionable to them. One may read the propaganda of NABIC, which is a mouthpiece of global Islamism done under the banner of certain expatriate Bangladeshis, against nationality and language in their web site. The Islamic fundamentalists would not have caused any trouble against modern civilization have they not opted for capturing power through their global organizations like the communists. In order to attain the goal of exporting puritanical form of Islam and brutal laws of Islam all over the globe, the global Islamists formed many political parties and alliances in all the Muslim countries of the world. In non-Muslim countries such as in USA, they cannot form political parties under legal framework. However, the global Islamists are smarter than the communists and they are clever enough to fool many westerners. They have created a huge number of Islamic organizations such as NABIC, CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, and others to create the framework for spreading the barbaric Islamic rules in the West. In Canada, the Islamic organizations even fooled the Canadian government and got permission to use Sha'ria laws against Muslim women. Think about it! Barbaric Sha'ria Laws against women in a North American country!
One should never consider that the Islamic organizations are non-political! The global mission of their prophet was to bring the world under Islam banner and a repressive Sha'ria. Like communists, they are united under the umbrella of Ummah. Unlike communists, they are, however, very clever. Cleverer than the communists. The communists wanted to establish a manmade rule. The Islamists want to establish Islamic rule they claim to be of divine origin. The communists did not believe or care about an afterlife. The Islamists believe firmly in a golden and eternal afterlife. This is the reason why they want to die for Islam and for Ummah. They are more inimical to the West than the communists, pure and simple!
You will find however many commonalities among the Islamists and communists. Both of these groups do not like highly educated thinkers and scholars. They forbid rational thinking. Take the examples for the case of China and Iran. In China, the Maoist regime killed many scholars and rational thinkers in the name of Cultural Revolution in the early 1960s. In Iran, the killer regime of Ayatollah Khomeini killed millions of rational thinkers and scholars right after the Islamic revolution. The communist China stopped higher education for many decades in the name of Cultural Revolution. They set up institutes everywhere to study Marxism and Maoism. Mao's Red Book was like a Bible to his countrymen. School kids were required to memorize some of the sayings of Mao. Talk about indoctrination! Likewise, the Iranian fundamentalist government closed the universities for three years and spread religious schools to create more and more Ayatollahs through religious education. Now see what is happening over there? In Iran, the uncouth Mullahs are in control of all the areas of the government. You will find the Iranian nuclear scientists under full control of Mullahs and Ayatollahs. The Mullahs are the bosses while the scientists are like workers. The similar scenario was prevailing in many communist regimes. This is why, the thinkers and intellectuals try hard to find a way out of the control of these rogue regimes.
The characteristics of the Islamic fundamentalists and the communists match very closely. However, they have a bit difference in their attitude toward each other. The Islamists do not want to keep a single communist alive within their territory. The communists are a bit milder in the case of the Islamic fundamentalists. The communists possess hatred against the capitalist West. This is why, in Iran, the communists supported the fundamentalists for their rage against America. But after the fundamentalists consolidated their power in the aftermath of Shah of Iran's removal from Teheran, they killed almost all the communists in Iran. Some communists of Iran even fled and came to the capitalist USA to save their dear lives. Some of the Iranian communists found a welcoming safe haven in the USA – the great leader of the capitalist world.
As for the Bangladeshi fundamentalist party JI, I want to remind the intelligent readers that these Islamic fundamentalists are connected to the web of Islamic organizations all over the world like the communists. Their subsidiary organizations like CAIR, NABIC, ISNA, ICNA, and others are working in tandem in the name of civil rights organizations to achieve the same goal of the Islamic fundamentalists. It hardly escapes one's scrutiny that the communists created similar subsidiary organizations to create grounds for communist revolution and subsequent takeover in many countries all over the world. The Islamic fundamentalists are doing the same in the western countries. In the aftermath of 9-11, the government of USA became very alert of fundamentalist organizations' work; thus, they banned many subsidiary Islamic organizations – which were found to be connected with the Islamic terrorists and fundamentalists. I would go this far to assert that many shrewd Islamists are working in many so-called civil rights Islamic organizations in USA and other western countries. Some of these organizations had the audacity to harbor many fundamentalist killers. One such killer fundamentalist of Al-Badr death squad of JI in erstwhile East Pakistan is M. Ashrafuzzaman Khan. He was given an official position in the Islamic organization ICNA just to whitewash his sinful past. Mr. Ashrafuzzaman Khan was the leader of a roving death squad that abducted and killed scores of Bengali intellectuals from Dhaka University staff quarter in the first two weeks of December 1971 when Bengalis were fighting a war to rid Pakistani military from the occupied land. In that bloody conflict the Islamic fundamentalists sided with the Pakistanis because they thought Islam would be better served in South Asia if Pakistan remained intact. But they were soundly defeated in 1971. The Islamists were demoralized in the early goings of Bangladesh. They however connived with the military to overthrow a legitimate government and to usher in fundamentalism in Bangladesh. They grew like a cancer and now they are virtually controlling Bangladesh politically from behind.
The Bangladeshi American secularists are intently watching all the moves of JI of Bangladesh. They are seriously aware of the heinous motive of the Islamists. The office-bearers of the myriad Islamic organizations in the U.S. should be investigated. If I am not wrong, the U. S. Immigration still investigates for links of any applicant wanting to visit America to any communist organizations. The Immigration department of the West should investigate the links of the applicants to any Islamic organizations. The West should prevent infiltration of Islamic fundamentalists in their countries as a preventive measure. They must preserve the values of religious tolerance and pluralism in their countries that has been developed over the years. The Islamists would destroy these long-cherished values once they become majority or if they could indoctrinate many unsuspecting citizens such as minorities. It took close to two hundred years of works by the likes of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and many more liberals to foster the spirit of secularism (separation of Church and state) in America. All this achievements can be lost if Islamists could make inroads in America to propagate hateful messages skillfully and with tricksts. Therefore, caveat emptor!
Mizanur Rahman Milon writes from Arlington, Virginia, USA
The Case against ICNA president Ashrafuzzaman Khan
Re: INFORMATION ON ALLEGED WAR CRIMINAL ASHRAFUZZAMAN KHAN, resident of New York City (now heads the Queens branch of ICNA -Islamic Circle of North America).
I am not sure whether who have following information:
On 24th September 1997, a complaint case ( case no. 115/1997 Ramana Thana) was filed agains ASHRAFUZZAMAN KHAN, now resident in USA, and others, for alleged crime committed by him in 1971 during the Bangladesh Liberation War.
Mrs. Farida Banu, sister of martyred intellectual Professor Giasuddin Ahmed, filed the case at the Ramana Police Station in Dhaka under the Penal Code of Bangladesh ( Sections: 120(b), 448, 364, 302, 201, 34, 114).
In the complaint, it was reported that on 14th December 1971 morning , Professor Giasuddin was abducted by Asrafuzzaman Khan, Chowdhury Mueen Uddin ( now resident in London) and others. He was disappeared since then, and his dead body was finally found at Rayar Baazar killing Fields on 5th January 1972.
For detail news: Please see Dainik Sangbadh 25th September 1997 Dhaka.
For further information: Contact with your nearest Bangladesh Embassy/High Commission & Ministry of Home Affairs, Bangladesh
YOU COULD USE THIS INFORMATION TO LOBBY WITH BANGLADESH EMBASSY AND OTHER CONCERNED OFFICIAL IN WASHINGTON/ NEW YORK. YOU CAN SEND A LETTER OF CONCERN TO US OFFICIAL TO KNOW WHETHER THEY HAVE RECEIVED ANY INFORMATION OR REQUEST OF EXTRADITION FROM BANGLADESH GOVERNMENT.
I believe to create pressure on Bangladesh authorities we should send letter of concern / urgent appeal to relevant authorities in Bangladesh/ aboard.
With best regards.
Zaved H. Mahmood
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON ALLGED WAR CRIMINAL ASHRAFUZZAMAN KHAN
Genocide'71 - an account of the killers and collaborators", Published in Dhaka Page 189: Segment where Ashrafuzzaman Khan (now in New York, and head of Queens branch of ICNA) is cited.
Similarly, Saudi Arabia is serving as a sanctuary for some of the leading Al-Badrs (leaders of death squads in 1971). Here we would like to give the example of Ashrafuzzaman Khan, one of the Al-Badr high command. Ashrafuzzaman Khan, was one of the chief Al-Badr executioners. It has been clearly proved that he himself shot to death 7 teachers of the Dhaka University in the killing fields at Mirpur. A certain Mofizzuddin, who drove the vehicle which took these helpless victims of Ashrafuzzaman to Mirpur, has clearly identified Ashrafuzzaman as the "chief executer" of the intellectuals.
After Liberation, Ashrafuzzaman's personal diary was recovered from 350 Nakhal Para where he resided. On two pages of the diary, the names of 19 teachers of the University have been entered, as well as their addresses in the University quarters. The name of the Dhaka University Medical Officer, Mohammad Murtaza, has also been noted down in this diary. Of these 20 persons, eight were missing on December 14: Munier Chowdhury (Bengali), Dr. Abul Khair (History), Ghiasuddin Ahmed (History), Rashidul Hasan (English), Dr. Faizul Mohi (I. E. R) Dr. Munaza (Medical Officer).
From the confession of Mofizuddin, it has been learned that Ashrafuzzaman shot these people with his own hands. As a result of Mofizuddin's confession, the decomposed bodies of these unfortunate teachers were recovered from the marshes of Rayer Bazar and the mass grave at Shiyal Bari at Mirpur. There were other names in the diary including the following: Dr. Wakil Ahmed (Bengali), Dr. Nilima Ibrahim (Bengali), Dr. Latif (I. E. R), Dr. Maniruzzaman (Geography), K. M. Saaduddin (Sociology), A. M. M. Shahidullah (Mathematics), Dr. Sirajul Islam (Islamic History), Dr. Akhtar Ahmed (Education), Zahirul Huq (Psychology), Ahsanul Huq (English), Serajul Islam Chowdbury (English), and Kabir Chowdhury.
On another page of the diary there were the names of 16 collaborating teachers of the University. Apart from these there were also the names of Chowdbury Moinuddin, the man in charge of the operation to kill ntellectuals, Showkat Imran, a member of the central Al-Badr command, and the head of the Dhaka Badr forces.
Apart from the names of the slain intellectuals, the diary also contained the names and addresses of several other Bengalis. All of them lost their lives at the hands of the Al-Badr. On a small piece of paper the name of the Member Finance of the Pakistan Jute Board, Abdul Khaleq, had been written down, along with the name of his father, his Dhaka address, as well as his permanent address. On December 9, 1971, the Al-Badr took away Abdul Khaleq from his office. They demanded Taka 10,000 as ransom. The Al-Badr then went to Abdul Khaleq's house carrying a letter from him in which he asked that the money be paid to his kidnappers. Abdul Khaleq's wife was unable to give more than Taka 450 at the time. She promised that she would give them the rest of the money later, and pleaded with them to return her husband. But Abdul Khaleq never came back.
Ashrafuzzaman has also been implicated in the murder of some journalists. It was Ashrafuzzaman who kidnapped the shift-in- charge of the Purbodesh, and the Literary Editor, A. N. M. Gholam Mustafa.
Ashrafuzzaman Khan, was a member of the Central Committee of the Islami Chhatra Sangha. After liberation he went to Pakistan. At present he is employed in Radio Pakistan.
Update: Since publication of this book, Ashrafuzzaman Khan has moved to New York and now heads the Queens branch of ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) ===== Zaved Hasan Mahmood PhD Candidate School of Law University of Nottingham NG7 2RD UK Tel : +115 951 5700 +115 951 4659 Fax : +115 951 5696 email (school): email@example.com --------------------------------------
DESPERATELY SEEKING 1971 WAR CRIME JUSTICE! By Jamal Hasan
It had been almost twenty-eight years that three million innocent folks had been systematically annihilated by the brute Pakistani soldiers. A whole slue of civilians from minority non-Bengali (Bihari) community and members belonging to fundamentalist Islamic party (Jamat-i-Islami) collaborated with the Pakistani soldiers to make this a "successful" genocide. Some of these war criminals are long gone from this world, but a whole bunch of them is roaming freely in the streets of Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad, Karachi, Dhaka, Chittagong, London, New York City, and elsewhere in this world.
We live in a very different world now as compared to the one when the marauding Pakistani soldiers were locked in a viscous campaign of terror and mass murder. War crimes are not condoned anymore. Lucky for us that there is no statute of limitation on war crimes. Thus, Chilean ex-despot General Augusto Pinochet is being held in England awaiting extradition to Spain to face murder charge committed by his soldiers under the general's order. This is a victory for common folks of the world. Under this backdrop, Bangladeshis who had lost theirs loved one during 1971 liberation had all the reason to be cheerful. There is a resurgence in activity both inside and outside Bangladesh to apprehend those war criminals. No, we haven't forgotten a bit the pain and sufferings of 1971. Nor have we forgotten the names of Al-Badar and Al-Shams's criminals who had abducted the intellectuals in the wee hours of night at the fag end of our liberation war.
Lucky for us that we have tracked down one such criminal who had assumed a new identity in one of the boroughs of New York City. Similarly, some of the criminals could be found in various metropolitan areas all over England. Their time is running out. They are simply scared stiff. Needless to say, a bleak future awaits while the noose of the justice simply tightens slowly but surely around the neck of these war criminals.
Good news for us - in the US, a law has been enacted in the last month in the US Senate. Senator Patrick Leahy was instrumental in moving this law in the upper chamber of the US Congress. It is expected that the law will be passed shortly in the lower chamber of the US Congress. While all these developments were taking place, some of the courageous Bengalis living in the US formed a group calling them "Bangla Nuremberg" group. The sad demise of poetess laureate of Bangladesh, Begum Sufia Kamal, also fueled the fire of justice for Bangladesh liberation war criminals. Recently, the prestigious NY Times also ran a story eulogizing Begum Sufia Kamal. In that news story, the war crime issue was reverberated. It seems as if the cry of justice is coming from every possible direction. If I were a war criminal and living in the US, I would be scared stiff. Is there a safe haven for Bangladesh War Criminals anywhere in the world? Perhaps not. The clock is ticking louder and louder. It won't be much longer when the remnants of Al-Badar, Al-Shams, and all those retired Pakistani army officers who committed crime against humanity during the turbulent nine-month period in 1971.
I would like to share a letter with NFB readers that I wrote recently congratulating Senator Patrick Leahy for a fine job he has done. The war criminals of the world who thought of America being a safe haven would think twice now before migrating here. On the other hand, the one who came here falsifying theirs past misdeeds would be tossing and turning in their bed thinking the perilous journey that lies ahead. The cold arm of justice won't spare those who killed innocent folks in occupied Bangladesh just to keep Jinnah's Pakistan united against all the odds.
Here is my letter to Senator Patrick Leahy:
November 24, 1999
Honorable Senator Patrick Leahy Senate Russell Office Building, Room//433 Constitution Avenue Washington, DC 20510.
I am a US citizen of Bangladesh descent.
In 1971 a tragedy occurred in Bangladesh when the Pakistani army under the leadership of General Yahya committed a systematic genocide on unarmed people for nine long months. At least two million people perished in the not so publicized holocaust. Back then Senator Edward Kennedy launched a crusade to bring the tragedy to the attention of American people. At the time the Executive Branch was supporting the ruthless ruler of Pakistan.
After the liberation of Bangladesh quite a few war criminals fled the country. Some of them are roaming freely in the streets of USA. Your proposed War Crimes Law will put an end to those criminals' undesired freedom who deserved to face justice.
I wrote a piece on Ashrafuzzaman Khan, an alleged war criminal living in New York on November 4, 1999 in News from Bangladesh (http://www.bangladesh-web.com/news), an Internet daily published from Bangladesh. It was an amazing coincidence that on November 5, War Law news story was published in the Washington Post. Dr. Jaffor Ullah wrote another piece in the same paper on the 8th. Then I saw Chitra Ragavan's report in US News & World Report on the 15th. The series of events led us to build our confidence that USA will not be the sanctuary of Bangladeshi war criminals.
I am privileged to forward to you the copies of my article and that of Dr. Jaffor Ullah's for your kind perusal. Also is enclosed the news story of the formation of an egroup, namely, Bangla Nuremberg group.
In addition to those, I am sending to you a copy of the Report on the =46indings of the People's Inquiry Commission on the Activities of the War Criminals and the Collaborators. Published in 1994, this report contains the details of the criminal acts committed by eight war criminals who are now living in Bangladesh. Like Ashrafuzzaman Khan those eight individuals belong to the same Islamic fundamentalist party called Jamat-i-lslami of Bangladesh.
In case of unresolved issue of Bangladesh genocide and the war crime, millions of Bangladeshis hope one thing and that is It is better late than never.
We will always remember you for the historical role you played in the vital issue of war crime. You single-handedly did a great service to the greater humanity. Thank you Senator. Sincerely yours,
( Jamal Hasan writes from Washington DC. ) ------------------------
MIM: This was posted under the above items and includes ICNA's by laws.
Ashrafuzzaman Khan (Ashraf-uz-Zaman Khan-alternate spelling?) is now listed as Secretary General of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).
If this guy is a terrorist - why did the US let him into the country?
All ICNA members (rank and file) are expected to:
-Study Quran daily with understanding. -Study Hadith or Seerah at least once a week. -Study Islamic literature according to the syllabus. -Spend a minimum of 4 hours a month on any of the following: Dawah to non Muslim (Dawah Field Trip, Prison dawah Trip, Dawah Response through Mail or Phone) -Invite at least 2 persons to become ICNA members in a year -Decide on some minimum contribution to central baitul-maal. -Invite at least one Muslim every week to come to the Masjid or start praying
MIM: New York City Police department apologizes to Ashrafuzzaman Khan of ICNA and Ghazi Khankhan of CAIR for Korans which fell to the floor during a police raid. Note that islam is described as: "the best religion on mankind". In an appalling display of dhimmitude the New York police not only "unconditionally apologized "to alleged death squad leader Ashrafuzzaman Khan, and CAIR leader Ghazi KhanKhan, that told them that "it would be good if you oriented us in the fundamentals of your religion".
From the Weekly Thikana, a Bengali print journal published from New York December 15, 2000 Thikana's front-page coverage on desecration of Qur'an
The New York City Police Department has unconditionally apologized for three of its police officers desecrating the Qur'an. That apology contributed in containing the tension among the New York Muslim community that includes Bangladeshis as well.
Two Pakistani immigrants filed a law suit on behalf of Maulana Abdul Aziz and Mohammad Anwar Hussain. The defendants were accused of violating US constitution. It can be mentioned that Jackson Heights is presumed to be like a chunk of Bangladesh. On the 4th of December a group of police officers raided 74th Street of Jackson Heights where Maulana Abdul Aziz had operated his business. The police officers kicked the holy Qur'ans and stacked them in garbage bags. The religious onlookers were urging the officers to handle the religious books with respect. But they did not listen. Rather, before departing they handed two1, 000 dollar citations to Maulana Aziz. At the same time those police officers raided the religious book store of Anwar Hussain. They also desecrated holy Qur'an in that spot as well. Hussain also received two 1,000 dollar citations.
Two separate lawsuits were lodged against the police officers who desecrated, after ignoring requests from some fifty religious pedestrians,the sacred book Al Qur'an belonging to the best religion of mankind Islam. The sensitive news of desecrating Qur'an during the holy month of Ramadan spread like a bonfire among New York's Muslim community.
The preparation of a greater movement started. As the law suit proceeds, leaders of two notable Islamic organizations in the community had sat down with the police administration. The meeting took place on the 11th December at the 115th Precinct, which is not too far from Jackson Heights. It may be mentioned that the police officers of that Precinct were responsible for this act. The commanding officer and the three accused officers were participants in the meeting. On the other side present were Ashrafuzzaman, President of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Gazi Khankhan, Executive Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations, community activist Fazlur Rahman Chowdhury and the two book vendors. The police officers said in the meeting that they did not have any knowledge of holy Qur'an. They pointed out that they did not have any desire to desecrate the holy religious book.
The commanding officer Mr. Jamieson said, "Muslims are increasing in this area. But we do not have any knowledge of your religion. It would be good for us if you orient us with the fundamentals of your religion. Then this sort of sad incidence would not occur in the future." Mr. Gazi praised the commanding officer's proposal. He promised to send two clergies to the Precinct.
After the Precinct meeting, the outraged Muslims came to join another meeting at an Iftar gathering (the breaking of fast during Ramadan) at the ICNA office. The commanding officer Mr. Jamieson attended the meeting. In a compassionate tone he said to the audience, "On behalf of New York City Police Department I am asking for unconditional forgiveness from the Muslim community. Most of us in the Precinct, which includes me, are Christians. We have no knowledge of Al Qur'an. More over that patrolling officers raided the vending operations on the side walks as part of their regular duty. They found a number of irregularities with the business ventures. As the crowd was mobilizing, the officers became nervous and they started to pack up the merchandize in the bags rather hurriedly. If they had any knowledge of Al Qur'an, this sad incidence would not have occurred. Any way, I am giving you the word that there would not be recurrence of a similar situation. But I need your cooperation in all matters."
Accepting the commanding officers' apology, ICNA's President Ashrafuzzaman Khan and CAIR-New York's President Gazi Khankhan asked everybody to close the chapter.
Election fever is on again after 5 years of lull. One may recall that election in Bangladesh had never bee a very pleasant affair. Blood has already been shed in the past few days and much blood will be shed in the coming days. The foremost question in peoples mind is to vote for which party? The majority of the people will vote either Awami league (AL) or the BNP-Islamist coalition.
For the last few days, I thought very deeply about consequences of BNP-Islamists led coalition coming to power. The burning issue on my mind is the freedom of expression that we enjoy today in writing and publishing in Internet newspaper like NFB or in any print mainstream newspapers such as the Daily Star, The Independent, The Bangladesh Observer, etc.
This glasnost or openness in expression one's opinion has opened a Pandora's Box no doubt. There are already threats by some quarters in BNP that NFB is crossing the limit of freedom of expression and should be closed down. Those who talk in this fashion are none other than the Islamic supporters of BNP.
They are simply frustrated at the religious criticisms that are being published every now and then in the popular Internet newspaper from Dhaka. These people forget one simple truth and that is, the same cyber newspaper also publishes freethinker-bashing articles almost on a daily basis.
The freethinkers have never objected to the publication of any of these freethinker-bashing articles and have never ever want that the news forum should be closed down.
Have you ever thought if this kind of free expression would have been possible if BNP-Islamist were in power? To my mind it is almost an impossibility.
Therefore, this coming election result will determine if the Bangladeshis will continue to enjoy this unprecedented free-expression or will be gagged if they tried to speak against any matter that one section of the population (especially the religionists) may object. We must remember that BNP cannot form a viable Government alone without some supports from the Islamists. And why should the Islamists support BNP if they do not get what they want? So, BNP have to negotiate a deal with its three partners. It is just a matter of time when we will see that Islamic partners will push BNP to agree an Islamic agenda. And that is for sure.
When I thought on this issue, I suddenly went back in 1971 and those days of the religionists (Razakars and Al Badars .Pakistani/Bangladeshi Islamists) and I reminisced those nightmarish days and nights that I (rather we) experienced personally. I still shudder whenever I think of those days. Are we going back to those dark and ominous days again? Here are some of my personal thoughts on events that may take place in Bangladesh if BNP-Islamist coalition wins the election.
All the imaginary events that I am describing below are based on my personal experience when Bangladesh was in the hands of the Razakars and the Islamic soldiers of Pakistan. For those who were not born at that time or were too young to remember those dark days and nights, these examples will be almost impossible to imagine, Those who experienced those days but pretend that nothing happened or those who have selective amnesia are simply deluding themselves.
These are my election nightmares
The BNP-Islamists will agree to implement Sharia laws in Bangladesh. The Constitution of Bangladesh will be changed to make Qur'an and Hadith as the only source of laws in Bangladesh. Hudud laws will also be enforced in due course.
The popular NFB will be taken over by the Islamists. Mr Tanveer Chowdhury will be tried in Sharia court for sheltering the atheists, freethinkers, infidels and blasphemers. He will plead that he sheltered the Islamists too.
However, his plea will simply be ignored. He will be found guilty of blasphemy and beheaded in the compound of Baitul Mukarram mosque in Dhaka in presence of crowds chanting Allahu Akbar and Naraye Takbir, Allahu Akbar, etc.
The Islamists will turn NFB in to a Sharia site. Only Qur'an, Ahadith and Islamic writings of such personalities as Maulana Moudoodi will be published endlessly. The current readership of 10,000 to 15 000 per day will dwindle to around 10-15 per day. Those Islamists who write in NFB will be the only readers.
Jaffor Ullah will probably be kidnapped from America gagged and put into a jet plane by the Jihadis and flown to ZIA International Airport in Dhaka. Like Tanvir Chowdhury, he will be tortured and shot. His dead body will be displayed openly near the Gulistan junction (where Mirjumla's Kaman is located).
If the Jihadis fail to kidnap Jaffor Ullah then they will gun him down at his doorsteps in America by the hired assassin. The FBI and the U.S Government will have the slightest clue in tracing the killers of the editorial board member of NFB.
Jamal Hasan will face a similar fate. He will probably be lured by an Islamic Chameleon to have a dialogue with a friend. He will never return home. His wife and kid will frantically search for him without any success. The U.S. guards will eventually find his decomposed dead body in a disused mining pool somewhere in U.S with bullet marks and signs of torture on his person (just like back in 1971 people used to find dead bodies in many swampy and uninhabited areas).
A death squad will be despatched to several Western countries to track down and finish off with Fatemolla, Abul Kasem, Syed Kamran Mirza, Satya Sandhani, Shabnam Nadia, Khurshid Chowdhury, Narayan Gupta, Avijit Roy, Taslima Nasrin, Shabbir Ahmed, Habib Sarwar, Aparthib Zaman, Akash Jahed.....The death squad will be successful in some cases and will fail in other cases.
Who will survive is difficult to guess. It is certain that Shabnam will be raped before being killed. (This was how it used to be done back in 1971. A death squad used to be sent to the family whom the Razakars had targeted for elimination)
The remainder of the Mujib family (like Sheikh Hasina, Sheikh Rehana, their spouses and their children) will be finished. The name Mujib and Bangabandhu will be eliminated from the soil of Bangladesh. Any one with the name 'Mujib' have to change his/her name to a more appropriate Islamic name much the way that most Muslims do not want the name 'Israel'.
General Ziaur Rahman will be declared the "Abbun Bangladeshis" father of Bangladesh, and Khaleda Zia will be the "Ummun Bangladeshis" mother of the Nation. Sheikh Mujib's portrait displayed in public places will be removed and replaced with the portrait of a smiling Gen. Zia some in military attire and other with civilian western attire. The thin moustache of the great general will be razor sharp and the leader will sport a youthful vigor with a permanent smile on his face. Bangladesh's Ammajan will also look very sharp in the portrait a la Babita hairstyle.
However, right in front of Zia International airport, Mrs. Khaleda Zia's larger than life portrait may sport a Hijab to impress the visiting Sheiks of United Arab Emirate or Saudi Arabia's King. The onetime despot Ershad will be the Brother and Begum Rowshan Ershad will be the Sister of the nation. Golam Azam will be brought back to politics; his title will be the Grand Mufti of Bangladesh. Maulana Saikul Hadis will be the grand father of Bangladesh. All of these may sound hilarious but make no mistake about it that it may happen if BNP and her allies win this coming election.
All communists, socialists, freethinkers and secularists will be hunted down and slaughtered in Indonesian style. In Indonesia, about 1 million communists were killed. The number of such people killed in Bangladesh will be 3 million. Before killing these kafirs and enemies of Islam, their blood will be siphoned off just like the way it used to be done by the Razakars in those good-old-Islamic days of 1971. This blood will then be exported to earn foreign exchange so that General Zia's Mazar in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar can have a real gold dome.
In due course the time clock in Bangladesh will revert back to 1971. All Razakars, Al Badars, Al Shams will be resurrected. Ashrafuzzaman Khan who never returned to his homeland after December 16, 1971, will be brought back to Dhaka with an honor guard at the tarmac of ZIA International airport. Golam Azam himself will be there with his entire Shura member to greet Ashrafuzzaman at the airport. Along with him will come all the distinguished member of CARE, ICNA, ISNA, and NABIC's office bearers. All the Razakars who went hiding will be asked to come out of their hideout. This time they will be issued with M-16 and/or AK-47 rifles and plenty of plastic bombs.
Each Razakar will be assigned to survey and monitor about 5 families. They will dictate every aspect of family lives especially on religious matters. For example, if the adult members of a family do not pray five times a day, then they will be ordered to pray.
If they refuse to follow that order, then they will be shot dead on the spot. Remember, when the Arab invaders conquered Persia, they did exactly this. One Arab was assigned to each family to control the livelihood of the Persians. That was how the Arabic script replaced the original Persian script.
Many Bangalee Military and Police personnel will refuse to kill their own flesh and blood. These security people will be gunned down immediately for refusing to follow Islamic orders. To replace these renegade people, Islamic soldiers and Jihadis will be imported from the Islamic brotherhood countries of Taliban land (Afghanistan), Pakistan, and possibly from Sudan, and Nigeria as well.
In total, about half a million of these Islamic brothers will be involved in the search and destroy operation. As added rewards for their pious duty each of these foreign Islamic brother soldiers will be awarded at least two Bangalee women as captives/and or booties. These women will be the mothers, sisters or the wives of the murdered communists, socialists and free thinkers.
They will devour our women like a starved wolf eats its prey (we saw this happening in 1971). These Islamic soldiers will be handed over the land and properties of the slain communists and free thinkers. Thus, they will have a great and enjoyable life in Bangladesh. Many of these foreign Islamists will become the adviser to the BNP-Islamist coalition Government and will control every thing. Eventually Bangladesh will be become Pakistan again.
Our national anthem will be replaced by one imported from Karachi, the seat of Urdu culture in Pakistan. Of course, Dhaka's Islamic Foundation with the help of Dhaka's poet "philosopher" Farhad Mazhar will modify it. Also, dHAKA-fame eminent rock artist Mac (Maqsood) will be requested to set tune to the Urdu-Bongo lyric in the fashion of Bollywood-Bangla-Bhangra fusion music, which is his forte these days. To purify the adulterated new culture of Bangladesh all works of Rabindranath Tagore and other Hindu writers, all works of Humayun Ahmed and other secularists as well as some selected writings of Kazi Nazrul Islam will be completely banned.
Any one found with any writings of these writers will face a minimum of 100 lashes. All citizens will be issued with the Islamic books written by Abul Ala Moudoodi and Golam Azam. A condensed version of their writings will be printed in pocket-sized format (like the red book of Mao); however it be bound by green colored synthetic rubber to make it waterproof and to save the book from torrential monsoon deluge.
Every person must always carry this little green book in a way that one carries his driving licence and credit cards. This pocket size green book will contain the solution of all problems because it will be based on Qur'an and hadith. After all, Islam is a complete code of life. It has the solution for all human problems. Arabic will also become a compulsory language. Bangla scripts will be gradually replaced by Arabic or Persian alphabet. The use of Bangla alphabets will be severely discouraged since these are not the alphabets of Islam.
Folks, wait and you will see that Bangladesh will be declared an Islamic country where only the Sharia laws will be implemented. This dear motherland of ours will be an extension of Taliban ruled Afghanistan and the dictator ruled Pakistan. The fundamental human rights will be abolished. Our dear budding democracy will be killed in its infancy. The Universal declaration of human rights will be replaced by the Islamic human rights. After finishing off with the free thinkers, the BNP-led coalition will introduce Islamic freethinking a concept propounded in NFB by a pedagogue from Upper Volta University.
Similar to other revolutionary Islamic country, Islamic democracy will be established in Bangladesh. The supreme head will be the Amir'ul Mumenin. The first Ami'rul Mumenin will be Golam Azam. His words will be laws similar in ways of what we find in Taliban land where the words of Mullah Omar are the laws.
It is most likely that BNP will agree to the imposition of blasphemy law in the same manner as in Pakistan. BNP-Islamist coalition may also agree to the imposition of mobile prison (Burqa) for our mothers, sisters and wives. It is very likely that the mother of the nation, Umm Khaleda Zia must be in mobile prison whenever she ventures out.
Similar to Pakistan, there will be hardly any minority left in Bangladesh. The current Hindu population of around 10% (this used to be around 30 % before 1971) will quickly go down to around 0.5% to 1%. Only a few thousand of Christians and Buddhists will be in Bangladesh. All non-Muslims will be forced to wear yellow star to identify themselves as non-Muslims (just like in Taliban land). They (the minorities) will also be required to pay the infamous Zijiya tax.
All the Budhhist statutes at Mainamati (in Comilla district) and Mahastan (in Bogra district) will be destroyed. BNP will first object to this destruction of our priceless heritage but will finally surrender to the Islamists' demand due to the pressure from the Arab Masters. Any one found with anything with the slightest resemblance of a statute shall face death penalty.
In cultural arena, all zari, sari, bhatiyali, murshidi, baul songs, polli giti, etc., will be banned. These will be replaced with hamd, nat-i-rasul, and qauwali. Only modern song you'll ever hear will be our new national anthem (Farhad Mazahr-Mac's creation). Likewise, Dhaka University's Fine Arts building will be closed forever and the building will be fumigated first and then modernized to house Islamic arts and crafts such as display of decorated swords, and rehels (for holding Qur'an above the feet level). Another section will sport a display of fine Hizab, Nequab, Burqua, Chaddar, etc. Shapely young girls will act as model to popularize Islamic female dresses.
In another section of the building, the fine arts of applying henna dye to color hand and feet and yes coloring hair will be demonstrated too. Nearby, in another room a barber will show to young man how to sport a chap dari a la Saudi style, which is now very much in vogue in Hollywood movies.
All Bangalee intellectuals and professionals like authors, poets, novelists, painters, newspaper editors, architects, movie makers, engineers, scientists, doctors, academics, teachers will be systematically and methodically eliminated in Nazi style Gestapo and gas chambers. In this way, the unfinished job of 1971 will be completed. This is sure way of transforming the Bangalee society into a nation of beggars, fools, subservient and slaves of Pakistani Islam.
Selective breeding will take place between the true Pakistani Islamists and the half- Islamist Bangalee women. This original plan of a few Pakistani Generals could not be implemented in 1971 due to the rapid advance of our valiant Mukti Bahini and the allied forces. This time however it will be a success.
In fact, BNP-Islamist coalition will welcome such innovative breeding idea or eugenics. Pakistani soldiers, Afghan Pathans will have temporary marriages (mut'ah marriage) with our selected women to breed a new race who will be true Islamists. Eventually the whole Bengali race will change. This was the ultimate aim of Major General Rao Farman Ali and General A.A.K. Niazi back in 1971. This was how they wanted to make the then East Pakistan a true Islamic State.
I know what you are thinking after going through my dismal write-up. You are thinking that those incidents can never happen in Bangladesh. Those are my wishful thinking. Well, that is why this essay is named 'Election Nightmares'. But think again. Those nightmarish events have every possibility of being implemented in Bangladesh if the BNP-Islamist coalition wins this important election and rises to power. My wishful/absurd thoughts are all based on the tumultuous events of 1971. I earnestly hope that my 'election nightmares' remain just a nightmare and never become a reality.
How can we forget the events of 1971 and all the blood that our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and dear ones have shed for the Bangladesh that we cherish so much? The freedom of expression that we take for granted today was achieved through rivers of blood, sweat and tears. How can we let this priceless gift of freedom slip away from us? Do not betray your blood. Please vote carefully.