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Bangladesh: Bloggers demand release of detained cartoonist

Zafa Noor writes in E-Bangladesh:

“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).”

free arif

arifur rahman
(photo credit: the Daily Star)

Arifur Rahman is just twenty three years old, who just a month before his arrest, received an award from the government for his cartoon against corruption. The editor of the Daily Prothom Alo apologized for publishing the cartoon but It is interesting to see that the political Islam has been keeping this issue alive and demanding ban of the progressive newspaper Prothom Alo. They have also targeted another popular magazine of Prothom Alo group called Saptahik2000, which had to take their Eid issue from the shelves as the Government banned it for publishing some words of a memoir of an exiled writer Daud Haider. The third world view and E-Bangladesh have more backgrounds on this.

The Bangladeshi bloggers are calling for an international campaign to free Arifur Rahman who was detained for his harmless statirical cartoon published in Alpin, the satirical supplement of the Bangla Daily Prothom Alo. It must be noted that Bangladeshi media are surprisingly silent about Arifur Rahman's release.

* Shourav created the splendid banner above and called for support. (Anybody can use it under creative commons)

Other bloggers chimed in:

* Mash at “Or how I learned to stop worrying” calls him the Bangladesh cartoonist hero.

* Keep me honest

* Addafication

* Dhaka Shohor

* Voice of Bangladeshi Bloggers

- In the Middle of Nowhere who also asks to free Nurul Islam, the Bangladeshi aid worker (BRAC) kidnapped in Afghanistan by the Talibans.

- Serious Golmal

- Unheard Voices

- Tacit

- And some more bloggers in Bangla blogging platforms “Bandh Bhanger Awaaj” and “Sachalayatan

Many international organizations demanded the release of Arifur Rahman:

- Reporters without border (RSF) – Cartoonist arrested over harmless play on name Mohammed. Excerpts:

“The play on words had no intention of attacking the Prophet,” Reporters Without Borders said “It was a joke about a cultural custom. The government should not yield to pressure from extremist leaders who are trying to politicize the case. Rahman should not be made a scapegoat. He must be freed.”

- International Press Institute (IPI) protests jailing of Cartoonist in Bangladesh and suspension of publication of satirical weekly. Excerpts:

IPI would like to remind Your Excellency that the state of emergency imposed in January after the cancellation of the general election is not an excuse to restrict press freedom. With a general election planned for the end of 2008, it is vital that the country’s citizens have access to information and that the media is free to report facts and express opinions.

Please show your support for Arifur Rahman by putting the badge on your blog.

Join the facebook group to get the updates of this campaign.

5 comments

  • […] Story] While we’re looking at commentary on hot-button issues: Global Voices rounds up criticisms from Bangladeshi bloggers over the case of “Muhammed cat” […]

  • Unknown

    These Mullas R terrorists they their selfs have no transprancy they their selfs have been almost involved in activities with the Taliban in the Mid-90s and Late 80s to the point they alomist got on of the major political parties involved, BNP, until the goverenment intervented!

    Not only this But Mullas also associated their selfs with Jammat-E-Islam which did not stop hurting the country until the mid-90s. And finaly gave a 2 faced apology!

    I would be happy of these Mullas kick the crap out of Jammat-E-Islam instead!

    I demand full release of this Cartoonist!

    I have got relative in Bangladesh and one very wealthy and clever. He knows what these mullas have done 4 years! And does not like them. And sometime soon this information will become very common knowledge to the poorest! What will come out after that will be the best day!- When these Rogue mullas get the axe!

    ———————————————————
    Not only this the other thing that makes this case so ridiculous and dicusting is that these Mullas have supported Jammat-E-Islam that is responsible for the support, Intelligence and the supply of man power during the liberation war to the army that has commited atrocities against Bangladeshies that were unarmed Civilains! Women, children, Young Men & finaly but not the least the Educated ie researchers, Technicains.

    Even b 4 the liberation movement. The Pakistani people tired to do many bad things to us to try to make us look insignificant!

    * 1965- The Murder of 300 Commandos in Chitagong.

    These Commandos were serving under the regiment of East Bengal Rifles at the time. And were stationed at Lahore. We all know what happened at that time us, Bengalis just stopped pakistan 4om being invaded!

    The Pakistanies have commited many Discriminating crimes against us!
    ———————————————————

  • […] Bangladesh: Bloggers demand release of detained cartoonist 23-åring arrestert. (tags: ytringsfrihet bangladesh) […]

  • THESE MULLAHS ARE PART OF ALQUEDA AND THEY ARE BENT ON DESTROYING HUMAN CIVILIZATIONS IN THE NAME OF A RELIGION. THEY SAY THEY ARE SAVING THE RELIGION BUT THEY ARE DESTROYING THE NATIONS. YOU SEE WHAT THESE MULLAHS HAVE DONE IN PAKISTAN, BANGLADESH AND OTHER MUSLIM COUNTRIES AND THESE SAME MULLAHS ARE TRYING TO DESTROY INDIA AS WELL. THESE MULLAHS ARE ALL FOR DESTROYING THE CIVILIZATIIONS. IN PAKISTAN THESE MULLAHS ARE LINKED UP WITH THE ARMY AND PAKISTAN ISI AND THEY HAVE ALMOST RUINED PAKISTAN. IN PAKISTAN THERE IS NO CIVIL SOCEITY. PEOPLE’S VOICES HAVE BEEN SILENCED THROUGH GUNS. THESE MULLAHS WILL TAKE THE COUNTRIES BACKWARD IN TO PRE-HISTORIC AGES.

  • george,
    your rant about mullahs are ill placed here, have you lately observed the evangelization of american politics how the zionist brand of christian mullahs in the likes of pat robertson annoints rudyard juliani for his pledge in nuking iran, a country that has never attacked another soverign nation unlike the states which being a democracy itself has nakedly attacked and destroyed two countries in recent history. your crocodile tears have no place in this forum, rather you should worry about the fundamentalization of so called liberal societies in europe where the pope continually lashes out venomous diatribes against islam and islamization of europe when islam had been a permanent landscape of europe for over a 1000 years. i would try to find the civil society in any western country, if i were you, who have raised a finger against the illegal detention, internment and torture of thousands of people based on race and religion in the post 911 paranoia. the worst kind of atrocities perpetrated by the colonials, and their imperial ambitions leading up to the two world wars were not the creation of any muslims neither were the worst form of slavery. it was christianity in its worst and a rejection of it that that created racist ideologies which still dictates the lives of the powerless through a cycle of militarism, cultural determinism and recycled information.

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