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Brutal murder of Bangladeshi monk - letter form Buddhist Global Relief to Bangladesh

The Buddhist Channel, May 20, 2016

The Chair of Buddhist Global Relief, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, has written to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh in regard to the brutal murder on May 14th of an elderly Buddhist monk. This is the text of his letter:

Dear Madam,

As a senior American Buddhist monk and founder of a global relief organization with several projects in Bangladesh, I write to you with deep concern about the security of religious minorities in your country. Like so many people around the world, I was shocked to read of the brutal murder of a Buddhist monk just 340 km from Dhaka, which took place on May 14th.

I also learned that this was not an isolated incident. Other people of minority religions - Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, and even non-Sunni Muslims - have been brutally killed in Bangladesh over the past year. This is appalling and an affront to the inherent rights of people to peacefully practice the religion of their choice.

It is necessary that the government of Bangladesh take effective action to prevent this scourge from spreading. I suggest four measures:

(1) A relentless investigation must be made to find the killers of the venerable monk and bring them to justice. The trial must be fair and transparent, to prevent innocent people from being charged with a crime they did not commit in order to give the impression action has been taken.

(2) Places of worship of minority religions must be given police protection, especially in areas at risk of attack by Islamist militants. The monk had received death threats before the murder and he should have been provided with protection.

(3) The Islamist groups that advocate violence against other religions and spread intolerance must be opposed and suppressed.

(4) To improve people’s ways of thinking, they must be educated about the importance of religious tolerance and the value of religious harmony for national development. Education should begin in the schools, with young children. Only when people respect each other can they flourish together.

I sincerely hope you will act upon these suggestions, giving immediate priority to the first two in order to prevent repetitions of the murder that occurred a few days ago.

Thank you very much for your attention to this letter.

Sincerely yours,
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

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