Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Attack on singers appalls activists
Islamist mob forces mystics to shut down cultural programA group of bauls perform Lalon songs Photo: firstterm.acjnewsline.org
- By Porimol Palma, Dhaka
- April 18, 2011
A cultural program had to be cancelled after 50 Muslim fundamentalists forced 28 singers toÂ shave off their long hair and moustaches in the village ofÂ Â Char Ramnanagar in Rajbari district in central Bangladesh.Â Media reports say the group were egged on by the local imam, the Islamic prayer leader.
The mob forced its way into the home of Mohammad Fakir, one of the bauls, where the Â group was performing Lalon songs. The assailants accused the baulsÂ of performing un-Islamic acts.
Mohammad Fakir later filed a case against 13 people in local police station and so far no legal action has been taken.
The bauls are devotees of 19th century Bengali mystic philosopher Fakir Lalon Shah.
Mohammad FakirÂ told reporters that some of the attackers accused them of being Hindus and threatened them with dire consequences if they didnâ€™t stop following Lalon.
Rights activists have demonstrated across the country condemning the assault.
â€śSuch acts are against human dignity and religious freedom,â€ť said Bangladesh-based Indian Jesuit priest Father Srijon Das, a teacher at countryâ€™s only Holy Spirit national major seminary in Dhaka.Â â€śI canâ€™t accept the attack by the fanatics on bauls because they donâ€™t belong to any religious groups. Humanity is their religion. They are very peaceful and devotion is their motto.â€ť
Bauls, who constitute both a religious sect and a musical tradition, can often be identified by their distinctive clothes and musical instruments. Anyone from any community can join if they adhering to their belief system.
Bauls comprise only a small fraction of the Bengali population, but their influence on the culture of Bengal is considerable.
In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.
Bangladeshis Shaken By Hundreds Of Explosions Around The Country
Religious Fanaticism A Threat To Bangladesh