October 18, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10868

Reactions In Bangladesh To Hamas Attack In Israel – Bangladeshi Religious And Political Groups Protest Against Israel, Information Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud: 'We Do Not Support The Killing Of Civilians, Whether It Is Palestine Or Israel'

October 18, 2023
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10868

In Bangladesh in the days after the October 7, 2023 Hamas attack in Israel, religious organizations, political parties, and students on university campuses, and workers' groups led a series of street protests against Israel. The same sentiments are also reflected in newspapers and columns.

However, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, which dropped Israel exclusion from Bangladeshi passport in 2021, has taken a restrained view. A foreign ministry statement called for a ceasefire while Information Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud opposed any action against civilians either by Hamas or Israel.

Students of Noakhali Science and Technology University protest for Palestine (image: Twitter)/p>

Hours after the Hamas attack in Israel, the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry issued a statement in which it expressed support for a two-state solution and deplored the loss of "innocent civilian lives."[1] The statement observed: "Bangladesh underlines that the escalation of conflict and violence benefits no party. We urge both Israelis and Palestinians to exercise maximum restraint and call for immediate ceasefire to avoid further loss of innocent lives on both sides."[2]

Stating that "living under the Israeli occupation and forced settlements in Palestinian territory will not bring peace to the region," it added: "Bangladesh supports a two-state solution, Palestine and Israel living side-by-side as independent states free of occupation following UN Resolutions 242 and 338, which could bring lasting peace and stability to the region."[3]

Bangladesh's Information Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud said Bangladesh opposes wars and killings, and "it is never right to hold people hostage in the name of war" because this violates the "international convention on war."[4] He added: "We do not support the killing of civilians, whether it is Palestine or Israel, in the war that has started there. And the way Palestinians have been held hostage in the name of war by cutting off everything in the Gaza Strip, including food and water, is never acceptable."[5]

The information minister further said: "Wherever in the world, Bangladesh is against conflict. We do not want a conflicting world. We want peace. The Palestinian territories have been in conflict for decades, and Palestinians are fighting for their rights. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her UN address has pledged to stand with the Palestinians. Our government has always pledged to stand by the Palestinians, and at times we have cooperated."[6]

Protests By Students, Religious Groups, And Political Parties

On October 10, 2023, the religious group Islami Andolan Bangladesh (IAB), which is led by Syed Muhammad Rezaul Karim aka Charmonai Pir, staged a demonstration at Baitul Mukarram on in Dhaka protesting Israel's attacks on Palestine, according to a media report.[7]

Addressing the rallyists, Rezaul Karim urged the UN and human rights organization to protect persecuted Muslims, stating: "It is important for us to be on the streets to protest the atrocities and killings of Muslims around the world. The U.S. and the European countries have been working against humanity for ages by siding with the attackers of Muslims."[8] He added: "We do not see any UN protest against the killing of Palestinian Muslims. We will unite and resist on behalf of the oppressed. It is the duty of the UN to stand up for the oppressed Palestinian Muslims and to speak out against Israel."[9]

Islami Andolan Bangladesh (IAB), led by Syed Muhammad Rezaul Karim, well-known as Charmonai Pir, staged a demonstration protesting Israel's attacks on Palestine in the capital Dhaka on October 10, 2023. (Image courtesy: Dhaka Tribune)

According to Bangladeshi media, different political parties and organisations organized protest rallies in Dhaka on October 11, condemning "the barbaric attack" of Israel on Palestine.[10] The prominent anti-Israel protesting groups included the Communist Party of Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtanrik Dal-Jasod, Islami Andolan Bangladesh, and Bangladesh Juba Maitri, but their protests were organized separately. Condemning Israel for its attacks on Gaza, Communist Party of Bangladesh leader Mohammad Shah Alam urged the international community to take immediate steps to stop the attacks.[11]

Bangladesh Juba Maitri, the youth wing of the Workers Party of Bangladesh, also organized a protest at the National Press Club in Dhaka. The group's president Touhidur Rahman addressed the protesters, saying that formation of a separate state for the Palestinian people was the only solution to the conflict.[12]

Religious groups in Bangladesh protest against Israel (Image:

On October 11, students at Noakhali Science and Technology University in Bangladesh organized a protest. One student, Shohid Uz Zaman Emon, wrote on X (formerly Twitter): "From the heart of Bangladesh, we send our voices to Palestine: We stand with you, we fight for you, we will never forget you. We protest at Noakhali Science and Technology University to raise our voices against the Israeli oppression."[13]

At the Rajshahi University in Rajshahi, Bangladesh, students organized protest against Israeli attacks in Gaza and expressed their support for Palestinians.[14] On October 9, religious female students and male students of Dhaka University also took out a protest a rally with a larger banner reading "Resistance Until Return."[15]

"Resistance until return" – the main banner held by anti-Israel protesters at the October 9 rally organized by Dhaka University students (image: Twitter)

Bangladeshi Journalist Tasneem Tayeb: "Israel Is Not 'At War,' As Netanyahu Said Yesterday. Rather, Israel – Along With Its Shameless Allies – Is The Architect And Enabler Of This War"

In an article titled "Hamas Assault Should Be A Moment Of Reckoning For Israel," Bangladeshi journalist Tasneem Tayeb wrote a day after the Hamas attack: "While life has always been a constant struggle for Palestinians since Israel encroached on their lands, under the current ultra-right-wing government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu and his cronies, survival has become even more difficult. Israeli settlers have unabashedly ravaged Palestinian villages causing loss of life and acres of farmlands, without any hope for justice. Israel, in all its mighty wisdom, surely could not have expected Palestinians to live day-in, day-out with a bloody axe hanging over their necks, waiting for the blow."[16]

Tasneem Tayeb added: "But this is nothing new for the Palestinians. As a result of decades of unjust subjugation, dehumanization, and having become accustomed to enduring loss – of lives, loved ones, and belongings – the Palestinians have nothing more to lose, no hope for a dignified life. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters embracing martyrdom have nothing to look back at except pain and trauma, especially because the international community has failed Palestine as well. While hypocritically the West and its allies have condemned Russia and empowered Ukraine, they have turned a blind eye to the Palestinians' plea for justice, for their right to self-determination."[17]

Tasneem Tayeb added: "Israel is not 'at war,' as Netanyahu said yesterday. Rather, Israel – along with its shameless allies – is the architect and enabler of this war. Israel and the world community should now face the reality: the only way forward from here is a two-state solution as per the UN resolution of 1947, where Israel returns the Palestinians their lands and minds its own territories, and Palestinians live peacefully in their own. Violence will beget more violence, and it will spill over to not only stain the region red, but it will have far-reaching consequences for the allies of both sides. This should not be allowed to happen."[18]

Bangladeshi Editor Syed Badrul Ahsan: "Diplomacy Died In The Russia-Ukraine Conflict"; "Where Are The Men Who, Armed With Diplomacy, Will Go To Gaza, To Ramallah, To Tel Aviv To Persuade Palestinians And Israelis To Make A Deal"

Syed Badrul Ahsan, Consultant Editor of Dhaka Tribune, wrote an article: "Judging by the way politicians in the West have been scrambling to express their support for Israel in the aftermath of the attacks by Hamas on Saturday [October 7], one is appalled at the degree of indifference with which they have ignored the calamity that has always come the way of the Palestinian people.

"The attacks by Hamas on Israel and its capture of Israeli soldiers and civilians are to be condemned by people everywhere. Missiles launched against civilian targets in Ashkelon and Tel Aviv were an outrage and civilized people around the world have felt deeply disturbed at the action undertaken by Hamas. But, then again, double standards, where coming down hard on all perpetrators of violence is called for, the position adopted by Western leaders – they have all been proclaiming the cliché of standing solidly behind Israel because Israel has a right to self-defense – is a negation not only of morality but of diplomacy as well."[19]

A protest by Islamic religious groups in Dhaka on October 11, 2023 (image: YouTube)

He wrote: "One day, many more dead Palestinians later, many more Israeli and Hamas missiles later, the fire will die down and the smoke will clear. What will not go away is a sense of the new bitterness that has arisen out of this fresh new burst of conflict in the Middle East. One could well raise the question of whether a peace move, a process of mediation will then come into play in the region. But that raises a worrying query: Where are the men who, armed with diplomacy, will go to Gaza, to Ramallah, to Tel Aviv to persuade Palestinians and Israelis into going for a deal that may not be of peace but might be one of no-war-no-peace?

"Such men are absent. In the past, every time the Middle East exploded into a new conflagration, diplomats were dispatched by governments in the West to the region to attempt to bring about a settlement, however fragile. That situation simply does not exist these days because all governments in the West are at this point waiting for Israel to pound Gaza into a situation where Gaza will be too enervated to rise and speak for itself. Once Gazans fall silent from the sheer exhaustion of running for their lives every night or die in the rubble of the buildings felled by Israeli bombs, the world's powerful men just might step out and go busily about trying to stitch a bad deal in place.

"The hypocrisy of policy, or an absence of wisdom constructed on the edifice of policy, is at play today. Not one Western politician has shed a tear for the men, women, and children pounded to death by Netanyahu's forces. Not one of them has asked the Israeli leadership to call a halt to its war against Gaza. Pity has gone missing and with that any hint of statesmanship in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, and Brussels. The landscape of diplomacy suffers from aridity these days."[20]

He stated: "In the volatile region which the Middle East is, it is unwise to make sweeping judgments. It is equally foolhardy to describe one side as terrorists but look away from the terrorism and apartheid perpetrated by the other. In effect, no diplomats possessing the ability and the influence to talk to the Israeli leadership and Hamas are around, for the simple reason that their governments have caught themselves in a bind through their inability to reassure the world that they are willing to and capable of using their clout to bring the current hostilities to an end.

A protest organized the Dhaka University Dawah Circle (Image: Twitter)

"The clout is not there. It is rather queer that in these past couple of years the West has singularly failed to draw on the examples of its statesmen of yesteryears to exert its power and sense of realpolitik in troubleshooting in the world's conflict regions. The attitude has left the West weakened. Western leaders damaged themselves through lionizing – and arming to the teeth – Volodymyr Zelensky against Russia when they should have gone for a purposeful mediation between Kyiv and Moscow.

"Diplomacy died in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. And one can be sure that the story has been repeating itself in the fire raining down on Gaza night after night from Israeli armed might. There are many fires to douse in the region – the one ignited by Hamas, another lit by Israel and now Hezbollah shooting from across the frontier in Lebanon.

"The world is in need of wise men and women in the mould of Conor Cruise O'Brien, Dag Hammarskjöld, Le Duc Tho, Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson, and Harold Wilson. Sadly, they cannot be spotted anywhere. Afghans die of hunger. Azerbaijan and Armenia are locked in conflict. Battles rage on between Kyiv and Moscow. And Palestinians die in the terror of Israeli bombardment. We have not had such a miserable paucity of statesmanship in modern times."[21]

Editorial In The Financial Express: "Since The UN-Backed Forcible Creation Of The Israel On Palestinian Land, A Kind Of Paranoia Has Overwhelmed The Reason Of The Peoples Of The Entire Middle East"

In an editorial dated October 11, The Daily Star wrote: "It is well known that the current situation is partly a result of the dire socioeconomic situation in the besieged Gaza Strip. Israel has been regularly attacking the occupied West Bank and Palestinian citizens of Israel. But we have not seen the West raise concern about this. It is through their indifference or indulgence that the situation has come to this point.

"We hope they will take a strong stance now with a catastrophic war looming on the horizon. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that he was 'deeply distressed' by the siege announcement. We hope that the UN, as well as other countries, will raise their voice for a ceasefire so that the humanitarian crisis facing Gaza can be prevented."[22]

On October 11, The Financial Express of Dhaka observed in an editorial: "Ever since the UN-backed forcible creation of the Israel on Palestinian land, a kind of paranoia has overwhelmed reason of the peoples in the entire Middle East. Of late, the Arabian countries have accepted the reality and tried to mend fences with Israel. Had it been reciprocated and the Camp David Agreement given the chance to take hold, the vitriolic relations between Palestine and Israel could be tempered with reason and pragmatism.

At Rajshahi University, students expressed solidarity with Palestinians (image: Twitter)

"Unfortunately, things have gone the other way and the Palestinians' desperation has forced Hamas to take an apparently preposterous course of action. It possibly knows it cannot win the war against Israel but at least the loss of lives and property in Israel as a result of the attack would make the Jewish people and their leaders feel how the Palestinians suffer in their ancestral homes.

"Already the conflict has led to a humanitarian crisis in the confined Gaza strip and the UN has appealed for the creation of a humanitarian corridor for delivering medical aid and relief. Israel claims it has reestablished control over the lost territories. It should be persuaded by big powers and the UN to move no further. Hamas has acted crazily but Netanyahu's policies and actions, as complained by an Israeli newspaper the Haaretz, have been the primary cause behind it.

"Also, it has to be ensured that innocent people must not suffer for the action of warring parties. The war has wider ramifications. The Ukraine war is dragging on and this fresh escalation of war in the Middle East threatens to increase energy prices which may eventually deal a blow to the global economy's recovery."


[1] (Bangladesh), October 8, 2023.

[2] (Bangladesh), October 8, 2023.

[3] (Bangladesh), October 8, 2023.

[4] (Bangladesh), October 10, 2023.

[5] (Bangladesh), October 10, 2023.

[6] (Bangladesh), October 10, 2023.

[7] (Bangladesh), October 10, 2023.

[8] (Bangladesh), October 10, 2023.

[9] (Bangladesh), October 10, 2023.

[10] (Bangladesh), October 11, 2023.

[11] (Bangladesh), October 11, 2023.

[12] (Bangladesh), October 11, 2023.

[13], October 11, 2023.

[14], October 11, 2023.

[15], October 9, 2023.

[16] (Bangladesh), October 8, 2023.

[17] (Bangladesh), October 8, 2023.

[18] (Bangladesh), October 8, 2023.

[19] (Bangladesh), October 12, 2023.

[20] (Bangladesh), October 12, 2023.

[21] (Bangladesh), October 12, 2023.

[22] (Bangladesh), October 11, 2023.

Share this Report: