It is a “quiet case of ethnic cleansing.” Certainly, the screams of the victims do not make it so; nor does the hatred dripping from the lips of their victimizers. Rather, it is the silence of the “civilized world” that characterizes this terrible atrocity; an atrocity that has been proceeding with little break for decades. Bangladesh’s Hindu population is dying. This is not opinion or the ravings of an ideologue: It is a fact. At the time of India’s partition in 1948, they made up a little less than a third of East Pakistan’s population. When East Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971, Hindus were less than a fifth; thirty years later, less than one in ten; and several estimates put the current Hindu population at less than eight percent. Professor Sachi Dastidar from the State University of New York estimates that about 40 million Hindus are missing from the Bangladeshi census.H If it is still not clear where this is going, just take a look at Pakistan where Hindus are down to one percent or Kashmir where they are almost gone. Then take a look at the future of Bangladesh’s Hindus if we do not act.
For much of that time, there have been regular reports out of Bangladesh documenting anti-Hindu incidents there including murder, gang rape, assault, forced conversion to Islam, child abduction, land grabs, and religious desecration. And while Bangladeshi officials might object that the perpetrators were non-state actors, government culpability rests, at the very least, on the fact that it pursues very few of these cases and punishes even fewer perpetrators. During Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971, Pakistani troops and their local, Islamist allies slaughtered two to three million predominantly Hindu Bangladeshis. Known as the Bangladesh Genocide or Bangladesh Holocaust, the atrocity sparked no Nuremburg-like trials, and it is only now almost 40 years later that the Bangladeshi government is getting around to“talking about” holding the perpetrators responsible. In the meantime, the guilty have continued to hold positions of authority over the victims’ relatives. Successive Bangladeshi governments—whether the openly Islamist BNP, the civilian or military caretaker, or the supposedly pro-minority Awami League—all have been passive bystanders, refusing to exercise their sovereign responsibility to protect the life and security of all their citizens; and thus they have sent radical Islamists and common citizens alike a clear message that these acts can be undertaken with impunity.
Yet, in this world of moral cowardice and political correctness, it is the victims and their defenders who have to prove that there is something wrong. One would expect justice to demand that the Bangladeshis explain why they should not be charged with complicity in eliminating an entire people numbering in the tens of millions. My personal commitment since 2008 has been to provide that proof to media, government officials, and even to the general population in order to stop the atrocity. This has included regular missions to India, and Bangladesh when that government does not bar my entrance to gather evidence from victims and others of the ongoing atrocities.
I have spoken with hundreds of Bangladeshi Hindu refugees living in largely illicit colonies throughout North and Northeast India. In describing the attacks that forced them to leave their ancestral homes, they made it very clear that their attackers were not necessarily radicals, but neighbors; common, everyday Muslims. They also reported with near unanimity that when they went to the police and other officials for help, they were advised to drop the subject and “get out of Bangladesh.” Last March, I interviewed a family that crossed into India only 22 days earlier. They told me about an uncle being killed, the father beaten, and their small farm invaded by a large number of Muslims. I also looked into the eyes of their 14-year-old daughter as she talked about being gang raped, not by al Qaeda or other radicals but simply by Muslims who lived in the area and knew they could have their way with the family, seize their land, and get away with it. And that is chilling because history has shown that the most “successful” cases of genocide and ethnic cleansing occur when a small cadre of true believers incites average citizens to engage in heinous acts against a targeted minority that they otherwise would not dream of committing. There might be no Gestapo or Janjaweed in Bangladesh, but its Hindu community is facing a similar process of destruction at the hands of the Bangladeshi Muslim majority.
In December 2008, Bangladesh ended two years of military-backed rule by electing the left-center Awami League to lead the country in a landslide victory. The diplomatic and “official” human rights community worldwide hailed the election not only as a victory for democratic rule but also as an event that will usher in a new era in Bangladesh, in which government protects religious minorities against those bent on their destruction. While the Awami League’s record on that score has been less than dismal, those international groups remain committed to their fiction of “hope and change.”
Over the years, I have established a network of informants throughout India and Bangladesh to verify the unending stream of allegations of anti-Hindu atrocities. If anything, we err on the side of caution in our presentations so the perpetrators and their apologists cannot focus on one questionable allegation to distract us from the many other true ones. During the Awami League’s first two months in office, for instance, we verified without doubt one and a half anti-Hindu incidents every week. In January alone, we verified the following.
- Kidnapping a 14-year old girl.
- Breaking into a home and abducting an eight-year-old boy.
- Beating a member of the local Hindu council “senseless so that the victim was hospitalized.
- Attacking a funeral site and destroying the nearby Temple.
- Seizing land for a Hindu Temple and building a madrassa (Muslim school) on it.
- Destroying another Temple.
- Seizing land and retaining the land.
In every one of these cases, the attackers were Muslim and the victims Hindu; and in every one of these cases, the Bangladeshi government refused to pursue a case against the perpetrators. Incidents continued to occur throughout 2009 and into 2010. On three separate days last spring, what can only be described as an anti-Hindu pogrom occurred in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka. Residents of the poor neighborhood were beaten to the point of hospitalization, a Hindu Temple was ransacked and destroyed, Hindu-owned land was seized by the attackers, and several homes were set ablaze and destroyed leaving dozens homeless to this day. The area, known as Sutrapur, was located directly behind a police station, and police stood by during the three raids, supporting the case of the Muslim attackers and allowing Hindu residents to be victimized at will. Subsequent investigation by my own informants as well as several human rights groups confirmed a conspiracy to prevent action against the perpetrators involving the Dhaka Police Chief and at least one Awami League Member of Parliament.While the world—albeit too late—has recognized human rights atrocities in Sri Lanka, Darfur, and elsewhere; they have not done the same for these Hindu victims of Islamist ethnic cleansing. The task of getting world media and governments to acknowledge atrocities with has no concentration camps or killing fields has proven near insurmountable thus far (although we have made significant progress toward that goal). “Progress,” however, still has allowed them to proceed without a murmur of protest, quietly and relentlessly, for decades.
We recently founded a new NGO, Forcefield to help. Board Members, besides me, are from Australia, India, and Bangladesh; the latter being anti-jihad Muslim hero, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury. In addition to continuing to defend Shoaib Choudhury and trailblazing work to expose the rise of Islamists, complicity by Bangladeshi authorities, relations between Bangladesh and Israel, and general support for the war against Islamic extremism; Forcefield is committed to stopping the ethnic cleansing of Hindus and other minorities by in Bangladesh. It has several initiatives currently under development to change people’s understanding about what is happening to the Bangladeshi Hindus so that it will spur concrete and effective action to stop it. They include:
My regular missions to South Asia to
continue gathering verified information, educate various publics there
and in the West about this matter, and strengthen our network of
A documentary film about the Bangladeshi Hindus, which professionals have agreed to join and victims have agreed to testify.
An online newspaper geared toward Westerners to provide well-documented and verified news, data, and expert opinion about the spread of radical Islam in South Asia, its impact on Hindus and religious minorities, and the threat it poses worldwide. We have correspondents standing by in various key venues in South Asia.
Forcefield is non-agenda driven, which means it is not committed to any leftist ideology, network of supporters, or “flavor of the week” issues; and it is most definitely NOT anti-Israel. It is recognized as a not-for-profit by the governments of India and the United States, which makes all contributions fully tax deductible under US law. Dr. Daniel Pipes and his Middle East Forum already have given Forcefield their generous support. Unlike Amnesty International and the other large human rights NGOs, Forcefield is brand new and does not have the network of funding they have. We are looking for our initial support from those good people who are with us in the battle to save our world from the scourge of radical Islam. The Forcefield Board greatly appreciates any donation people can give. While we still do not have our own web site, you can donate to Forcefield online (by credit card or Paypal) by going to mine, http://www.interfaithstrength.com; click the “Donate” button. Donations will allow us to continue the struggle against the anti-US, anti-Israel, Islamist propaganda machine that is advancing the cause of our adversaries and taking the lives of our friends.
Joseph Stalin is said to have remarked, “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic.” That 14-year-old rape victim—that child—I met in Northern India was no statistic, and God help us if we make her one.