Minority repression has no ties to religion: Mozena
Published: 2013-08-22 22:21:33.0 BdST Updated: 2013-08-22 22:21:52.0 BdST
Violence against the religious minorities in Bangladesh is “seldom, if ever, about religion,” the US Ambassador Dan Mozena has said.
Instead, he said on Thursday, those were about the pursuit of power and financial gains of the “cheap politicians and greedy land grabbers” who he said created and manipulated “friction in the guise of religion to their own benefit”.
“These cheap politicians and greedy land grabbers are a threat to the nation”.
Mozena was speaking at an inter-faith dialogue on religion for peace and tolerance.
“(The building) is now known around the world as a symbol of greed, corruption, and land grabbing from minorities”.
He called upon all including the government to reject “these cheap politicians and land grabbers” who he said “seek to use religion to advance their self-serving agendas to acquire power and wealth”.
Leaders of different religions including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity, representatives of the Vatican embassy in Dhaka, academicians and students attended the dialogue.
The Ambassador recalled the destruction of Buddhist temples and monasteries in Ramu last September and attacks in February on Hindus in Noakhali, Comilla, Barisal, Satkhira, Gaibandha, Chapainawabganj and other places.
“Such attacks are not in character with the spirit of Bangladesh…a spirit of tolerance, moderation, acceptance…a spirit that reflects the Bangladeshi tradition of living in peace and harmony”.
He said he knew of no nation like Bangladesh where the President hosts grand receptions to commemorate the great festivals of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity.
Religious diversity was “truly the beauty and magic” of Bangladesh, he said, where attacks on religious minorities were “most jarring and disturbing”.
The American envoy also cited his visits to different parts of the country with his wife and said their impression was that different religions lived “side by side in harmony for hundreds of years”.
“Everywhere we go, we see that Bangladeshis of whatever religion have the same aspirations.
“They want simply to build better lives for themselves and their families”.
Ambassador Mozena also called upon all religious leaders “to use your influence, your power of persuasion to foster and build the peace and harmony that all Bangladeshis seek”.
Speaking at the dialogue, all religious leaders said there was no clash among religions if anyone properly followed the ideals.
Charge d’Affaires of Holy See of Vatican Embassy Massimo Catterin said practising religious increases respect and peace of human beings.
“The problem is our perception of religions and the way of interpreting religions”.
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