International Shahbag: Students protest Bangladeshi leaders
Marcus Clem | copy editor
Five Bangladeshi students gathered outside the Kelce School of Business on Monday, Feb. 11, to protest their government in what they say is an act of solidarity with an international uprising.
Abdullah Fahad, graduate student in business, says that Qader Mollah, one of seven leaders of the Islamist political party and paramilitary group Jamaat-e-Islami, was sentenced to life in prison recently in Bangladesh.
Fahad and the other Bangladeshis who participated in the protest, Sayeed Hossain, Omiya Kabir, Raiyan Hasin and Fatema Tuz Zohor Akhi say they believe that Mollah should be executed for his crimes.
Fahad says that Mollah and his comrades in Jamaat-e-Islami are responsible for the deaths of more than 3 million Bangladeshis, who were killed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War against Pakistan.
“My personal motivation is very strong because my father was a freedom fighter in 1971,” he said.
The small protest at Kelce is the Pittsburg Bangladeshis’ version of much larger protests occurring at universities and other public places throughout the United States; including regional institutions like Kansas State University and the University of Arkansas. The only reason that this event was small, Fahad says, is because there are only five Bangladeshi students at Pittsburg State.
“This movement is not based on any party or any faith, and there is no leader who is leading it. This is just the spirit of youth,” Fahad said.
The movement was founded on the simple goal of seeing Mollah and the other six leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami hanged for their crimes. Opponents are associating the movement with violence on the part of supporters in Bangladesh, according to Al Jazeera.
Fahad’s cause is known as Shahbag, named after the district of the Bangladeshi capitol, Dhaka, where the protests first began before spreading internationally through Bangladeshi expatriate communities.