Monthly Archives: April 2009

“We are Taliban and Bangla(desh) will be Afghan(istan)”

31Mar

Posted by: William Gomes   in Bangladesh, Islam, Politics, Research & Analysis

Rising Muslim Extremism in Bangladesh

Rising Muslim Extremism in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is terrorized by Islamic terrorism. Islamic terrorism has created a culture of fear in Bangladesh. Our main objective is to bring out the nation from this culture of fear. Afghanistan is noted with the notion that “a nation at war and some time a nation engulfed by the “Taliban”.

In 1990s, 70,000 to 120,000 Muslim youth trained to fight in Asia, Africa, and in Middle East in different Al-Qaeda and Taliban camps in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda highly trained a notable number of Islamic groups and indoctrinated them with the mission of “Jihad” that influx all over the world the message of fear and violence.

Arakan Rohingya Nationalist Organization (ARNO) and Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) were among the groups who were trained in Afghanistan camps and were and are active in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Every single Islamic terrorist attack from 9/11 to Bangladesh or else where in world is direct or indirect curse of the mushroom growth of Islamic terrorism. Harkat-ul-Jehad Islami-Bangladesh (HuJI-B) and Jamaat-ul-Mujaihdeen Bangladesh (JMB) have had a strong relation with the Afghanistan based Islamic terrorist networks. Bangladesh witnessed a mass bloodshed in the name of bloody Islam. Roads of Bangladesh were shacked with the slogan “We are Taliban and Bangla Will be Afghan”.

Bangladesh is experiencing the highest challenge in controlling political Islam and Islamic terrorism. The scenario has changed now Bangladesh becomes the highest threat before world peace and security.

As a multifaceted phenomenon, terrorism is a reason to fight regionally and jointly.

The experience of Afghanistan in fighting the Islamic terrorism has been pivotal. Afghanistan can lead the south Asia in fighting the Islamic terrorism with their all experience.

Present Afghanistan Government and the people of Afghanistan is major ally of the International community in fighting the Islamic terrorist. The articulation and pursuit of Afghan foreign policy had made it clear the intention and ability to defend the Islamic Terrorism in or by Afghanistan. However, in a world of diversity, the solution we are looking forward to bring an end to the culture of fear and violence does demand a regional united effort.

International community should guide to bridge the gap between inadequate aspirations of Afghanistan’s foreign policy in fighting the Islamic Terrorist with People and government of Bangladesh based on the spirit of friendship and co operation.

International community should inspire the politicians and policy makers to mobilize the people of the south Asian region to make an open platform that the normal people can lead the movement against the culture of violence and fear that the movements become people’s movement against Islamic Terrorism and a vibrant campaign for Justice and peace. This initiative will play a central role in helping the people and government of Afghanistan and Bangladesh in their mission towards insuring stability of the south Asian region and the world.

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Islamic NGOs: Shadow government in Bangladesh

Posted by: William Gomes

Islamic Terrorism in Bangladesh

Fascism Funded by Islamic NGOs

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) play a vital role in a developing country like Bangladesh. The number of NGOs in Bangladesh is in excess of 78,000 by the midst of the year 2009 registered with five different government instruments.

The news that Islamic NGOs with foreign funds are fueling the Islamic militancy was bubbling all over Bangladesh. The Daily Star said that suspected NGOs include Rabita Al-Alam Al-Islami, Al-Muntada Al- Islami, Society of Social Reforms, Qatar Charitable Society, Islamic Relief Agency, Al-Forkan Foundation, International Relief Organisation, Kuwait Joint Relief Committee, Muslim Aid Bangladesh, Dar Al-Khair, Hayatul Igachha, and Tawheed-e-Noor.

The daily New Age of Bangladesh wrote, “During the previous BNP-led alliance government, some 473 local and 25 foreign NGOs were enlisted with the NGO Affairs Bureau. One hundred and twenty-nine of them are local and eight foreign NGOs who were enlisted in the financial year 2006-07. Since 1990, the NGO Bureau has approved 2,367 local and foreign NGOs who run on foreign funding.”

When the Bangladesh National Party-led alliance government was in power, 90,000 core taka (approx. US$1,300) in foreign donations, in the name of 11,000 NGOs, came into Bangladesh. That amount is nearly equal to the government’s financial budget for the year 2009, which is 99,962 core taka (approx. US$1,450).

The main process of registering an NGO and funding its operations is highly dependent upon the bureaucracy. That was and is the main reason that NGO activities in Bangladesh have become politicized. As a result of this, during the term of the BNP-led alliance government, the institutional outfit of the Islamic fascist interest triumphed.

The NGO registration process involves some powerful intelligence instruments of the government, such as the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), the National Security Intelligence (NSI), and the Special Branch of the Bangladesh Police.

There is clear evidence of corruption and political interference in the NGO registration process. The government’s policy is tricky on the issue of NGO registration, especially the NGO affairs bureau, which is under the prime minister’s office in name, but is mainly controlled by intelligence instruments like the DGFI and the NSI. It is notable that there are several Islamic fascist proponents placed in various important government instruments, including intelligence organizations, during the term of the BNP alliance government.

We have had a past record of 34 foreign funded major Islamic non-governmental organizations (NGO) and 15 are very active ngo’s back in year 2005. In 1999, the intelligence agencies tracked an NGO named Suffering Humanity International, which had vibrant relations with Islamic fascists to establish an Islamic dictatorship in Bangladesh.

The Islamic fascists have fully succeeded in forming a shadow government in Bangladesh. The Islamic fascist outfit Ngo turned the money in several long time investments such as in Banking, health and hospital and education sector. In the time of need they will control the market and destabilize country. Even the same quarter has engulfed in the print and media sector with an ulterior motive to play ideological propaganda.

The same quarter is nursing to bring new crisis before the government where the treatment of government is very poor. After the pilkahan revolt the prisons are the next target of the vested quarter to destabilize the country. The vested quarter is using prisons as recruiting office to strengthen their terrorist activities. The young people come out from the prison and join the source outside and take part in destructive works.

The government should make it very clear to make the whole ngo activities free from the influence of the Intelligence and politics to safe the country from further massive failure. The Islamic ngos has turned into shadow government in Bangladesh and the highest threat before Bangladesh as well as to the security of south Asian region.

William Gomes is an independent human rights activist, a Catholic ecumenical activist, and a political analyst. He is also the Executive Director of the Christian Development Alternative (CDA), a national organization against torture and human rights violations.

UN under threat after promising to help Bangladesh war crimes trial planning

E-Bangladesh Report

— Dhaka Correspondent

An Islamist militant body Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has asked officials of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), International Federation of the Red Crescent (IFRC) and World Food Programme (WFP) to stop work and leave Barisal district immediately in southern Bangladesh. Three letters written in the name of the banned Islamist outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh were delivered by postman at the offices of the UNICEF, International Federation of Red Crescent and World Food Programme in the police line area in the Barisal city on Monday. In the letter, the sender asked the chiefs of the three organisations to shut down their operations and quit Bangladesh immediately. The sender also threatened the officials of dire consequences if they did not follow the order. Police Official: Admitting the incident, Police supper of Barisal Mohammed Mahabur Rahman said to E-Bangladesh , they have taken the incident seriously and strengthen the security of the officials of the organization”. He also said they are employing high intelligence surveillance to monitor any kind of terrorist activities. He has assigned his 9 officer in charge of different police station to pray the Friday prayer in different mosques and counsel with the Imam and faithful to fight the Islamic terrorism. He also said that only police will not be able to fight the Islamic Terrorism. People and police should be united against and the Islamic terrorism. Parliamentarian: Workers Party lawmaker Rashed Khan Menon said to E-Bangladesh that they may be the connection of this threat to UN and other international originations with the current promise of UN to help Bangladesh war crimes trial planning. Expert and analyst: Prof. Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed of International Relations University of Dhaka said to E-Bangladesh that “Who had threatened the UN agencies and other International organization had special agenda indeed”. He said that there may a close relation with the current promise of UN to help Bangladesh government in the war crimes trial planning. He also added that those who have threatened may have international links and trying to convey a specific message through this. Some people are trying to politicize the issues of the trial of war criminals and trying to play the political game with the public issue. The demand of the trail of War criminal is no more political but national concern and demand. Recently the activities of JMB has highly raised over the last month in different operations of different security agencies around 100 people were arrested in suspect link with JMB , the security officials also seized explosives from some of the suspect. On a recent operation The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested eight operatives of banned Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) including brother of Salahuddin, a JMB Majlish-e-Shura (highest policy-making body) and recovered bomb-making materials also seized CDs, audiotapes, computer accessories and manuals, and books and leaflets on jihad in the capital . According to the daily Star The seized JMB leaflet reads, “Here comes the Jihadi Kafila (caravan). It will destroy the enemies of Allah and his Prophet (S). It will bury the tyrants, exploiters and the dishonest leaders to bring about an Islamic state.”The leaflet says the “Christian-controlled media gives a distorted view of the Mujahideen’s noble campaign to free the country from the unbelievers”. Recently the prime Minster sheikh Hasina was also alerted by the Indian high officials about the life threat.

21 women militants arrested from Barisal District

21 women militants arrested from Barisal District

Security Forces on April 23 arrested 22 suspected militants, most of them women, in a raid in the south-western Barisal District soon after enforcing stepped up vigil around foreign missions following threats from Islamist extremists, The Hindu reported. The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested 22 suspected militants, including 21 women, while they were holding a meeting early morning in the District town, 117-km north of the capital Dhaka, Daily Star reported. Lt Commander K M Mamunur Rashid of the RAB told Daily Star the suspected militants were being interrogated at the battalion”s office. However, identities of the suspected militants were not ascertained. muhammed_drawing_jyllandsposten_censor21

Police on April 21 had intensified security around the United Nations (UN) and other foreign aid agencies after regional offices of the UN and International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) received militant threats at Barisal. &quotWe enforced tight security around the UN, UNICEF and IFRC offices, deploying extra forces and installing makeshift check points,” Nurunnabi Chowdhury, officer in charge of the Kotwali Police station in Barisal city, told PTI over phone. The intensified security came as suspected Jama”atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) activists sent letters to the regional offices of the two organizations, asking them to shut down their offices or &quotface death&quot.

Source: South Asia Terrorism Portal

http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/detailed_news.asp?date1=4/24/2009#15

Benkin to address US university about Bangladeshi Hindus

Benkin to address US university about Bangladeshi Hindus

Blitz Desk

American human rights activist, Dr. Richard L. Benkin, has been asked to give an address to American University on the plight of Bangladesh’s Hindus. Benkin is the USA Correspondent for Weekly Blitz and one of the paper’s spiritual founders. Editor and publisher, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, tapped Benkin to work with him in 2003, and the two have been brothers ever since. Benkin also led the international movement that eventually freed Blitz editor from imprisonment and torture. American University-one of the most prestigious universities in the US capitol-is having a series of events to commemorate the internationally observed Holocaust Remembrance Week, to honor the victims of the Nazi holocaust against the Jewish people. An estimated 6,000,000 Jews, or one third of the world’s Jewish population at the time, were murdered by the Nazis in an attempted genocide of that people.

Dr. Richard Benkin’s address will take place on Thursday [April 23, 2009] evening as part of a panel on “Modern day Genocides.” He will be joined by Jeremy Woodrum, cofounder and director of U.S. Campaign for Burma and Cory Smith, policy and advocacy consultant for Humanity United. The panel will focus on Burma, Darfur and Bangladesh.

Benkin’s invitation originated when an American University student heard him speak about the plight of Shoaib Choudhury and was inspired to tell others about Benkin’s work in general and the Shoaib Choudhury case specifically.

He and others followed Benkin’s more recent efforts on behalf of the Bangladeshi Hindus and decided to try and get him to speak on campus. The Holocaust Remembrance Week events were a perfect match.

“We Jews came out of the holocaust with the promise, ‘Never Again,'” Benkin said. By that we meant that we would never again allow such a thing to happen. But for us, it didn’t just mean not letting it happen to Jews but to anyone. That’s the spirit that drew me to stand up for Bangladesh’s Hindus who are being ethnically cleansed from that country. That spirit and the courage of my brother, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury.”

Benkin said that what is being done to the Bangladeshi Hindus is something that he would have to oppose in any case; but his opposition is even stronger, he said, because it is being done by Islamist radicals “aided by their allies in the government” and is part of the international jihad against all those who stand in the way of radical Islam and its goals.

At American University and other meetings in Washington, Benkin will present findings from his month-long trip to India during March 2009, where he met with Bangladeshi Hindu refugees, some of whom continue to face attacks “from Islamists on both sides of the border,” he said.

“I spoke with refugees who fled Bangladesh as recently as 22 days before I interviewed them. The specifics of their stories vary, but the underlying message is the same. Some radicals will seize their property, beat or threaten them, or sometimes worse. They then go to local authorities who tell them to leave the country or face the consequences. I met a girl who couldn’t have been older than 14 or 15 who was raped by these radicals while they beat her father! Anyone who does that is garbage and anyone who knowingly lets them do it is garbage, too. And you know what we do with garbage.”

Benkin also said he knows that is not the people of Bangladesh; but they must be opposed just as we would have opposed the Nazis. He sees a light, however, in this week’s conference.

“We know that the Burmese junta has been persecuting the Muslim Rohingyas. I wonder if Mr. Woodrum will be talking about that. Because all decent human beings are in the same boat with these people. We’re all potential victims, and I would love to see Muslims and Jews standing together to fight these evils. Some people think that’s a fantasy, but who knows? There’s an old saying that ‘we must hang together or we will surely hang separately.'”

It may be mentioned here that, during his recent India tour, Dr. Richard L Benkin was also willing to visit Bangladesh to meet members of religious minority groups as well as local media. But, Bangladesh embassy in Washington refused to issue him the visa, for the fifth time. In 2007, Richard Benkin was allowed to visit Bangladesh during January 8-18. During that tour, he met with a large number of minority activists and social workers in Bangladesh as well as business and media community to understand best possible ways to help Bangladesh in getting various forms of benefits from the United States.

http://www.weeklyblitz.net/index.php?id=593

Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh: What’s to be Done?

Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh: What’s to be Done? PDF Print E-mail
By Ali Riaz
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh: What’s to be Done?

On March 6, the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice designated the Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh (HuJIB) a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). The official implications of such designation are very broad. Once an organization is so designated, it becomes illegal for persons in the United States or subject to US jurisdiction to provide material support to that organization. US financial institutions have to freeze any assets the organization holds, and the United States can deny visas to its representatives. The designation moreover carries a message greater than these legal implications: it indicates that the US State Department has been keeping track of the organization and is convinced that it constitutes a threat beyond its country of origin.

This announcement may surprise many casual observers of Bangladeshi politics, but those who have been following the political scene in Bangladesh and/or tracking the US State Department’s listing of terrorist organizations over recent years, would have been aware it was only a matter of time before this organization would be declared an FTO. The HuJIB, an organization closely connected to the Harkat-ul Jihad as-Islami (HUJI) notorious for its militant activities within and outside Pakistan, was listed among “Groups of Concern” by the State Department in 2007. Its elevation to FTO is more than a change of status; it is an indication that this organization has been using Bangladesh as a base for activities beyond state borders. Equally important is the fact that these activities continued to be carried on more than two and a half years after HuJIB was banned in Bangladesh with some key leaders of the organization executed and many behind bars. Despite continued efforts on the part of the government to check militancy and apprehend the organizers, militant organizations are ostensibly thriving.

From Afghan War to BNP-JI alliance

The HuJIB is one of many militant organizations present within the country, but it should be recognized as the fountainhead of the militant groups that have been spawned since HuJIB’s emergence in 1992. Organized by those who participated in the Afghan War as ‘volunteers,’ the HuJIB brought home the long shadow of a distant war. The state’s support to the rebels of neighboring Burma, providing them with a safe haven in the southeast hill tracts had the unforeseen consequence of giving these organizations a free reign.

Additionally, factors such as a supportive domestic political environment due to the growing strength of the Islamist parties within mainstream politics; the easy availability of weapons from both the black and grey markets, particularly via Southeast Asia; an unremitting flow of funds from some international charity organizations such as the Restoration of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS); the proxy war by the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and its Indian counterpart the RAW on Bangladeshi soil – all helped to engender these groups.

Under intense international pressure the reluctant coalition government led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the Jammat-i-Islami (JI) (2001-2006) took some steps in 2005; three militant organizations including the HuJIB were banned. In late 2006 the government began arresting and trying key militant leaders. On 29 March 2007, not long after the country witnessed a change in government, six militant leaders were executed after all legal processes had been exhausted by them.

A regrouping

Although the arrests, the executions, intense security campaign and growing public awareness dealt a serious blow to the militant groups, developments over the past year demonstrate that these groups have not disappeared. Instead, militants have regrouped and seem to be steadily gaining strength.

ImageRally by Islamist (despite a ban on political rally) groups protesting government initiatives announced on International Women’s Day, 2008. Photo by E-Bangladesh/Banglar Mukh. One of the first signs of the regrouping of the militants came in April 2007: advocate Hyder Hossain, the public prosecutor and chief counsel of the case which resulted in the death sentence meted out to the six key leaders of the Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh was assassinated. Sporadic incidents of attacks occurred from the middle of 2007. For example, in May 2007, a previously unknown group called Jadid al-Qaeda Bangladesh detonated three near-simultaneous bombs in three divisional railway stations in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet. In November 2007, five militants of the banned JMB made a bid to escape from Comilla Jail, reportedly with help from the outside and from some jail employees.In February 2008, the Rapid Action Battalion seized 46 live grenades from Satkhira, after the arrest of Mufti Moinuddin alias Abu Zandal, a key accomplice of the HuJIB leader Mufti Abdul Hannan.  There were several other instances when grenades were recovered from various parts of the country. These and other similar incidents reveal that the networks of these militant organizations have remained intact, that financial support for maintaining the networks has not dried up, and that the flow of weapon has not been disrupted.

The government stalls…

From early on the present interim government had recognized the importance of dealing with militancy as a matter of concern, but it seems to be remaining one step behind the militants. One can argue that the steps taken to combat militancy have been inadequate, and that some necessary steps have not been taken yet. For example, although militant leaders had insisted that their pool of supporters consisted of 10,000-15,000 the total number of individuals arrested for their alleged involvement with militant activities is less than eight hundred – a number too small to organize the synchronized bomb blasts of 17 August 2005, let alone other operations. Those who had joined the Afghan war are estimated at 2800 according to government documents; yet not all have been traced and questioned, let alone apprehended.

The government has probed very little, if at all, into the suspected training sites used by militants. The possible political connection between certain members of the BNP and the militants has not been examined at length. There is enough evidence to show that the connections between the Jammat-i-Islami (JI) are more than accidental, and that these relationships are neither limited to individuals, nor to one or two units of the party.

… and patrons are still at large

Official records and press reports show that during the 4-party coalition government (2001-2006) a number of militant leaders were arrested, but released by the local authorities. To my knowledge no investigations, either public or administrative, has been conducted to identify the individuals concerned and the reasons behind the leniency displayed toward the militants. Patrons of the militants – individuals and organizations, domestic and foreign – have escaped justice altogether. This was one of the main topics of discussion immediately after the series of bombings, but over time it disappeared even from public discourse. Let me reiterate the point I made in my book, Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh: A Complex Web: “The importance of identifying, apprehending and trying the patrons of militancy cannot be overstated. Efforts to dismantle the networks of militants without bringing the patrons — political and financial — are bound to fail.”

The efforts of law enforcing agencies to seize weapons are commendable; these confiscations will delay the next rounds of attacks, and save many lives. But unfortunately these efforts are not sufficient to mitigate militancy; identifying the sources of weapons of the militants and breaking these networks is imperative to defeat the militants. The sooner the government addresses these issues, the better; delay will only make these issues more difficult to deal with. Let us hope that it is not too late already.

http://www.progressivebangladesh.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=124&Itemid=1

From Bangladesh to Darfur

From Bangladesh to Darfur

How internalised racism has permitted lighter skinned Muslims to slaughter their darker skinned co-religionists

TAREK FATAH

Presentation at The Durban Review Conference, Geneva, Switzerland, April 21, 2009

Dear NGO colleagues and delegates,

I speak to you deeply disappointed that my colleague Milly Nsekalije, a survivor of the Rwandan massacre could not share her story with all of you because in the eyes of some since she is not 100% Tutsi, she cannot have been a victim of the Genocide.

With Milly Nsekalije, a mixed-race survivor of the Rwadan Genocide, who was denied the right to speak by Tutsi activists as she was “not 100% pure Tutsi.”

What does it say about the state of racism in our world when the victims of a genocide practise exclusion on the basis of the so-called purity of blood lines and ethnicities.

Worse than her exclusion from today’s event is the fact that it has happened at a conference meant to combat racism, when it fact, in my opinion, whether it was yesterday’s speech by Mahmood Ahmadenijad or this afternoon’s barring off Ms. Nsekalije, we have turned the concept of racism upside down.

Having said that, please allow me to dwell on how racism plays out its dirty game, not just as a Black-White divide, but also as a cancer that affects relations between people of colour, often sharing the same religion, but different shades of brown or black skin.

When the issue of racism comes up, the internalised racism that devours the people of the developing world in Asia and Africa, from within, rarely comes up for discussion.

This afternoon I would like to shed some light on two genocides-one in 1970-71 and the other that continues as I speak. In both instances the root of the problem lay in how one group of Muslims felt they were racially superior to their victims, who also happened to be Muslims. In both cases the doctrine of racial superiority and the practise of institutional racism went unchallenged even after the horrible consequences of such racism was evident and for all to see.

Bangladesh
The first genocide took place in then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh and second is taking place in Darfur. Let me dwell on the Bangladesh genocide first.

In 1970 in Pakistan, my country of birth was divided between two wings; an eastern part that is today known as Bangladesh and the western rump that survived a subsequent war with India as the state we know as Pakistan.

East Pakistan was inhabited by the darker skinned Bengali people who happened to be the majority community of the country, but found themselves ruled by a lighter skinned minority from what was known as West Pakistan-separated by a 1,000 miles.

In the first 25 years of the country, the racist depiction of the darker skinned Bengalis as an inferior and incapable people became the unquestioned dogma among the ruling minority. In addition to the racist depiction of the darker-skinned Bengalis, their culture was portrayed as unislamic and being influenced by Hinduism. Their music, cuisine and attire were mocked while their language was banned and led to widespread protests and deaths in 1952.

In 1970, after suffering under the minority rule of West Pakistan for 25 years, the people of East Pakistan voted to elect a party based in their region and gained a clear majority in the country’s national parliament.

However, the racist view that Bengali people were incapable of ruling the country or that they were traitors to the fair-skinned minority of West Pakistan, led to a military intervention and widespread massacres in which one million people were killed in a ten-month period.

The killing of the Bengali people by the West Pakistan army stopped only when India intervened and defeated the Pakistan Armed forces, but not before hundreds of Bengali intellectuals, professors, poets, authors, musicians and painters, were rounded up and massacred in the final act of mass murder that started with the tolerance of racism as an act of faith.

One million Muslims were murdered by fellow Muslims in an orgy of hate that defied the teachings of Islam and the very Prophet Muhammad who was being invoked by the Pakistan Army. At the root of this sad blot on Islamic history and all of humanity lay the view that people of darker skin are inferior to those for geographic reasons have for no fault of theirs, a lighter skin colour.

One would have hoped that the lessons of 1970-71 would have been learnt in the Muslim World, but the sad fact is that the ubiquitous racism that resides inside the Islamic world has faced no opposition. On the contrary there is near universal denial about this cancer, not just among the governments that rule with oppressive instruments of power, but also many NGOs and civil society groups in the Muslim world.

Darfur
The latest manifestation of racism leading to a genocide is in Sudan where the Arab Janjaweed militia and the Arab government in Khartoum has resulted in the killing of 500,000 Darfuri Muslims whose only fault is that they are Black and thus considered as inferior to the ruling classes of that country.

The mistreatment of Black Muslims by those who feel they are superior because of their lighter skin colour has been historical. Only in the Middle East can one get away by addressing a Black man as “Ya Abdi”, which translates to the horrible words, “Oh you slave”.

The acceptance of racism among the dominant community in the Arab world has today resulted in not just the genocide of Darfuris, but also the celebration by the Arab League of the man charged by the International Criminal Court, President Bashir of Sudan.

It is time that the medieval doctrine of the inferiority of non-Arab Muslims to Arab Muslims is laid to rest. It is necessary that Arab countries and leaders of Arab NGOs denounce this doctrine that has led to the discrimination of darker skinned Muslims by Arab governments in counties as far apart as Dubai to Darfur.

Behind the genocide of Bengal and Darfur, separated by 30 years, is the unchallenged doctrine of racial superiority of one ethnic group over another that has gone unnoticed and unpunished by any institution anywhere in the world.

This doctrine of racism has brought untold misery on the victims of this cancer, but this becomes worse when such racism is given a religious validation. In this day and age, we have fatwas from contemporary Islamic scholars who maintain that a non-Arab Muslim like me would be committing an act of sin if I considered myself equal to an Arab.

Fatwas from the 14th century have been dusted off the shelves, re-furbished and published on on-line Islamist forums to justify the superiority of one group over the other. This has provided the moral justification to the mass murder being committed on the Black Muslims of Darfur, which unfortunately, has gone unmentioned even at this conference.

Conclusion
Let me conclude by suggesting that if racism is a mountain that we all need to conquer, then we have not yet come to a place where we can see this mountain in the horizon, let alone be at base camp.

Ladies and gentlemen, sisters and brothers, if we cannot allow a woman to speak here because she is of mixed blood or the fact that untouchability in India is not on the agenda in Geneva, or that nations of the OIC seek the right to restrict free speech, or a demagogue from Iran with blood on his hands has the audacity to lecture us on human rights, then all I can say is that in the words of Robert Frost, we have miles to go before we sleep… #