It is time to practice what we preach, and extend protection to all religious communities
Bangladesh is a Muslim-majority nation. However, we are also a secular nation where the religious freedoms and practices of not only Muslims, but Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists, are guaranteed by the constitution and by law.
Sadly, in recent years we have seen our secular values slipping away, with intolerance, hatred, and communal violence gaining momentum. This must be safeguarded against, for our secular ideals are the bedrock of this nation. It is not enough to protect the religious sentiments of the Muslim majority. Minority communities must be protected.
The latest piece of disturbing news comes from Sirajdikhan upazila of Munshiganj, where an idol of the goddess Durga, and another of Saraswati and Kartik, were vandalized in the early hours of the morning. The culprits are yet to be found. Incidents such as this are all too frequent, and all too frequently, they are chalked off as the work of random “miscreants.”
These attacks, however, are symptomatic of deep levels of intolerance that exist in our society, along with a lack of education on enlightened values. When places of worship of minority communities are vandalized, defaced, or attacked in any manner, there should be a much greater level of outrage than what we are used to seeing.
No doubt, such cowardly attacks would not have been tolerated if the shoe were on the other foot. It is time to practice what we preach, and extend protection to all religious communities. After all, freedom of worship applies to all citizens, not just some.