Bangladesh: Why turned into science fiction author Zafar Iqbal attacked?


Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, a renowned Bangladeshi author and educational, turned into stabbed in the support on March three, while attending a programme at a university in the northeastern district of Sylhet.

The lone attacker, Foyzur Rahman, turned into caught sooner than he may perchance perchance perchance continue stabbing Iqbal from unhurried. The 24-365 days-authorized attacker later stated he wanted to murder Iqbal which skill that of he believed the educational turned into an “an enemy of Islam”.

Iqbal, who has authored extra than 200 books, is now out of risk and is recuperating on the Mixed Armed forces Scientific institution (CMH) in the capital, Dhaka, in step with his spouse, Yasmin Haque.

The stabbing has introduced support memories of a series of deadly assaults against secular bloggers in Bangladesh with regards to three years ago.

Investigators include made progress in probing the knife attack wherein Iqbal sustained injuries to his head, support and left hand.

The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit (CTTC), a diversified unit of the Bangladesh Police who took be conscious of the investigation, include figured out some evidence that hyperlinks Rahman with an even-hasten dialogue board named Dawah Ilallah.

Dawah Ilallah is an web dialogue board go by the banned Bangladeshi outfit Ansarullah Bangla Crew (ABT) and Ansar al-Islam, which had been blamed for the spate of deadly assaults against secular bloggers. 

Terming the topic “an ongoing investigation”, an estimable of the CTTC, who hottest anonymity, informed Al Jazeera that the dialogue board labelled Iqbal an atheist, and held frequent discussions on potential ways to murder him.

After Rahman volunteered, “some customers” of the dialogue board, which one can join by invitation totally, guided Rahman to enact the attack, the CTTC estimable stated. 

Abdul Mannan, Extra Deputy Commissioner of CTTC, informed Al Jazeera that, at this point, they don’t make any “conclusive decision” about Rahman’s affiliation with any armed outfit.

“The form of the attack, nonetheless, indicated a hyperlink with ABT, as this outfit assaults other folks whom it believes to be an enemy of Islam,” he stated, at the side of that Iqbal had long been on the hit-list of ABT.

“We’re now not but definite whether Rahman acted alone or as a phase of the community,” stated Mannan.

The case of Zafar Iqbal

On March 5, at a impart meeting in Dhaka’s Shahbagh, Haque stated her husband wrote extra than 200 books and none of those has “something else that goes against the Islamic sentiment”.

“Had he [Rahman] learn any of his books, he wouldn’t include carried out something else treasure that,” Haque stated on the rally.

Whereas Iqbal has by no manner styled himself as an atheist or turned into believed to include stated something else that goes against Islam, he has been a staunch critic of Islamist politics and rising intolerance in Bangladeshi society.

College students where Iqbal teaches rallied in make stronger of the educational after the attack. [Nafis Tiham/Al Jazeera]

His father, who worked as a police officer in what turned into then Japanese Pakistan, turned into killed throughout the 1971 liberation battle.

He comes from a family of writers. His elder brother, slack Humayun Ahmed, is basically the hottest and highest-promoting Bangladeshi author of all time. His youthful brother Ahsan Habib is a satire author and the editor of Bangladesh’s totally monthly satire journal, Unmad, which manner “madman”.

After his PhD from the College of Washington, he went on to work as a scientist on the prestigious Bell Laboratory in California.

Within the early 2000s, he came support to Bangladesh to hitch Shahjalal College of Science and Technology in the northeastern Sylhet district as a professor of electrical and electronics engineering.

“Zafar Iqbal left a excessive-salaried job at a truly prestigious research lab in the US and got support to his place of origin to work for it,” stated Mohammad Kaykobad, a friend of Iqbal.

Kaykobad, a professor of pc science and engineering at Bangladesh College of Engineering Technology (BUET), has co-authored loads of current science books with Iqbal.

As advocates of popularising science training, each and every Iqbal and Kaykobad helped open the nationwide level Arithmetic Olympiad and Computer Programming contest in the South Asian nation of one hundred fifty million.

“Prof Iqbal has contributed plenty to the studying sector of Bangladesh. He if truth be told cares and has gargantuan perception in the expertise and energy of Bangladeshi other folks,” Kaykobad informed Al Jazeera.

“Many other folks don’t direct … as we effort repercussions. But he did now not,” stated the BUET Professor, alluding to Iqbal’s outspoken nature.

Why turned into he attacked?

Since Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League celebration became high minister in 2009, Iqbal has been an full of life recommend of the Battle Crime Tribunal, which turned into region up to punish those accused of committing atrocities throughout the 1971 liberation battle from Pakistan.

The Tribunal has handed out capital punishments to heaps of senior leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami – the best Islamist celebration – and the Bangladesh Nationalist Event (BNP) of archaic Top Minister Khaleda Zia.

The Jamaat, which has since been banned from contesting elections, has accused the Hasina authorities of politicising the Tribunal, while the World Commission of Jurists has acknowledged that the tribunal does “now not adhere to global requirements of an even trial and due assignment”. 

The author became a family name thru his books that integrated science fiction, young other folks’s tales, and other fiction and non-fiction, but in recent times he has acquired criticism, particularly on social media, for his stand against Islamist politics.

Bangladeshi political analyst Zia Hassan says he “personally in many ways opposes the rhetoric of Professor Iqbal, which appears on the nation thru the simplistic legend of pro versus against Liberation Battle”.

This perspective has now been ragged as a protect to protect the incumbent authorities’s diversified misdeeds, Hassan stated, at the side of that he, nonetheless, would treasure to sentence the attack on him [Iqbal] “strongly”.

Hassan stated heaps of oldsters include good concerns about the shriek of the nation and the blueprint in which the ruling celebration has suppressed dissent.

“Since [Zafar] Iqbal is sympathetic with the ruling celebration and blind to its misdeeds, he has now change right into a foremost target and there turned into a concerted effort to vilify him for the issues he’s now not accountable for.”

Every person is entitled to include his political search and “those that oppose Iqbal can oppose him thru debates – which we include carried out. The authorities must bring collectively efforts to protect him”, Hassan stated.

The Bangladeshi author’s perception as “anti-Islamist” is additionally which skill that of his writings, says Asif Shibgat Bhuiyah, a typical Bangladeshi blogger identified for his advocacy on Islamic scholarship.

“Rather just a few Iqbal’s writings, especially those written for young other folks, are of propagandist nature,” Bhuiyah informed Al Jazeera. 

In many of his books, a bearded or pious man is finally represented as a horrid individual or a villain, he stated.

Such motion from Iqbal has earned criticism which skill that of oldsters “anticipated a rational and fair attitude from a individual of such mind and skill as Iqbal,” stated Bhuiyah

The blogger says the attack on Iqbal is an final consequence of blind and blatant hatred that every other folks create in a extremely divisive society treasure Bangladesh.

“I effort, this would perchance perchance wound the Bangladeshi society in a extreme technique.”


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