Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A letter for Arif

Dear Readers,

It is more than a month since Arifur Rahman’s arrest. 30 days is a long time. Mohammad Arifur Rahman, the Prothom Alo cartoonist, has spent the better part of Ramadan in prison and has spent Eid away from his family. Anyone away from the loved ones can empathise and draw comparisons to their own experiences - but to be right in the centre of the Green Delta and not to be with one’s family on the Eid day? Even among his critics, surely that should elicit some sympathy.

In the past month, Arif’s culpability has been debated many times. The purpose of this post is not to re-visit that old debate. Even if we think of this man as guilty, we should ask ourselves: is his incarceration what the Prophet would have prescribed given his sense of generosity, forgiveness and - most importantly - justice?

We understand that Arif is being held at Dhaka Central Jail. We sincerely urge all of his well-wishers to write to him expressing solidarity at the address given below.

Mohammad Arifur Rahman,
Son of Mohammad Matiur Rahman,
re CR Case No. 2298/07,
Dhaka Central Jail,
Nazimuddin Road,

We also urge those offended by the cartoon to write to him, for compassion towards one’s adversaries is a fast-vanishing Islamic value in today’s world.