Monday, March 19, 2012

Blind Faith in Bangladesh

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

-The Buddha
Having no oil, Bangladesh does not get the same media attention as countries like Iraq or Sudan.  Yet if most Americans knew the harsh treatment of Bangladesh's Jumma people, areas of regular news interest would fall under the radar.

The Chittagong people (the Jumma) of eastern Bangladesh are a distinct people who follow Buddhism, Shamanism, Hinduism or Christianity.  During the last decades they have been victims of an ongoing genocide by the majority Bengali Muslims.  Rape and murder by the Bengali government has been perpetuated to make room for Bengali settlers.  In CHT, the settlers now outnumber the indigenous Chittagong.
The settlers in the Chittagong Hill Tracts are driven by the Islamist ideology of the Saudi-sponsored "missionary" group Al-Rabat, meaning "Students of God."  The Islamist sect of Al-Rabat is called Wahhabism which declares followers of other religions, including non-Wahhabist Muslims, as "infidels."  Osama bin Laden himself, was raised in the Wahhabist sect.  Saudi Arabia, a state where Wahhabism is the official state religion, bans the practice of all non-Muslim religions for naturalized Saudi citizens (Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Jewish foreign workers in most of Saudi Arabia may only practice their religions in private).  
Chittagong mother and her dying child in and Internally Displaced Person's Camp.
According to Right View, part of the Buddhist Eightfold Path, we should consider that all things can be seen from many different viewpoints.  The first precept of the Buddhist order founded by Thich Nhat Hanh is, "Do not be idolatrous towards any doctrine, belief or theory-even Buddhist ones."  It is being able to not be attached to viewpoints that can allow us to become more compassionate people.  

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