Re: Frustration with US Visa
This kind of advice doesn�t just �sound� sacrilegious it is sacrilegious!
A synopsis of Bangladeshi-Americans for Bangladeshis in Bangladesh:
Bangladeshi people in the US (or Bangladeshi-Americans as they like to call themselves) are very good at giving Bd residents advice about how to seek alternate means. Just don�t try taking a share of their pie and all is well.
The political climate towards Bd is not going to change if Bangladeshis sit on their behinds and wait for Bd to become a non-terror risk country by magic. Bangladeshis both at home and in the US need to do something about it. They need to work hard to change Bd�s image. An image that is on the most part false and fueled strongly by Indian twists to news stories on the condition of Bangladesh. [See example of article below]. With such articles in circulation, the visa/immigration situation for Bangladeshis wanting to study, work or live in the U.S. will stay difficult, unless we unite to do something about it, to CHANGE these circumstances, to refute any exaggerations and media maliciousness. Telling Bangladeshis to seek their future in other countries will not change the current situation; neither will it change the political climate in Washington. Telling ourselves that we can not, need not do anything or have not the power to try to change the political relationship between America and Bangladesh is a mistake and a grave one.
Bangladeshi- Americans have all the time in the world to organize their big parties, picnics and their massive get-togethers. They have Bd-US newspapers, magazines, online discussions groups, newsletters and they even have political alliances. The elite and the educated here mingle with the hi-fi politicians of our country. They discuss all kinds of strategies for their PERSONAL benefit only. How to make their lives cushier, how get gold medals around their necks from Ms. Khaleda and Ms. Hasina seem to be their only agendas. Very little do they do if any to help or to assist Bangladeshis wanting to leave Bangladesh and study, work or live in the US. Most of the educated elite here (the professors and the engineers and the doctors) treat the Bangladeshi DV immigrants (many of whom pursue blue-collar employment) like second class citizens. They talk of them in their parties like they are a filthy stench.
Bangladeshi � Americans are educated, they are smart, they are intelligent, they have a �higher� sense of morality and even though Bangladeshis are mostly Muslim they did not fail to bring their cast system from Bd to the US. If you are in Bd and they are in earth�s paradise (a.k.a. USA) then sorry but you should try alternate means. That�s their attitude. And it has got to CHANGE.
Until and unless we Bangladeshis in the US start to look in the mirror and make a change, work harder and co-operate and collaborate with Bangladeshis in Bd, until we identify our priorities and our responsibilities towards our fellow country men, it will continue to stay tough for Bangladeshis to pursue a better life, a better education, a better job, whether it be in America or in Bangladesh.
Bangladeshi- Americans have a lot of influence on our politicians, either we are not using it for the right purposes or the politicians are not using us, either way it�s a lose-lose situation for the image and future of Bangladeshis as a whole.
Bangladesh may be quickly becoming Islamic terrorists' favorite country. With no effective law and order, terrorists have little need to fear a crack down. Researcher Anand Kumar points to the recent surge in arrests of Bangladeshis in connection to questionable activities around the world as evidence of a growing presence for the nation within terrorist rings. Though Bangladesh remains a supposed ally of the US in the War on Terror, in truth it may be harboring the enemy. Persecution of minorities (particularly Hindus) is on the rise and Al Qaeda loyalists openly proclaim their allegiances. In such a country, Kumar argues, terrorists are bound to find a safe haven. � YaleGlobal
Bangladesh is Weak Link in War on Terror
The Straits Times, 15 December 2003
AFTER lying low for a while, Bangladesh's Muslims have intensified their activities [all Muslims? Some? Only fundamentalists? ]. Al-Qaeda's recent successes in Iraq and a spate of terrorist attacks in Turkey have boosted their morale.
The country has become home to indigenous and foreign Islamic terrorists. Also, suspected Bangladeshi terrorists have been arrested abroad. Sixteen were arrested in Bolivia on Dec 4 after the local authorities received intelligence input from France. Though all of them were later released for lack of evidence, it was strongly believed that they were travelling on false documents with the aim of hijacking a plane to strike at United States interests. Similarly, 11 Bangladeshis were earlier arrested in Saudi Arabia on Aug 14, while they were allegedly planning a terrorist act.
A recent Canadian Security Intelligence Service report suggested that Bangladesh is fast emerging as a new haven for Islamic terrorists. The report noted recent attacks by radicals on Bangladeshi cultural groups, hints of collusion with Al-Qaeda and the government's alleged unwillingness to act. It further suggested that these Muslims could pose a threat to Canadian aid agencies with a strong presence in Bangladesh, the third-largest Muslim country in the world.
The US is also aware of this threat potential. It has listed Bangladesh as a terror-risk country and has included it in the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. Bangladeshis, along with nationals of 24 other countries, are to be photographed and fingerprinted when entering the US.
In the past six months, the US State Department has twice warned its nationals about travelling to Bangladesh. Inside the country, minorities whom Muslims consider kafirs (non-believers) have been persecuted. They have been asked to convert to Islam and their places of worship have been attacked.
Last month, an Islamist organisation, Harkat-e-Islam Al-Jihad, issued an ultimatum to religious-minority businessmen and leaders of an opposition party to convert to Islam within seven days. On Nov 19, 11 members of a Hindu family were burnt alive in the Chittagong district. In the same month, Hindu priests shut down at least 10 temples in central Bangladesh after suspected Islamic militants ransacked them.
Violence has also been unleashed against the Ahamadias, a Muslim sect. Fanatics killed an Ahamadia imam on Nov 1 in Jessore. Extremists have several times tried to capture an Ahamadia mosque in Dhaka.
After the US dislodged the fundamentalist Taleban regime in Afghanistan, it was no longer available as a safe haven for Islamic jihadis. The fugitives of Al-Qaeda and allied groups started searching for new places to hide. A number of them migrated to Bangladesh. Some of the senior Al-Qaeda leaders - including its second-in-command, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri - are believed to have stayed there.
Recently, as the noose tightened on the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) in South-east Asia, a number of its top leaders, including Hambali, tried to relocate to Bangladesh. Hambali was caught in Ayuthaya, north of Bangkok, when he was about to move to Bangladesh. It is believed that one of JI's most wanted men, Malaysian accountant Zulkifli Marzuki, could be hiding in Bangladesh.
Muslim extremists find the country safe because the present government is soft towards them. The Islami Oikya Jote, which openly flaunts its allegiance to Al-Qaeda, is part of the ruling alliance. Extremists have no fear of a crackdown and the local police force is too corrupt to act against them. The nearly total absence of law and order in Bangladesh makes the fanatics' operations easy.
Bangladesh may be on the side of the US in the war on terrorism but the situation prevailing on the ground tells a different story. The country is a weak link in the war and unless steps are taken soon to rectify the situation, the international effort to contain terror may be weakened considerably.
The writer is a research associate and political analyst at the Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi.
The Straits Times
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Thank you SAMI for your pragmatic view. I fully concur with you.