Former Bangladesh cricket team captain and parliament member of Narail-2 constituency, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, took to Facebook to address the attacks and torching of houses of minorities in the Lohagara upazila of Narail after someone allegedly insulted prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) on Facebook.
Mashrafe wrote, “Yesterday (Friday), an incident took place in our area that has left me completely devastated and is upsetting me every moment.”
He said, “I can’t match this Narail with the Narail I’ve seen from my childhood, the Narail I take pride in.”
In his lengthy post, Mashrafe pleaded everyone to show more tolerance.
A college student from the Dighalia area inside Lohagara posted a defamatory post about the prophet in his Facebook account on Friday afternoon.
Chaos ensued in the area after the post. Enraged locals attacked houses and shops owned by minorities at the Dighalia bazar. One house was torched. At one point, the police had to fire empty rounds to bring the situation under control.
Mashrafe wrote in his post, “I’m especially asking everyone, don’t get involved in acts that put the area’s peace under threat. Don’t ruin Narail’s thousand year old tradition of harmony among all communities in mere seconds by falling into the trap laid by people who want to destroy communal harmony.”
He further said, “Islam is the religion of peace. Our dear prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) was a messenger of peace and harmony throughout his life. If someone, out of ignorance or intentionally, insults the prophet, the administration will take legal action against that person. If someone really does something like that, if the allegation is proved he will definitely be punished for it.”
Mashrafe pleaded everyone to not take the law into their own hands, “There is law and order in this country, the necessary steps will be taken. Under no circumstances, can we take the law into our own hands. Even if the allegations are true, no one has the right to harm everyone of a community for the action of one. If someone has committed a crime, the court will punish him, you or I can’t hand out punishments.”
“I never imagined that we would get divided among ourselves like this. I don’t recognise this Narail! On one side, pious Muslims are hurting hearing insults about the prophet and on the other side, I hear the screeches of a helpless mother of Sanatan community whose house has been burned down. I didn’t ask for your support to build a Narail like this.”
Mashrafe also asked leaders of all communities to step up. He said, “I would request the respected Imams of mosques, to speak about the peaceful teachings of Islam in your area more than before. Tell people stories of our peace loving prophet’s life. Teach people about the prophet’s ideals, tell them his quotes. I would also request the respected priests of Sanatan belief to spread the message of communal harmony among the youth of your community.”
Mashrafe also noted down the steps he took to mitigate the incident when it was happening, “As soon as I heard about the incident, I asked local police and administration to take immediate action. I spoke with Narail’s police super, the respected DIG and even with the home minister to take immediate steps. I also sent local leaders and activists to the spot to help the suffering people. RAB came to the spot from Khulna. Even after taking so many steps, some very unfortunate incidents happened.”
Mashrafe said, “This country is ours, this soil belongs to all of us. Like ’71, all of us have to come together to make sure that this soil never becomes unsafe for anyone; we can’t afford to forget our ideals for even one second.”