Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), a banned right-wing group in Bangladesh, has sent a letter threatening media companies and asking them to sack female employees, claiming it is against Islamic law for women to work in the media.
In the letter, ABT, who have killed four bloggers in Bangladesh this year, “urged the media to release their women from their jobs”.
The group issued a global hit-list of bloggers and writers last month, and used the latest letter to reiterate its death threat against 15 bloggers, accusing them of participating in anti-Islam campaigns.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, a female journalist working for the Dhaka Tribune newspaper said that female journalists are fearful.
“It’s a concern for all the journalists. These kinds of threats cannot be ignored. It is a shock for all the women in the media sector,” she said, asking not to be identified.
The letter also asked magazines not to use “beautiful female model in advertising”, adding that “pictures of women without veil cannot be printed in the newspaper”.
Reporters Without Borders (RWB) has denounced the threat.
Benjamin Ismaïl, head of Asia-Pacific desk at the global watchdog for journalists, told Al Jazeera: “In this particular message, they say it’s against Islamic law for women working in the media and the media showing them without the Islamic veil.”
“They are putting pressure on the media to buy their interpretation of the Islamic law.”
Bangladesh banned ABT in May this year after domestic and international pressure.
- Pray for Bangladesh. A recent spate of killing of foreign aid workers and pressure from Islamic fundamentalist groups are causing fear amongst many people. Pray for peace in the streets, and in people’s hearts.
- Pray for wisdom for the government in responding to threats such as this letter. Pray for protection for women in Bangladesh, particularly those working in the media.
- Pray that Bangladesh will remain tolerant of Christians and allow them to continue to worship freely without fear.
- Pray for many in this nation to have dreams, vision and revelations of Jesus, and come to know Him as their source of life and hope.
1 John 4 vs 18: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear”