Monday, August 31, 2009

New Wild West? Rustling Cattle to fund Jihad

It is a story most Americans have heard time and again: "bad guys" in the Old West stealing cattle from law-abiding citizens. It was a very lucrative business back then but one that was hated by the people of the Old West. No doubt, we assumed it was a thing of the past and that cattle rustlers posed no threat to us--we urbanized and urbane Americans. Well, we had better think again.

Interfaith Strength first learned in March that Bengali Muslims were using the proceeds from stolen cattle to fund jihad in South Asia. During a clandestine and late-night meeting in Kolkata, individuals with homes in the border area between India and Bangladesh told me that "after ten o'clock you can see everything." By everything, they meant cattle going out of India in exchange for arms and terrorists coming into the country. The jihadis were helped in this effort by corrupt officials from West Bengal, the Indian state that lies on Bangladesh's western border and has been under the iron first of communist rule for the past 30 years.

Interfaith Strength recently investigated the allegations and has been able to confirm the existence of this network that is funding anti-Indian and specifically anti-Hindu terrorism with proceeds gained from violating a sacred tenet of the Hindu faith.

We will have more on this in the coming days.

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Bangladeshi Hindu Abducted, Forced to Convert to Islam

For most of us in the West, the notion of forced conversion seems to belong to a bygone age and a long discredited mentality. The sad fact, however, is that like the slave trade and other atrocities we have left in our past, forced conversion is alive and well even today. The Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) has reported a case of abduction and forced conversion in Bangladesh; and two human rights organizations, Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD)and Bangladesh Minority Watch (BDMW) have investigated the incident. All three groups have a history of credibility in these matters, as well as people on the ground that can confirm or refute allegations.

The case involves a Hindu woman named Koli Goswami. According to the BHBCUC report, at least five Muslim perpetrators including a government official broke into Koli's home at 12:45am on June 13, 2009. They vandalized the home and grabbed the 20-year-old-college student. When the girl tried to alert others by screaming, they covered her head and, as others started coming to her rescue, fired pistols in the air to scare them away. One of the alleged perpetrators, Touhidul Islam Bhuiya (Sumon) is currently facing murder charges in a separate case.

Yet, the Bangladeshi police have denied that any crime was committed in this case; which also allows Sumon to remain free. When GHRD and BDMW representatives visited the site, police told them, "It is not kidnapping. It is love affairs between kidnapper and victim." Kidnapper? Victim? That hardly sounds like a love affair. So, Bangladeshi police, as is standard in these matters (and they are not uncommon), have refused to pursue a case: despite physical evidence of a break-in at the family home; despite the video taped testimony of the family; despite the lodging of a complaint by the girl's uncle; and despite requests by the family for them to help locate and produce Koli.

Although I am investigating the matter further, the basic facts in this case (that is, the break in and abduction) are not in dispute. The police, too, have seen the physical evidence, as well as other material provided by BDMW's Rabindra Ghosh. The incident itself is a terrible crime, but making matters worse is the fact that it remains a common occurrence in Bangladesh. Victims are universally young women and girls, sometimes boys, of child bearing years or younger. The choice of victims is deliberate and as such, meets the fourth condition of genocide, as described in the international Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: "Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.

The active participation by a government official in the Koli Goswami forced conversion, as well as police refusal to prosecute the case, are consistent with other incidents of active government involvement and support for forcibly converting young minority members to Islam. It is also consistent with figures gathered during the period of Arab terror bombings in Israel. During that period, Arab terrorists disproportionately bombed places frequented by Israeli Jews of childbearing years or younger: children and even babies especially in Judea and Samaria, clubs like Mike’s Place in Tel Aviv, markets where young mothers shop, shopping malls, and so forth. What Islamists cannot gain because they are militarily weak and morally bankrupt, they try to gain through genocide.

And consider this: at the time of the India-Pakistan partition (1947), Hindus made up almost one third of the population in the territory known today as Bangladesh. Today, they are but nine percent. There can be little doubt that incidents such as that of Koli Goswami are part of a deliberate process that has caused that population decline; and if it is not stopped, we will witness an end to Bangladesh's minorities in our lifetimes.

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