Saturday, April 6, 2013

Muslim Extremists in Bangladesh & Anam's The Good Muslim

From today's Al Jazeera article "Bangladesh protesters demand blasphemy law:"
One person has been killed as hundreds of thousands of people continued protests in Bangladesh to demand that the government introduce an anti-blasphemy law that would include the death penalty for bloggers who insult Islam.
Nowsher Khan, a local leader of the Awami League was killed in Bhanga, a town south west of Dhaka on Saturday, when Hefazat-e-Islami party supporters clashed with Awami League supporters. The protest on Saturday, called the "long march", with many travelling from remote villages, was sparked after a group of bloggers allegedly began criticising conservative religious parties that are widely popular despite Bangladesh's secular constitution.
Allegedly backed by Jamaat-e-Islami party, Hefazat-e-Islam, an Islamic group which draws support from tens of thousands of seminaries, organised the rally in support of its 13-point demand including enactment of a blasphemy law to prosecute and hang atheist bloggers. Dhaka has been virtually cut off from the rest of the country since Friday afternoon, after secularists called a 22-hour nationwide strike to obstruct the march.
For a novel about Muslim extremists in Bangladesh, try The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam:
In the dying days of a brutal civil war, Sohail Haque stumbles upon an abandoned building. Inside he finds a young woman whose story will haunt him for a lifetime to come. . . . Almost a decade later, Sohail's sister, Maya, returns home after a long absence to find her beloved brother transformed. While Maya has stuck to her revolutionary ideals, Sohail has shunned his old life to become a charismatic religious leader. And when Sohail decides to send his son to a madrasa, the conflict between brother and sister comes to a devastating climax. Set in Bangladesh at a time when religious fundamentalism is on the rise, The Good Muslim is an epic story about faith, family, and the long shadow of war.

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