Embarrassed Bangladeshis in the West can’t name their native land because of terrorists

The Bangladesh that opposed Pakistan because it wanted to be a secular nation, is now giving birth to religious fanatics and jihadis.
Two young men from Bangladesh were planning to carry out two massive terrorist attacks — Naimur Zakaria Rahman and Akayed Ullah. Naimur, 20, planned to kill Theresa May, the British Prime Minister,  while Akayed Ullah wanted to kill innocent New Yorkers.
Thankfully, they didn’t succeed.
Naimur had a suicide vest, a knife, and a pepper spray that he wished to use to kill May. He also considered placing a bomb at the door of 10 Downing Street. However, he was caught before his plans could materialise, along with a friend called Imran. Imran, was going to Libya to join ISIS.
Akayed Ullah wore a pipe bomb around his stomach and stood near a Times Square subway station. He wanted to detonate the bomb amid the morning office rush, killing himself and countless others. He couldn’t, however, successfully detonate it.
Ullah came as a legal immigrant from Bangladesh at the request of his relatives, like many Bangladeshis who are lured by the American dream. As he drove a taxi and doubled as an electrical technician there, he also watched videos of ISIS on the internet. He watched ISIS  declare that all non-Muslims and non-believers should be killed. He learnt how to make bombs on the net and then took it to Times Square. He thought once he kills them he will gain entry to paradise. He would be given food, drinks, and  pink virgins  to have sex with.
Akayed  have heard this description of paradise while in Bangladesh. Many religious fundamentalists in Bangladesh are completely free to spread these messages in villages, and towns. They talk of the routes to paradise, hatred for non-Muslims, destroying Hindu temples and Buddhist icons, opposing America and Israel, even as they offer tips on terrorism.  They want to replace the Bengali culture of the country with an Islamic one. These fundamentalists are enough to destroy the Bangladeshi youth and to create countless Akayed Ullahs.
Every institution in Bangladesh, state and otherwise, is pressuring citizens to follow religion. Schools, colleges, madrasas are brainwashing the young to be extremely religious. The problem with religious fanatics is that they want to make friends, family, neighbours, and everyone else like them. They don’t consider religious terrorism to be terrorism at all.  Neither do they consider expressing differing opinions to be freedom.  They want to replace democracy with theocracy.  So, obviously only the likes of Akayed Ullahs, and not Einsteins, will be born in these overly religious societies.
It is because of people like Akayed that ‘chain migration’ policy would be banned in America. Chain migration is where an immigrant, after settling in America, helps other members of her family to migrate one-by-one. If this is stopped, it would not only affect Bangladeshis, but migrants from other countries who would have to live alone leaving their families behind. What good has Akayed done? The hundreds of Bangladeshi workers who give work honestly, now live in fear and are even embarrassed to name their native country.
What have Akayed and Naimur done to make Bangladesh shine? Bangladesh used to be called a moderate Muslim country and is now being called a religious fundamentalist and extremist country after the terror attacks. Sadly for fanatics, their country or their people don’t matter, what matters is religion. The only people they consider their own are people who follow their strain of religion. Culture and traditions are value-less.
That’s why if Muslims in Gaza are attacked, Akayed gets angry, but it does not matter to him if Hindus in his own Bangladesh are killed. He lived in New York and targeted non-Muslims in New York. If he was living in Bangladesh, he would have participated in destroying Hindu temples and giving shelter to Rohingyas. Because Rohingyas follow the same religion as him.
If there are terrorist attacks in Western countries, these fanatics celebrate, but obviously in hiding because if the police catch them, they would not be able to live in these countries.
But it is not only the desire for life in paradise that make one a terrorist.  Anger does too. When Israel or America bomb Muslim nations and kill Muslims, it angers them.  And because they are angry, they believe that they must die in order to take revenge.  The anger of terrorists is very strange.  If a Muslim kills a  Muslim or, if rich Muslims violently oppress poor Muslims or, if a Muslim bombs a mosque and while people are praying namaz or, if  Muslim clerics rape  girl students of a madrasa, or a Muslim burns the Qu’ran, or defecates on the Qu’ran — they do not seem to get angry.
Do Naimur and Akayed not have supporters in Bangladesh? Of course they do. Many of them.  Which is why when people wanted to reform religious ideas, they have been brutally murdered by terrorists. Now, they do the same thing outside Bangladesh. Not only have some Bangladeshi boys and girls joined ISIS, there are many who support the terrorist organisation as well. Even if ISIS ceases to exist, its ideals won’t.
The Bangladesh that opposed Pakistan because it wanted to be a secular nation, is now giving birth to religious fanatics and jihadis. There needs to be progressive movements across the world and let it begin in Bangladesh.  It is not only the responsibility of the government to stop terrorism, but of every individual. Just cutting the branches of a poisonous tree doesn’t stop the poison.  You have to uproot it too.
Taslima Nasreen is a celebrated author and commentator.

(Translated from Bengali by Neera Majumdar)

Source: The Print