By: MZH Lashkar

Religion, A legion is a horde or a large number of people or things. It was originally a term for a military unit. In Roman times, a legion was a large unit of men in the army, and the word is still used in many militaries. And religion is just that: armed force with a leader & purpose. Our “Dharma” means “the eternal and inherent nature of reality” in both Hinduism and Buddhist beliefs. Islam in many places “submission to God”. God here is an outer entity, the General. On the other hand, Dharma indicates an inner quality. So technically Islam is a religion and not a Dharma. If you don’t teach a Bengali child “Allah”, he will never say Allah as it’s not native to Bangla. The mismatch recently playing a large role as too many Bangalees being Islamist in Bangladesh. In a way, Bangalee culture may be closer to dharma than Islam. And I think there lies the original conflict. Islam and similar religions seem knowing or unknowingly in the process of capturing all of men-kind. In the process, it keeps the blades sharp by slaughtering animals.

The hadith seems to want to define every mundane task, from nail clipping to pooping, while it has no factual references. By definition of Dharma, it should be a high-level guideline and may not be something wanting to run day to day Government, or a Legal system. Say the love of Elish is very Bangalee and it does not mean we can’t love any other fish or non-Bengalis may love Elish. Love for Elish is Bangalee dharma.

The ongoing blogger killing and shying away from prosecuting the fundamentalist in an exemplary manner has backfired for Awamileague Bangladesh (ALB). “Atheist” does not mean lawlessness rather it is often a collection of humanist, secular, holding human-experiences at highest: platform. Prime examples of our own humanist sons are Lalon, Kazi Nazrul, HajiMohsin, Rabindranath Thakur, Ramkrishna Paramhangso, Rajanikanta Sen, Swami Vivekananda, Maa Sarodamoni, Sri Aurobindo, Guru Sri Chinmoy, …. It Is a fact that the Bible was not written by Jesus, nor Ramayan by Ram, nor Tripitok by Sri Gautam Buddha. They were all born in one camp or other but their words and creation were for all. Islam’s main ingredients are by design too inferior to disclose all the way, so ”Only believe, no question accepted“. And the way the holy book remained pure is another fuzzy logic ” .. The Quran remained unchanged because it was memorized by many Sahabas, written on stones and tree barks”. I ask if for 1 year I keep all ledgers of Islami Bank on tree bark, leaves, animal skins, and stone how many of these Islamists will come forward to keep their life’s deposit in Islami Bank? If Islam is all one would like to be governed-by then is your faith, moral compass not as valuable as your currency-savings? If a reasonable Islamist says he or she understands that there is room for falsehood in Quran, then I don’t want to throw it in the garbage as no “guide” book can hold up this long test of time. Islam’s equality of humans, priority to knowledge seeking could still benefit followers. So I propose that modernize Islam. Make it bearable for all of civil society. Free the thought prisoners who blindly believe all knowledge lies in the Quran. Free the olds with no deeds but a pretentious pious life by running back and forth to Mosques. Reform Islamic education so it stops churning out Islamist mind-slaves the impotent members of our society.

Humans are born as Humans. As a government, it may be favorable to find its citizens abiding govt laws and don’t hold anything else higher than that. In a community, if people were civil to each other there would not any purpose for a human to have religion. If you look around most Atheists and agnostics are often the most accomplished community members. I know many Atheist Agnostics (AA) were born in religion and through questioning religious norms they eventually gave up the belief. I would think AA are thinkers by design. Pakistan is a deeper shade of Islamist and an evidently failed state. We should stay away from their footsteps. Madrasa education, if not mainstream, should never have the same opportunities. Minorities may not have better protection prior to ALB but we should have exemplary punishments for lighting minority properties, Any religion that does not look at a human being as human or distinguishes followers in Man and Women is a disservice to humankind and prosperity. My agnostic trend helps me to think religions are wrong but people need structure so they invented something to latch on to while atheism keeps me straight that I should protect myself from getting mislabeled. My brain surgeon has saved my life, he is quite skilled in his profession, I am in debt to him. I will not disrespect him for his belief. It is also just being a gentleman. As we choose not to say obscene or ugly unsubstantiated things about anyone’s clothes, appearance, and faith. However, it is a moral duty to voice an opinion when Islamists or any intention to harm others based on faith.

For thousands of years, we kept the pictures of our parents in center stages. For these time we been Buddhist, then maybe Hindu, and now mostly Islamist. It is an outrageous proposal that we can not erect the sculpture of Father of The Nation (FTN). Islamist’s argument is as always broken that Islam does not allow pictures of any living things. If we start to follow hadith where their originality is very questionable, this closely then soon these Islamists will have us replace all the rivers with deserts, mangoes with only dates, cows with camels. After all, this is Bangla and we are proud of being Bangalee, Bangladeshi.

The Muslim Brotherhood is another way to segregate and from what I gather it’s the poor Islamic states who seem to cozy up to this idea while Saudi treats any brown-skinned skinned muslim and 2nd class citizens. Every religion has its share of fundamentalist raging havoc now or in the past, even the buddha monks are misguidedly ready to kill Rohingya Muslims. Islam uncontrolled itself is a timebomb for any civilization. Instead of glorifying no-evidence explanations let’s glorify when a poor man shares his shelter and food with a street dog. Why honesty and kindness are the foundation of humanity.

I know from my law education that it’s my fundamental right to be able to put my dad’s picture in my house. My wife has an equal right to put up her own. In an equal partnership, it’s a whole another level of supremacy to think I can take her down without her permission. The same way put the father of a nation’s sculpture in major intersections is my fundamental right of expression. No one has the right to stop or take it down. I think one right allows me to put on a sculpture and it does not give me the right to destroy or stop one. It is whole another right to destroy one that I don’t own. Islam like all re-legion will continue to barge in on other’s rights to erect sculpture, wear clothes, set school curriculum.

What constitutes a religion in BD-Law? Does Religion have a higher priority over the freedom of expression of citizens? It rather seems that protection of one’s religion rises from citizen’s freedom of expression. It would be rather interesting to see how BD-Law crumbles if some group announces FTN work and words say a religion. Thus his sculpture becomes a religious artifact and thus protected from any other religion. I would love to express that it’s my (along hopefully many others) proposal to put FTN sculpture in major crossings.