Religion of disturbing the peace at it again. Source: Greek goddess statue removed in Bangladesh after
Islamist Muslim outcry – BBC News
Workers have begun to dismantle the statue of a Greek goddess from Bangladesh’s Supreme Court complex, after an outcry from
The sculpture of Themis – the goddess of justice – wearing a sari was less than six months old, but
Islamist Muslim groups demanded its removal by Friday.
They claimed it hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims and it prompted mass protests in the capital, Dhaka.
PM Sheikh Hasina agreed to its removal, but secular groups opposed it.
Workers came with equipment and a crane at midnight to uproot the controversial statue, the BBC’s Bangla service reported.
The statue is being removed to maintain peace, said its creator Mrinal Haque.
Analysts say this is a sign of the rising tension between Islamic conservatism and liberal values in Bangladesh.
Protesters have long asserted that the figure, which held the familiar sword and scales of justice in her hands, amounted to idolatry.
In February, conservative
Islamist Muslim group Hefazat-e-Islam led protests and threatened to spread the demonstrations across the country if the statue was not removed.
Many of those protesting will have been followers of Hefazat-e-Islam, but observers have also pointed to increasing conservatism among the general public.
The tension between such forces and secular voices has been one of the defining themes in Bangladesh over the last few years.
What the BBC didn’t report is that police literally had to keep the peace:
A mass movement across the country would occur if Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government did not meet the protesters’ demand immediately, said Junaid Al Habib, a leader of the Hefazat-e-Islam.
“Bangladesh is a Muslim-majority country, its 92 percent people are Muslims, we cannot accept any idol in front of the Supreme Court,” he said.
In 2008, protests led to the removal of a statue of a Bangladeshi mystic poet at a road crossing near Dhaka’s international airport.
The country of 160 million people is ruled by secular laws, but radical Islam has been rising.
In recent years dozens of atheists, liberal writers, bloggers and publishers and members of minority communities and foreigners have been targeted and killed.