modernghana logo

FEATURED STORY Pastor Calls For National Action Against Fake Ministers Of The Gospel...

body-container-line

All about Jews in Bangladesh

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
17 September 2009 | South Asia

Amongst South Asian nations, Jewish population in India is above 15,401 while Jewish population in Bangladesh is 175 which is 0.00011 of the total population of the country. Number of Jews in Pakistan is 200, while there is no official record of any Jewish population in Sri Lanka.

Although the number of Jews in Bangladesh is shown to 175 in various information sites, including Wikipedia, according to Bangladeshi scholars, the real number of Jewish population in Bangladesh is above 3,500, while the Jews in Bangladesh are afraid of disclosing their religious identity fearing persecution of the anti-Semitic people.

According to information, fearing religious persecution, Jews in Bangladesh mostly identify themselves as 'Jehova's Witness', while most of the Jews in the country are in textile related business as well as business in grocerries.

There is special congregassion of Bangladeshi Jews on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah. But, according to Bangladeshi scholar and Head of Dhaka University's Public Administration Department, Professor Dr. Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah, Pakistani government grabbed the only Jewish synagogue, which was located in Dhaka and the building is now being used as one of the offices of the government of Bangladesh.

Professor Dr. kalimullah demanded immediate returning of the Jewish synagogue to country's Jewish population as well stop all forms of repression on Jews in Bangladesh.

There was another Jewish humanitarian group active in the then Pakistan with a huge office at Dhaka's Purana Paltan area [near Central Post Office]. But, that organization was also forced to seize operations by the Pakistani government and that building has also been grabbed by the government, which presently houses one of the offices of the republic.

Persecution of Jews continue in Bangladesh because of spread of religious hatred, mostly by fanatic Muslim clergies, who term the Jews as 'enemies of Islam'. They encourage elimination of Jewish population from the country. That is why, although there is Jewish population in Bangladesh, none of the official records will presently show about their existence in the country. Jews were prevented from declaring their religious identity both in the National Identity Card as well as Passports issue by Bangladeshi government.

Bangladeshi continues to hold state policy of demonizing Israel and the country maintains total ban on the Jewish state for decades. Travel by any Bangladeshi citizen to Israel is seen as an offense according to Bangladeshi law.

Meanwhile, persecution of religious minorities in Bangladesh has been harshly criticized in the world by a number of scholars, although the situation is yet to change.

Eminent Indian writer and journalist M J Akbar speaking as keynote speaker at a seminar titled 'Meaning of Minority Politics' organised by Bangladesh Enterprise Institute [BEI] in the city in December 2007, said he was saddened that Bangladesh's birth principle of 'language-centred nationhood' "was incapable of finding a polity." and said stay true to the country's founding principles.

"Out of all the countries in the Muslim world, Bangladesh had the greatest opportunity to build a modern Muslim country," he said, adding that the question of Biharis and the gradual assimilation of Jamaat-e Islami into national politics have to be addressed.

Otherwise the results will be felt long into the future, he added. Akbar disagreed with the dominant view that a minority is a group of people who are demographically outnumbered in a particular area, stressing that the category is based on perceptions. Outlining the history of Bengali Muslims to illustrate his point, he said they were affected the most as a 'minority' in the last century that have transformed their history, and in effect their lives.

In Bangladesh, there is no Committee for minorities in the country to identify the issues facing 20 million minorities. In Bangladesh, being a minority means being a victim of oppression, torture and discrimination.

My submission is that the word minority has its own connotation and definition. By 'minority' today we mean a disadvantaged group of citizens, who are not the privileged ones, at the top, but the under-privileged at the bottom. [Atlantes Magazine, 29th January 1975]. It was thought that the Liberation of Bangladesh marked the end of a chapter of communal politics, opening up newer possibilities for the Hindus and other ethnic minorities and they would be able to play a more effective role in the political process. Minorities had also thought that Bangladesh would put an end to discrimination against them, and their loyalty to the country would no longer be questioned. But in the present-day Bangladeshi the Hindu's loyalty to the state is very much questioned. On the other hand, Bangladeshi state policy considers Jews as 'Enemies', which is extremely sordid and unacceptable.

I strongly urge the Bangladeshi government to immediately return the Jewish synagogue to the country's Jewish population as well allow the Jews in the country to live in peace by openly expressing their religious identity. And good news is, despite series of repressions and persecutions both by the government and religious fanatics, Jewish population in Bangladesh presently is increasing for past several years.

SALAH UDDIN SHOAIB CHOUDHURY
Journalist, Columnist, Author & Peace Activist
Skype: shoaibnoca
Editor & Publisher, Weekly Blitz www.weeklyblitz.net

Director, FORCEFIELD NFP
PEN USA Freedom to Write Award 2005; AJC Moral Courage Award 2006

Key to the Englewood City, NJ, USA [Highest Honor] 2007; Monaco Media Award, 2007

Bangladesh / Ghana / Africa / Modernghana.com

Do you have an story for publication? Please email it to [email protected]

TOP STORIES

Galamseyers in Kumasi to petition Otumfuo over gov't crackdown

41 minutes ago

“Continue being the star of Africa” – Former President urges Akufo-Addo

41 minutes ago

Chinese illegal miners abused Ghana’s immigration laws – State Attorney

2 hours ago

'Don't blame the General when soldiers lose war - NDC man defends Mahama

2 hours ago

Charlotte Osei Unfit For Award – AFAG Tells Chatham House

3 hours ago

We’ll resist DCE appointee from Atiwa West – Atiwa East youth

3 hours ago

SSNIT Registration: NAGRAT Begs For More Time

6 hours ago

Akomea Heads ISTC

7 hours ago

Ibrahim Mahama’s companies flouted payment plan – GRA

7 hours ago

Ibrahim Mahama accounts were not closed, they were dormant – Sam George

7 hours ago

Ibrahim Told GRA Not To Withdraw Cheques - Amaliba

8 hours ago

NDC Plans Against Free SHS

9 hours ago

Jobless Nurses Spend Night At Ministry Of Health

10 hours ago

UE/R: Policewoman Commits Suicide

10 hours ago

Illegal miners will be engaged in tree planting program – Amewu

12 hours ago

Stop witch-hunting Ibrahim Mahama, he’s no criminal – Kofi Adams

12 hours ago

BoG, FDA others summoned as PAC hearing on 2015 Auditor General's report begins

15 hours ago

Deceased student didn’t die in pool – University of Ghana

24 April 2017

Service providers question Nana Addo’s pledge to make Accra clean

24 April 2017

Timelines for appointing MMDCEs needed – Kyei-Baffour

24 April 2017

NAGRAT threatens demo over SSNIT biometric registration

24 April 2017

NDC’s Defeat Was Caused By Presidential Hopefuls Within - Former Northern Region...

24 April 2017

NPP Suspends Kumawu Chairman

24 April 2017

Ibrahim Mahama's companies 'punished' for defaulting

24 April 2017

Ibrahim 44 Bounced Cheques… EOCO Probes Customs

24 April 2017

JUSSAG partly to blame for allowance dispute -Labour Commission

24 April 2017

Anti-galamsey: Govt begins clampdown on recalcitrant illegal mining firms

24 April 2017

NPP Machomen Disrupt Press Conference At Yilo Krobo

24 April 2017

'Creation of new regions will promote rapid development'

23 April 2017

FEATURED STORY

Pastor calls for national action against fake ministers of t...

quot-img-1If a ruler rules with an iron hand, he faces an uprising.

By: Kyei-Afrifa quot-img-1
body-container-line