This year's Hedenius Prize is awarded to Shamima Aktar for her work for women's rights and integration, as well as as representative of secular bloggers and activists forced to fly to Sweden from Bangladesh.
By Syed Mahi Ahmed A question may rise "do political parties have any ethics?" To me, this is not a complex and twisted question, rather a very simple question; and straightforward answer can be given in this regard. The answer is "no"; to me, political parties have no ethics at all, they deal with two dimensions — popularity and power; "increase popularity and take over power or rule over the country" — are the two major considerations of them. They do not bother about morality and ethics; "what should be done and what should not be done; what is right; what is wrong?" — they are not disturbed by the questions like these; and actually, they are not for pondering over such questions. They consider and value majority and are busy with counting the number; what the majority say, they have to listen to it; what they (majority) want, they (political parties) have to fill up it. If the majority think good, reflection about good is seen among political parties and vice-versa. The majority do not care about "good or bad; right or wrong; appropriate or inappropriate"; critical questions are not welcomed to the majority, their heads are filled up with the thought of practical needs, daily life convenience, development, ease, peace and security; if anything is good for them at the expense of minorities, they cordially welcome this, never question about moral legitimacy. They hardly pose on this question "what this good bring about in future?" "Is it good for all for a long period of time?" — questions like these are also be ignored.
There was a time when only a handful of intellectuals dared to promote free thought and rational thinking countering religious dogmas and superstitions. Their writings were often too complicated for mass people's understanding, for which they gained little or no attention. Few writers realized the significance of promoting scientific thoughts at the grass-root level. Ananta Bijoy Dash(1982-2015) was one of them. He came from a conservative region of Bangladesh where progressive ideas are rarely being discussed or patronized. Thanks to his cravings for knowledge, Ananta noticed this reality at from an early age. Ananta started trying to bring about change. He was also very much aware of the challenges and obstacles in his path. Together with his fellow free-thinkers, he launched an organization called "Science and Rationalist Council." Every week he and other members of his team sat down, discussed and debated about many issues. Together they successfully organized a "Science Convocation." In February 2007; the group came up with its first publication, a magazine fostering science, reason rationality, and humanistic values. It was titled 'Jukti' (Reason) with Ananta being its editor.
Mukto-Mona is saddened to learn that Mashal Khan, a twenty-three years old student was shot and brutally beaten to death by a mob that included fellow students on April 13, 2017. He was accused of blasphemy. Mashal, who called himself "The Humanist" on Facebook, was a student at Abdul Wali Khan University in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.
The Hague showing solidarity to people who are putting their lives on the line for freedom of expression
Press Release 21/02/2017
It is with utmost consternation that we observe that recently Bangladesh Government has filed charges under the infamous Article 57 of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act against publisher Shamsuzzoha Manik. the 73-year old owner of the Bod-dip publishing house. Mr. Manik, was arrested by police on February 15, 2016 at the annual Dhaka Ekushey book fair for publishing and selling books that were deemed offensive to Islam. Since then he was consistently denied bail thus violating the rights guaranteed by the Bangladesh constitution with respect to freedom of expression. We worry about Mr. Manik's failing health during his prolonged detention; our hope is that the authorities would drop the charges against him in view of his deteriorating health. Below we reproduce the statement from PEN America that was issued on June 20, 2016 regarding Mr. Manik.
[caption width="1600" align="aligncenter"] Zakir Naik, who suggested Every Muslim Should be a terrorist. [/caption] to the Islamic preacher.
ISIS has posted a new video featuring three of its Bangladeshi members. The video is 5.50 minutes long and was probably shot in Syria/Raqqa. The group called for a jihad in Bangladesh and threatened to launch more attacks on Bangladeshi targets and 'crusaders' and 'crusader nations.'
Islamist gunmen have taken hostages in a Dhaka restaurant in the diplomatic area of Gulshan. A number of foreigners were dining there at the time, the number that is quoted is 20. Police and Rapid Action Battalion have surrounded the area, but their approach to the restaurant has been thwarted by gunfire and grenade attacks. There are reports of police injury. There are two confirmed fatalities, both of them are police officers. One of them is the Officer-in-Charge of Banani Police Station, Mr. Salauddin. One eye-witness, who could escape, reported that the gunmen entered the restaurant shouting Allahu Akbar. The situation remains tense and unresolved. The latest report says ISIS has claimed credit for this attack. For a running update click here .