Sunday, August 29, 2010

BEC condemns hate crimes against Bangladeshi Americans and other religious minorities

Bangladesh Expatriates Council and its sister organization NRB Council, USA are very concerned about the recent hate crimes in the USA. Last week, a Bangladeshi American taxi cab driver was brutally attacked with a knife from behind by a white American cab rider. We condemn such hate crimes and are glad to learn that the attacker who has been denied bail, will be tried on several counts.

We urge the immigrant community to be extra vigilant and not to engage in any hot debate concerning the proposed mosque in NY that could only bring the worst in many bigots and xenophobes.

We pray for the safety of all our people. Ramadan Mubarak.
The Board of Directors, BEC
Here below is the report from a newspaper:

Hate Crime in New York - cabbie stabbed
As I feared, Islamophobia has its latest victim in a hate crime that saw a Muslim cab driver in New York city severely stabbed several times by a White American. The Republican leaders and right wing conservative talk show hosts cannot escape from being held responsible for spreading hate crime against Muslims. Such propaganda and hatemongering is sure to bring the worst from bigots and chauvinists.

Here is the report from the USA Today:
NEW YORK — A Manhattan cabbie who was stabbed Tuesday night by a Putnam County man questioned Wednesday whether the attack stemmed from the contentious debate over creating a mosque near ground zero.

Ahmed H. Sharif, 43, of Queens, was stabbed several times by Michael Enright, 21, of Southeast, N.Y., after Enright had asked Sharif if he was Muslim and the cabbie responded that he was, a police spokesman said.

When officers responded to the scene around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sharif was outside the vehicle, suffering from stab wounds, after attempting to lock Enright inside the cab, a police spokesman said. Enright escaped but was captured nearby by police.

The charges against Enright include attempted murder as a hate crime.

In a statement Wednesday the from New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Sharif warned his fellow cabbies.

"Right now the public sentiment is very serious" because of the ground zero mosque debate, he said. "All drivers should be more careful."

Sharif, who was treated at Bellevue Hospital for stab wounds to his arms, throat and face, said the incident made him sad.

"I have been here more than 25 years. I have been driving a taxi more than 15 years. All my four kids were born here. I never feel this hopeless and insecure before," he said.

It was Sharif's first fare of his shift.

Enright, a 2007 graduate of Brewster High School and an aspiring filmmaker, recently returned from Afghanistan, where he filmed Marines as part of a project for the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where he is a student. In Afghanistan, he was embedded with a Marines Corps crew that included his fellow Brewster High graduate, Cpl. Alex Eckner.

Enright was highly intoxicated when he hailed the cab, the police spokesman said. Once inside the cab, Enright asked Sharif whether Sharif was Muslim. When Sharif responded yes, Enright stabbed him several times with some type of utility knife.

According to the statement from the Taxi Workers Alliance, Enright's conversation with Sharif started out friendly, with Enright asking the cabbie where he was from, how long he had been in America, if he was Muslim and if he was observing Ramadan.

Enright then went silent before suddenly cursing and screaming, the statement said.

He then shouted "'Assalamu Alaikum,' common among Muslims as a wish for peace, before pulling out the knife and slashing Sharif across the neck and stabbing several more times as Sharif tried to knock it out of Enright's hands, the alliance said.

Enright was charged with attempted second-degree murder as a hate crime, first-degree assault, felonies, aggravated harassment and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, misdemeanors. He is awaiting arraignment.

Enright also worked with Intersections International, a Manhattan-based, multifaith and multicultural effort that seeks to promote justice and peace. Messages left with the School of Visual Arts and Intersections International were not immediately returned.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bangladesh Expats to Become Voters

For last few years, Bangladesh Expatriates Council and its sister organization NRB Council, USA have worked hard lobbying lawmakers in Bangladesh to allow the expatriate community that live in the USA to register as voters in Bangladesh. We are glad to report that the Bangladesh Cabinet has approved a draft okaying our long standing demand. You can read the information below from the New Age.

Expats to become voters
Cabinet okays draft law
Staff Correspondent

The cabinet on Monday approved a draft of the Electoral Rolls (Amendment) Bill, 2010 to allow non-resident Bangladeshis to register as voters, fulfilling the expatriates’ long-standing demand.
The expatriate Bangladeshis, as per the draft, would be able to exercise their right to vote in all elections in the country after its enactment.
The law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry proposed the amendment at the weekly cabinet meeting presided over by the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina.
‘The cabinet has approved the amendment to the electoral rolls law to allow the expatriates to register as voters at the places of their origin without considering whether or not they have movable or immovable assets there,’ the prime minister’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad told reporters after the meeting.
The present electoral rolls ordinance has no provision for enrolling non-resident Bangladeshis as voters as the ordinance says people to be registered as voters should be residents in an electoral area during registration.
The Election Commission in July sent the final draft of amendments to the law ministry proposing that the Bangladeshis having dual citizenship could be registered as voters.
‘Bangladeshis who hold dual citizenship in line with the Bangladesh Citizenship (Temporary Provisions) Order 1972 will be registered as voters after the amendment is incorporated into the electoral rolls ordinance,’ election commissioner Muhammed Sohul Hussain told reporters early July after a meeting on the proposed draft.
The draft said people having wealth or dwelling in more than one constituency could register as voters for any of the constituencies as they would wish.
People who have become citizens of other countries after renouncing their Bangladeshi citizenship would not be included in the electoral roll, according to the draft.
The proposed amendment says Bangladeshis living abroad temporarily would be considered as voters of the constituency they come from.
Bangladesh missions abroad would collect voter application forms for dual citizenship holders and send them to the Election Commission after preparing a district-wise primary list, said EC officials. They said that the commission would send the application forms to the district registration officers for scrutiny.