The attack on Dr Zafar Iqbal on March 3, only proves that religiously motivated extremism of the violent type, whether manifested in individual or group actions, continues to find its practitioners in society. And we are at a loss to determine how best to combat them effectively. The scourge is not a new phenomenon, nor unique to our country, but it has gained in salience in recent times.
And yet the approach of the government has demonstrated exactly that. The home ministry's statement to the media stated that the purpose of the minister's recent visit to Burma was to attend a meeting on cooperation between Bangladesh and Myanmar on border and security matters. And therefore one would not be wrong to say that the government has so far treated the Rohingya issue as a border and normal law enforcement matter.
The very fact that Myanmar has termed the recent militant attack on its security forces as being the work of “extremist Bengali insurgents” underlines the very crux of the problem. It restates their position on the Rohingyas, their unwillingness to accept the ethnic minority for what they are. Rohingyas, who happen to be Muslims, are as Bengali as Americans are English. And this attitude of rejecting one of its own has underpinned Myanmar's policy regarding the Rohingyas.
It was beyond the imagination, even of the many diehard 'Trumpians' who, reportedly, were invoking a miracle for a Trump win. Donald Trump has proved the pundits wrong. He won by a big margin on electoral votes while most pollsters had given it to his opponent and many outside the US were hoping for a Clinton victory. For him, the road to 270 was tortuous with many permutations and combinations and lots of 'ifs' and 'buts'. He belied all statistics to get to it. It is remarkable too that he has pulled it off despite the fact that several top ranking Republicans had deserted him and several among them did not even vote for him.