Dhaka, 11 May 2013: The Catholic Church is always "against the death penalty" and destroying of a life", said Patrick D’ Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka, Bangladesh in an interview with Vatican Radio’s Susy Hodges. He was reacting to the sentence handed down by the nation’s war crimes tribunal to a leading member of the opposition Jamaat-e-Islamic party, sentencing him to death for crimes against humanity. The Archbishop said that his preference would have been for the court to choose the option of life imprisonment for the convicted man.
Muhammad Kamaruzzaman was charged with torture and mass murder during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. Bangladesh has been rocked by violent street protests in recent months related to the complex legacy of the country’s independence war and this verdict has aroused fears of fresh violence.
Asked about the recent violent street protests by hardline Islamic supporters and his feelings about this violence, Archbishop D'Rozario said they are "very shocking ... and really troubled by what is going on" as these violent protests and counter-protests do not represent "the real picture of Bangladesh."
The Archbishop noted that people in Bangladesh have largely "been living in harmony and peace for a long time" and in his view the two main reasons for this upsurge of violence are the emotions stirred up by the war crimes tribunal and the upcoming elections.
Archbishop D'Rozario expressed his regret that "political parties in the nation try to use religion" (for their own ends). "They are not really concerned about the welfare of the common people", he said. The Catholic Archbishop of Dhaka Patrick D’ Rozario and other Christian leaders issued a joint statement earlier this week appealing for peace, religious tolerance and greater respect for the welfare of the common people. Source: VR Eng