Bangladesh: Islamist parties demand removal of supreme court sculpture
Islamic parties have threatened to go on a two-citywide protest on February 24 if the sculpture is not brought down. Photograph: (AFP)
Right-wing conservative party Hefazat-e-Islam has warned of waging demonstrations on February 24 in Dhaka and Chittagong unless the Bangladesh government removes a sculpture that resembles a Greek goddess from the precincts of the supreme court.
Hefazat-e-Islam and other Islamist political parties such as Islami Oikya Jote said the sculpture of Lady Justice carrying the scale in front of the supreme court resembles the Greek deity Themis and contravenes the spirit, culture and constitution of Bangladesh.
"This [sculpture] has been cladded in a sari and presented in a way that gives into vulgarity. We do not think we have to borrow civilisation of other country and practice that which is tantamount to shirk [sin of practising polytheism]," Mufti Foyzullah, joint general secretary of Hefazat-E-Islam, a rightwing Muslim conservative party told WION.
More importantly, Foyzullah continued: "This has been installed in front of the national Idgah where the Muslim prayer congregations take place during two Eid."
Legal practitioners, however, see the installation as a symbol of justice. "Our culture in the delta is a mixture of many traditions and streams and this statue personifies a universal aspiration towards justice," retorted Sara Hossain, a prominent supreme court lawyer.
The latest demand from Hefazat comes at a time when ultra conservatism has gripped the country.
Hefazat came to popularity through a 2013 protest and subsequent shootout by security forces at the Shapla Square in Dhaka.
The Chittagong-based pressure group came to prominence during the protests as they demanded enactment of blasphemy law in the country. They had penned a 13-point demand, including ban on installation of sculptures in the city, mandatory Islamic education in schools, among others.