Religious Riots in Dhaka

Dhaka Riots (image by Getty Images)I’m glad I stayed home last Friday because riots broke out yesterday in Dhaka City and dozens were injured. There hasn’t been riots for a while in Bangladesh. The last time this happened was around when I first started this blog. Unfortunately, unlike the previous riots, these ones were religious in nature. Religious extremists were (violently) protesting plans to give women equal rights in regards to inheritance (equal rights for women? For shame! /sarcasm).

The simple fact is – especially when it comes to Islamic extremists – such protests are nothing but an exercise in hypocrisy. Because there is supposed to be “no compulsion in Islam”. If these religious extremists were truly following their religion – they should not have been trying to forcibly impose their particular interpretation of Islam on others. God gave us all free will and I – for one – will be damned if I accept the attempts of some of his more extreme followers to try and take away that gift.

As disturbing as these developments are this is proof of what Dr. Jeffrey Sachs has been arguing. There is a connection between religious extremism, terrorism, and poverty. It should be no surprise that these religious extremists were able to mobilize during a time of severely rising food prices. These food prices have already caused a lot of people to protest and riot. It’s very easy to redirect one’s anger when they are hungry – and that’s what the extremists have been doing.

To fight Islamic – hypocritical – extremism we need to fight poverty. It’s just that simple.

7 Responses to “Religious Riots in Dhaka”


  1. 1 angel of life

    Agreed. Just be safe. Be careful.

  2. 2 angel of life

    Agreed. Just be safe. Be careful.

  3. 3 Charlie "Chunk" Nelson

    Hey Shawn,

    I am glad to here that you didn’t get caught up in any of the events caused by the riots. I agree with the extremist views in religion, not solely Islam, can not be removed until the society around them has changed into a more self sufficient economy. The problem is, like you said in a previous blog entry, that the first world countries that we live in make this impossible to them because we refuse to sacrifice a small amount of our money to remove these trade restrictions that harm these nations.

    Now that I feel I have at least responded to this blog entry on to my next point =)

    This has to do with the entry from the 11th and your Nerdfighter spotlight by John of the nerdfighters/vlogbrothers. I am glad that the nerdfighters have spotlighted you and hopefully this will really help your project reach more people. John and you have both discussed how the major organisations, while amazing, create this barrier between us and those we are trying to help. I too believe that creating this barrier brings down the quality of aid we send them because as time progresses we no longer see a need to donate to these charities because they depict these people as objects or as sub-human and not able to help themselves.

    I know you did not intend to open up to donations as you are not able to do the good for those you are intending to help as much as an NGO can or other organisation could. However as John said in his spotlight on your project, this is about us and what you are doing is showing us (those who do not always see the true life of the impoverished in third-world nations) who these people are and are connecting us to these people. By forging this connection that we previously did not have you are helping to get the word out to more people that it is our duty and that we can do something rater than just ignore the cause using the excuse that “we can’t help them all so why do anything” or “if they weren’t lazy they could help themselves.” But through your actions and videos you are helping reeducate people that this is about us and we can help, in turn helping the impoverished abroad.

    I currently don’t have much spare money – just a few bucks – and until the video where you used your 360 money to buy school supplies, I wouldn’t have even thought about sending any (what good could a few bucks do) but now I will be trying to talk to some of my teachers get a few places for classmates to donate. Depending on the amount we can get pulled in we will try to send about half to you, the other half will go to an NGO that a vote is placed on.

    I would like to thank you for providing an eye-opener for many through this uncultured project and I wish you the best of luck with the remainder of time in Bangladesh. If you keep extending your trip I may be able to meet up and try my best to help – but I doubt your plans are to stay there for another 15 months (when I get out of school) but I can always find another cause to support, along side this one.

    -Chunk

  4. 4 Charlie "Chunk" Nelson

    Hey Shawn,

    I am glad to here that you didn’t get caught up in any of the events caused by the riots. I agree with the extremist views in religion, not solely Islam, can not be removed until the society around them has changed into a more self sufficient economy. The problem is, like you said in a previous blog entry, that the first world countries that we live in make this impossible to them because we refuse to sacrifice a small amount of our money to remove these trade restrictions that harm these nations.

    Now that I feel I have at least responded to this blog entry on to my next point =)

    This has to do with the entry from the 11th and your Nerdfighter spotlight by John of the nerdfighters/vlogbrothers. I am glad that the nerdfighters have spotlighted you and hopefully this will really help your project reach more people. John and you have both discussed how the major organisations, while amazing, create this barrier between us and those we are trying to help. I too believe that creating this barrier brings down the quality of aid we send them because as time progresses we no longer see a need to donate to these charities because they depict these people as objects or as sub-human and not able to help themselves.

    I know you did not intend to open up to donations as you are not able to do the good for those you are intending to help as much as an NGO can or other organisation could. However as John said in his spotlight on your project, this is about us and what you are doing is showing us (those who do not always see the true life of the impoverished in third-world nations) who these people are and are connecting us to these people. By forging this connection that we previously did not have you are helping to get the word out to more people that it is our duty and that we can do something rater than just ignore the cause using the excuse that “we can’t help them all so why do anything” or “if they weren’t lazy they could help themselves.” But through your actions and videos you are helping reeducate people that this is about us and we can help, in turn helping the impoverished abroad.

    I currently don’t have much spare money – just a few bucks – and until the video where you used your 360 money to buy school supplies, I wouldn’t have even thought about sending any (what good could a few bucks do) but now I will be trying to talk to some of my teachers get a few places for classmates to donate. Depending on the amount we can get pulled in we will try to send about half to you, the other half will go to an NGO that a vote is placed on.

    I would like to thank you for providing an eye-opener for many through this uncultured project and I wish you the best of luck with the remainder of time in Bangladesh. If you keep extending your trip I may be able to meet up and try my best to help – but I doubt your plans are to stay there for another 15 months (when I get out of school) but I can always find another cause to support, along side this one.

    -Chunk

  5. 5 Shawn

    Hey Chunk,

    I would gladly forfeit my half to a charity like Nari Jibon. Nari Jibon is a 501(c) non-profit in the USA but still needs some fund raising to obtain its “International NGO” status here in Bangladesh. They do amazing work and could use your help. If you still want to send me money – than I sincerely hope you consider sending the other half to Nari Jibon USA.

    And yeah, I was supposed to leave a while ago – but this project keeps expanding. Now that I am accepting donations – this project will probably keep me in Bangladesh for several more months. I’m not sure about 15 more months though. But whatever the case, hopefully our paths will cross in the future 🙂

    – Shawn

  6. 6 Shawn

    Hey Chunk,

    I would gladly forfeit my half to a charity like Nari Jibon. Nari Jibon is a 501(c) non-profit in the USA but still needs some fund raising to obtain its “International NGO” status here in Bangladesh. They do amazing work and could use your help. If you still want to send me money – than I sincerely hope you consider sending the other half to Nari Jibon USA.

    And yeah, I was supposed to leave a while ago – but this project keeps expanding. Now that I am accepting donations – this project will probably keep me in Bangladesh for several more months. I’m not sure about 15 more months though. But whatever the case, hopefully our paths will cross in the future 🙂

    – Shawn

  7. 7 Shawn

    Hey Chunk,

    I would gladly forfeit my half to a charity like Nari Jibon. Nari Jibon is a 501(c) non-profit in the USA but still needs some fund raising to obtain its “International NGO” status here in Bangladesh. They do amazing work and could use your help. If you still want to send me money – than I sincerely hope you consider sending the other half to Nari Jibon USA.

    And yeah, I was supposed to leave a while ago – but this project keeps expanding. Now that I am accepting donations – this project will probably keep me in Bangladesh for several more months. I’m not sure about 15 more months though. But whatever the case, hopefully our paths will cross in the future 🙂

    – Shawn

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