The interim government has just announced the National Women Development Policy 2008 and intends to enact the necessary laws to ensure the women’s equal rights to property. This is a continuation of previous two development policies designed for ensuring gender equality. Keeping up with the previous two policy announcements of 1997 and 2002, this new set of policy announcement will definitely continue our nations journey towards gender equality. The authorities responsible for drafting this policy did a very commendable job, they deserve to be congratulated.

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However as expected, a small but very powerful quarted did not waste any time to start their Jihand against this move. These are the religio-political outfits of Bangladesh. Daily Sangram and Daily Inqilab are sworn enemy to each other. While Sangram is Jamaat’s mouth piece, ex hard core rightist daily Inqilab, under Moulanan Mannan’s shrewd son, Bahauddin, recently became the staunchest supporter of center left political party Awami League. But they all joined their voices together against women’s equal rights of property. This, this, this and this are some examples. It is being reported that some obscurantist organisations have come together under the banner of ‘Islami Uttaradhikar Ain Shanrakkhan Andolan’ to protest and resist the government’s attempts to promote gender equality. A few hundred obscurantists on Friday staged demonstrations in front of the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque to condemn what it termed the ‘western idea of gender equality.’ The organisations that joined the protest rally include the Islami Shashantantra Andolan, Hizbut Tahrir Bangladesh, Islami Chatra Andolan and Khelafat Majlish. The activists have also warned the government of ‘dire consequences’, if it proceeds with its plans.

These proponents of stone age completely failed to understand the basic premises of religion Islam. 1500 years ago when prophet and Quran clearly articulated  the issues of womens’ rights of decision making, respect and property, women had no place in Europe, the then hub of civilization. Prophet Muhammad’s direction of property rights for women was an outrageous, unprecedented and huge forward looking step. The main teaching of Quran here is not exactly what portion of wealth one gets, the teaching here is gender equality. We need to keep up that revolution of Muhammad(PBUH)  and fulfill our commitment of gender equalty. Prophet started the reolution, we must keep it going.

And this is an issue we really NEED to fight and win. I know this issue is not as politically profitable venture as war crime issue is, but our secular progressive world must engage and fight the fight. This is one fight we can not afford to loose. If the stone age proponents win this round, they will sure come after other privileges of 21st century life we are used to.

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