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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.

Christmas Episode Now on YouTube

What does Christmas, Islam, America, and Bangladesh have in common? I talk about these topics and more in this episode. This is mostly just a blog where I talk about what it’s like spending Christmas for the first time in my life away from my parents. I also give thanks to people who have helped spread the word about the Uncultured Project.

I also make reference to America’s help in saving lives after Cyclone Sidr. Normally, when you hear about American troops in the news – it’s in the context of the Iraq, Afghanistan, and the War on Terror. You probably didn’t know that some of the most amazing work done by American forces is in the area of disaster relief. I make reference to operation Sea Angel II in this video. You can see the work of the United States Marine Corps in this video:

Yet Another Reason to be Hopeful

A Muslim comes to the aid of a Jewish person being beaten by Anti-Semites in New York City. Turns out all it takes to piss off an Anti-Semite is to wish them “Happy Hanukkah”.

You can read the story here on CNN. This was also posted by Rezwan in his blog The Third World View as well as on a popular Jewish blog.

Oh, and what’s the background of this person who came to help? He’s a 20-something student of Bangladeshi ancestry. 🙂

South Bend to South Asia

  • Myth #1: Extreme poverty has always existed in human history and will always exist.
  • Myth #2: Anyone claiming global poverty can be eliminated is asking for “communist” or “socialist”-style massive economic redistribution.
  • Myth #3: People living in Muslim-countries hate America.

Hopefully this new episode I uploaded to YouTube will provide some hope that these beliefs are just myths. At the very least, watching the video you can find out what happens when you show off an American flag near a Mosque while the call to prayer is being broadcast (Spoiler alert: I don’t get shot).

You can watch it here: