The good news is that quite a few Members of Congress saw the exhibit, which was held in the Rayburn Congressional Office Building. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) sponsored it; and Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL) addressed the gathering. It would be impossible for them or the other Members of Congress who were there not to take the plight of Bangladeshi minorities seriously--something we hope will bear fruit as we attempt to defend these individuals.
It would be an atrocity if these acts were being perpetrated only by gangs of Islamist radicals. It is even worse that the Bangladeshi government turns a blind eye to this thirty-year atrocity. But what makes all of it something that democratic governments have to take with an added level of seriousness is that this persecution is government policy--and has been under every Bangladeshi government including the present one. First, although Bangladesh came into being as a secular state, it soon was turned into an Islamic Republic. As one Bangladeshi Hindu to me, "It is a constant source of pain that I have to be reminded that even as a Hindu, I am a citizen of a Muslim country." Non-Muslims are de facto second class citizens under these governments. The government has, in fact, been running this program of ethnic cleansing through its Vested Property Act, which allows it to seize the land and property of non-Muslims and give it to Muslims. Despite the blatant persecution that is this law, Bangladesh's ambassador, M. Humayan Kabir, told me the current government has no plans even to address this! According to several witnesses, government personnel have even participated in these actions. And after 30 years, the distribution of the seized property has become part of Bangladesh's legendary system of corruption.
So what do we do? The first step in ending this horror is to learn about it and make others aware. The facts are compelling and the laws reminiscent of Nazi Germany. In the coming weeks and months, this web site will carry more information about this, and I also recommend the HRCBM web site.
One final thought. A few days before Bangladesh's military coup, I met with a top government official. During our conversation, I said to him: "There are three things that your party and government does that will hold back your country until they are ended. One is corruption. Two is your appeasement of Islamist radicals. Three is the oppression of minorities, women, and dissidents." Even though his government's tenure ended, these three things did not.
In 2008, I visited over a dozen refugee camps in West Bengal and confirmed the atrocities. I took testimony from the elderly, from children, from women and men, and from those who might be able to stand against the tide of a future genocide. I have been to Washington about it before and will return again to try and save these people. In 2009, I returned to several Indian states with Bangladeshi Hindus refugees to continue the fight and to visit my brothers and sisters giving them hope for a better day. I again visited refugee camps and spoke with the victims, including a 15 year-old girl whose family had crossed into India only 22 days earlier after she was raped by Islamists, her father beaten by them, and their property seized by them and their cohorts in the government.
But these actions take money, and I have exhausted most of my own funds--which I have used without help thus far. I am willing to go to the camps and villages, to the centers of power in Washington, New York, and South Asia. But I need your help to do so. Please give what you can to help me--and those in India who are with us--to continue this life and death struggtle. The Hindus of Bangladesh are facing a deliberate attempt to exterminate them--and what happens to them could be a model for the rest of us "infidels." Don't let it happen.
As we move forward through 2011 and beyond, we will engage in various initiatives in which everyone can play a role--in which everyone can help save these lives. These alerts will ask you to take specific action to stop the oppression and jihadi terror begin perpetrated daily against the Bengali Hindus.
Your donation also will help save lives.