UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
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