Ansar Ahmed Ullah
Contributing Editor, Shottobani
London: The New England (USA) chapter, based in Boston, of the US Nirmul committee in a statement released said they are shocked to learn about the stabbing of Dr. Zafar Iqbal, one of the leading educationist and free thinkers in Bangladesh.
The statement read, ‘We univocally condemn this attack and demand not only a speedy trial of the attackers but also a full written report of this incident, including any similar such attacks that took place in recent years. An attack on Dr. Iqbal is as attack on all of us who have been fighting to restore the right of free thinking, secularism, and above all of the ideals of the liberation war of 1971.’
The New England committee in various occasions have expressed its grave concerns over recent rise of religious extremism and its manifestation in many different forms – attacks on Bengali New Year celebrations and other such secular events, killings of bloggers, attacks on students, cafe customers or attacks on poets and intellectuals- they all appears to be linked. Although committed by different persons, these crimes point to a group of loosely associate individuals with strong ties to religious extremism.
The attack on Dr. Jafar Iqbal therefore must not be viewed as an isolated indicident. It must be investigated as an ongoing part of a large scale indoctrination and manifestation of religious extremism that have been going on for quite some time. These activities run counter against the very existence of Bangladesh as a free, secular and democratic society.