One Arifur Rahman and his fight against corruption

October 1, 2007
By

Banner: Sourov.

[Zafa Noor, USA.]

It has been two weeks since Arifur Rahman’s cartoon “Naam” was published which prompted the Bangladesh police to take him to jail and lock him up without pressing any formal charges or allowing him any legal representation in his defense. Arif was picked up from his Uttara residence under Section 54 of Code of Criminal Procedure for drawing the very harmless cartoon that portrayed a widely used naming convention for Bangali Muslim men. The cartoon did not insult the prophet in any way, nor was it Arif’s intention, because his own first name is Mohammed (newspaper reports addressed him as Md. Arifur Rahman).

This young (early 20s) talented cartoonist has earned accolades for targeting corruption with his creative genius. Only a month before his arrest he was awarded with a crest and Taka 10,000 cash in a cartoon contest against corruption arranged by Daily Star, attended by ACC chief Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury among others.

Arif

17 Responses to One Arifur Rahman and his fight against corruption

  1. October 1, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Thank you for posting this. Arif looks so young!

    As you pointed out the Daily Star referred to him as “Mohammad Arifur Rahman.” Now wouldn’t it be ironic if his name actually was “Arifur Rahman” and the Daily Star added the word “Mohammad” to the front as a lot of Bangladeshis often do. After all, that was the very practice his cartoon was satiring.

    His arrest was and remains a travesty. He must be freed now.

  2. Salam Dhaka
    October 1, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    This should speak volumes to the power that organizations like Hizb ut-Tahrir now plays.

  3. October 2, 2007 at 12:46 am

    I actually liked the Facebook group idea on this issue. In my opinion, Arifur Rahman will have to be freed because you cannot put someone in jail for a bogus reason for a long period.

  4. Echo
    October 2, 2007 at 3:36 am

    Please consider the point that given how fanatical many of our people are (we have seen time and again how BNP and AL have contributed to the growth of religious militancy and directly/indirectly supported the rise of political Islamist parties), perhaps Arfiur Rahman’s arrest was merely for his “own protection.” Please note that our respected Chief Advisor mentioned something to this effect in his NY talk. The rise of Islamist groups is not caused by the current reformist govt (if anything, the current government has prevented BD from becoming Afghanistan) but because of the constant pandering by BOTH BNP and AL. Want elaboration?

  5. Tanoy
    October 2, 2007 at 3:48 am

    Thanks Zafa for this wonderful piece. My moral support is with Arif always.

  6. Tanoy
    October 2, 2007 at 3:58 am

    Echo, #4

    Perhaps Arfiur Rahman

  7. October 2, 2007 at 4:00 am

    Echo, if he was arrested for his “own protection,” he would have been put into protective custody. He was not. He was railroaded into jail without any representation. That does not at all sound like protective custody. He was arrested under Section 54.

    What the CA said in NY was after the fact damage control and it flies in the face of all evidence to the contrary. Frankly Fakhruddin sounded like a fool for saying it.

    To add fuel to the fire, Arif was accused by Mainul Hosein of being part of a conspiracy. If the government had arrested him for “his own protection” then why would the government try to fuel the firestorm?

    The government has put Arif in further danger by making hay out of this cartoon. If Arif is released, and I hope he will be, if he is at risk the government will have had a fairly large hand in creating that situation.

    As for pandering to Islamist groups, this military government showed the whole world what it means to pander. And boy did it pander. Its pathetic response to the cartoon and subsequent fueling of the controversy (thanks to Mainul) has strengthened the Islamists — there can simply be no doubt about that.

    Finally, please note that the KGB was famous for arresting people for their “own protection.”

  8. October 2, 2007 at 8:47 am

    It seems the Islami political parties are making an issue out of this for their own interest. Hizb ut-Tahrir UK had recently held a protest in front of Bangladesh Embassy in London. Look at their demands:

    1. We demand the arrests of Mahfuz Anam (Publisher of Daily Protom Alo and Weekly 2000), Motiur Rahman (Editor of Protom Alo), and Golam Murtaza (Editor of Weekly 2000).
    2. We demand the suspension of the licenses of the two publications immediately.
    3. We demand the re-establishment of the Sharia

  9. Sonali_danar_chile
    October 2, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Arresting Mohammad Arifur Rahman is influenced by Jamaat in CTG, it’s clear. CTG is creating a level playing field for Pakistan and Jamaat, to give USA a chance to make more profitable business, by destroying our freedom and nationality.

  10. Muhamad
    October 2, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Zafa apa, once again, an interesting article.

    I recall, when Tasneem bhai was arrested, I tried to post on one of the Bangladeshi group blogs the fact that for every Tasneem arrested a thousand more Tasneems will be born. For some reason, I didn’t see that blog allow my post.

    I will repeat to whomever is reading this. For every Arifur and for every Tasneem, for every creative and artistic person that you arrest, silence, murder, you’ll see a thousand more individuals taking up the struggle.

    Guns are limited by the bullets, but the mind with its imagination has no limitations.

    Have a hard look at the face of Arifur. Do you really think you can stifle his satirizing mind?

  11. Gorurgari
    October 2, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Here is an example of our deranged politics:

    Today’s Daily Star reports that the Khatib of Baitul Mukarram, Maulana Abu Kalam Azad another accused razakar were awarded the Gandhi Prize for 2007 along with 18 others by a an outfit called Mahatma Gandhi Research Council at a function presided over by a former Chief Advisor Habibur Rahman. No reason was given as to why these 20 luminaries were deserving of the award. Habibur Rahman made the usual platitudinal comments about Gandhiji. An insult to the memory of one of the most gentle and selfless man who lived in recent years.

    http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=6469

    Free Arifur Rahman immediately.

  12. October 3, 2007 at 5:20 am

    Well, i think they awarded this to all the key religious leaders of all religions and also other figures in media… this was done to relax at least the religious tension in Bangladesh…

  13. Iconus.Clustus
    October 3, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Thanks Muhammad for an inspiring post.

    Regarding Hizb ut-Tahrir — as we all know, the fund are flowing in from UK… these were the people leading the resistance to the Danish Cartoon controversy.

    People — let ‘s not confuse Jamaat and HuT. They are very different, though they may be united in their demand for the establishment of Sharia. If you visit http://www.khalafat.org you will notice that these people (HuT) are almost leftist in their zealous anti-West and anti-Capitalistic and anti-Emperialistic stance — something only the progressives of the world do — with their apparent progressive ideas, they have infiltrated private universities and have the attention of many a young and vibrant minds. Unlike HuT, Jamaat has never been able to establish itself as a progressive force — though the effort is there. with Jamaat providing the umbrella support, other Islamicists are mushrooming all over the place — but with governmental patronage of the past and present and possibly the future, these mushrooms will grow into mohirooes and consume all… I’m scared.

    Then again, something in this works as an inspiration. Something tells me keep on working to expose these people or to make them ineffective at least on the political front. This is why I think the demand for banning religion-based parties from elections is a timely one (though I am certain that nothing would come of it… CEC’s speech in Chittagong made it amply clear).

  14. October 3, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Gorurgari, how right you are…Gandhi once, more or less, said that he belonged to all religions. These hypocrite mullahs are not worthy of kissing Gandhi’s feet, let alone receive an award. Where is the evidence for their work on interfaith harmony?

    Don’t be scared Iconus. We must make it our job to challenge political and religious inconsistencies. It’s when we do this that we truly liberate ourselves.

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