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IAB chief: Against sculptures, but do not support vandalism

  • Published at 09:22 pm December 8th, 2020
Chormonai Pir Sayed Rezaul Karim
File photo of Chormonai Pir Sayed Rezaul Karim Dhaka Tribune

‘Erecting Bangabandhu’s sculpture to remember him is like giving a Muslim leader a non-Islamic funeral,’ says Islamic Andolan Bangladesh chief

The Islami Andolon Bangladesh chief, Chormonai Pir Syed Rezaul Karim, has said his party has never instigated anyone into vandalizing sculptures, although speaking against erecting sculptures is a rational demand from the Islamic point of view.

He said that erecting Bangabandhu’s sculpture to remember him is as reprehensible as giving a Muslim leader a non-Islamic funeral.

He was speaking at a press conference at the organization's office at Purana Paltan in the capital on Tuesday.

When asked about vandalizing Bangabandhu’s sculpture at Kushtia, he said: “We have only expressed our views on sculpture or idols from the point of view of Islam. But we never asked anyone to vandalize sculptures. We will support the government if it finds those engaging in vandalism and takes action against them.”

On Saturday, miscreants smashed the under-construction sculpture of Bangabandhu at a key intersection in Kushtia town. The face and hands of the sculpture were vandalized.

Syed Rezaul Karim said there was no animosity towards Bangabandhu in the Ulema Keram. However, he said: “ This issue conflicts with the beliefs of about 90% of the people in this country.” Therefore, they demand remembering Bangabandhu in other ways but not by erecting sculptures, he said.

Also Read - News Analysis: Intolerance, statues and Islamists

Two complaints have been filed with a Dhaka court, alleging sedition for speaking against the sculptures of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Hefazat-e-Islam's Ameer Junaid Babunagari, Khelafat Majlis Acting Secretary General Mamunul Haque and Islami Andolan Bangladesh's Naib-e-Ameer Syed Faizul Karim have been named as accused in one of the cases.

Muktijoddha Mancha President Aminul Islam Bulbul filed one of the complaints. 

Karim called the case ‘ made-up and disgusting’ at the press conference. 

He also said a certain section is making a fuss about this issue to demean Islmaic leaders in this country.

“Whenever any individual or organization makes any suggestions, constructive criticism or argument against the government, this certain section labels them as pro-Pakistan, Razakar, Al-Badr, communal, and fundamentalist,” he said.

Also Read - Vandalizing Bangabandhu's sculpture: 4 placed on remand

He said if the government failed to stop this section, religious people would resist them.

He also demanded that people who insulted the Islamic leaders, scholars and religious people by publishing satirical cartoons be brought to justice.

On November 13, a rally under the banner of “Touhidi Janata Oikya Parishad” was held at Dhupkhola ground in Gandaria, Dhaka, to oppose the installation of a sculpture of Bangabandhu on the occasion of Mujib Year.

On the same day, Mamunul publicly opposed the installation of Bangabandhu’s sculpture at the Shan-e Risalat Conference, organized by Bangladesh Khelafat Jubo Majlis at BMA Auditorium in Dhaka.

On November 27, Hefazat leader Babunagari at a mahfil in Chittagong's Hathazari upazila threatened to "tear down" any sculpture set up by any party.

Amid various programs across the country in protest against such statements, an under-construction sculpture of Bangabandhu was vandalized in Kushtia early on Saturday.