Guilty Verdict of Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal on 1971 Atrocities
by Salim Mansur
This judgment is history-making. Finally, the people of Bangladesh are obtaining some relief from the trials and tribulations of that period in the country's history, which some of us lived through and witnessed at first hand.
It is also history-making for it brings Muslim perpetrators to answer for their crimes against humanity, for their murder, rape and pillage of innocent people, a majority of whom were Muslims, and then for the indiscriminate hate-filled violence against Hindus and other non-Muslims that I personally witnessed as our own family gardener, a Hindu, was executed in our home for simply being a Hindu, by soldiers of the Pakistan Army who raided our property.
Muslims who deny this and similar history, all the way back to the massacre of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, at Karbala in the 7th century CE, of crimes by Muslim rulers and their henchmen, have much for which to answer.
And for those non-Muslims who insist Islam cannot be distinguished from Islamist ideology, or that Islam is Islamism, this judgment of the Bangladesh Tribunal categorically indicates the falsity of equating Islamism (a fascist political ideology) with Islam (a faith-tradition).
It should help put to rest the falsehood of those Muslims and, ironically, non-Muslims, invested in insisting there is no difference between Islamism and Islam – that there is only "one" Islam, the Islam as preached by the likes of Yusuf al-Qaradawi among the Sunnis and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei among the Shi'i.
It is important to note that the OIC – the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – has not stepped forth to support the landmark effort of the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal in bringing individuals to indictment for war crimes committed in 1971. On the contrary, the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, is on record a having written to the President of Bangladesh an improper letter in flagrant violation of diplomatic protocol or respect for the independence of the Tribunal in a sovereign country, asking for suspension of the Tribunal with forgiveness for those accused of war crimes.
Anyone in the West seriously concerned for human rights, due process, rule of law, individual rights and freedoms, misogyny and violence against women, and democracy, should support the efforts of Bangladesh as a poor Muslim-majority country setting a precedent among OIC states of bringing war criminals, almost without exception Muslims, and many if not most of the indicted still alive and living in Pakistan or in many instances in the West, to justice.