Bangladesh's Ulama League demands ban on NGOs working to curb child marriage

Written by Tribune Desk | Published on: January 22, 2019
The pro-ruling party Islamists has also demanded a ban on the BPL T20 tournament and has criticized Bangladesh Football Federation for promoting women’s football

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Bangladesh Awami Ulama League, along with 13 other like-minded groups, forms a human chain in front of National Press Club in Dhaka on Monday, January 21, 2019 Dhaka Tribune
An ruling party-affiliated Islamist organization has demanded a ban on the operation of non-government organizations (NGOs) and international NGOs that are working to curb child marriage in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh Awami Ulama League, along with 13 other like-minded groups, made the demand at a human chain formed in front of National Press Club in Dhaka on Monday.

Speakers at the human chain specifically mentioned INGOs – including Unicef, Save the Children and Terre des homes – which have been working across the country to prevent child marriage.

Demanding to repel the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2017, Ulama League General Secretary Abul Hasan Sheikh Shariatpuri even enunciated that these “anti-Muslim” and “anti-Islam” organizations had been showing way too much interest on this issue because the government as well as ordinary citizens of Bangladesh have not been paying enough heed to this issue.

Arguing in favour of child marriage, Sheikh Shariatpuri said the legal ban on child marriages imposed by the “kufri” Child Marriage Restraint Act had increased the number of abortions in the country.

“Premarital physical relationships between under-18 boys and girls have led to an alarmingly high rate of abortions and single mothers,” he claimed.

He even called for people involved with the NGOs to be hanged on charge of demeaning Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).

Bangladesh witnessed a decline in the overall child marriage rate in recent years, but continues to have one of the highest rates in the world.

A report by Child Rights Advocacy Coalition, published in 2018, says the rate of child marriage under the age of 15 declined from 62.8% in 2015 to 10.7% in 2017, while the rate of child marriages under the age of 18 years has gone down from 62.8% in 2015 to 59.7% in 2016.

Ulama League wants a ban on BPL too
Sheikh Shariatpuri has also sought a ban on the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament, reports multiple news outlets.

“The BPL is turning the country into a breeding ground for gamblers. Ordinary people are being drawn towards gambling during cricket tournaments like the BPL and the IPL [Indian Premier League], which is completely unconstitutional,” he said.

The Islamist group also criticized Bangladesh Football Federation for promoting women’s football.

“Officials at Bangladesh Football Federation are placing restrictions on marriage to encourage immoral activities such as live-together, for which they should be arrested,” said Sheikh Shariatpuri.

Courtesy: Dhaka Tribune