An investigation carried out by London Bangla has revealed that former TV presenter Ronnie Mirza, a well known figure in the Bangladeshi community, has made partisan statements about the War Crimes Tribunal on his personal Facebook page. This is surprising, because Ronnie Mirza is now employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and is currently stationed in Dubai.
The FCO does not prohibit staff from using social media channels, but it does issue strict guidelines which include the instruction, “You should avoid taking part in any political or public activity which compromises, or might be seen to compromise, your impartial service to the government.”
London Bangla reported that an FCO spokesperson had told the paper:
“Mr Mirza’s comments on Facebook reflect his personal views. His account is personal and not an official account of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). We have very clear guidelines on the use of social media for our staff and we have reminded Mr Mizra of these.”
Mr Mirza’s Facebook page has now been taken down. However, before it disappeared one of the comments posted by Mr Mirza referred to a statement about the situation in Bangladesh which had been made by Bethnal Green MP Rushanara Ali and had been posted on the East London News website (see below). Mr Mirza posted a link to the ELN post and commented: “Nothing new!” and “Did you expect anything else from Rushanara Ali? If you have, then go and eat your pants!” It is not usual for an FCO employee to criticise a sitting MP in public.
Mirza’s Facebook page – with a link to Rushanara Ali MP’s statement as quoted on the ELN site.
Mr Mirza also criticised Ajmal Masroor, who has spoken out against violence in Bangladesh in articles printed in London Bangla. Masroor spoke to London Bangla about the Facebook criticism, saying, “I have known Ronnie Mirza from his Channel S days. He has expressed his respect for my fresh and open-minded approach to Islam. However, on the topic of Bangladesh’s war crimes, he has taking very aggressive and militant stance. I find it sad that an intelligent person like him would be so blinded by his anger and his longing for retribution through hanging people that he has lost sight of the truth. I am disturbed that a British employee working in the Foreign Office is actively supporting violation of human rights, derision of due process and Kangaroo court in Bangladesh. I am not angry at his attack on me, I am simply appalled that such people work for the British Government.
“He has been in contact with me by facebook and I have replied to his message in private. I have come to learn that he has shared parts of our conversation on his facebook.”
Mr Masroor released the text of the conversation he had with Mr Mirza to London Bangla, which has made it exclusively available to ELN and which we print below.
- Conversation started February 19
Dear Ajmal bhai
It seems you have deleted me from your Facebook friendliest; I totally appreciate you have thousands of friends and you can only keep the ones you find useful/ good to keep. But I’m sure it doesn’t mean I can’t write to you.
I always respect your knowledge and honesty; you’re one of the very few British Bangladeshi politician who never shied away from admitting the truth and self-criticism . I just saw your interview on Al Jazeera and I was horrified to see how plainly you just portrayed our voice, our rage, our concern and our emotion as biased pro- Awami “trick”. I don’t support Awamileague, I personally know a good few number of organisers and they never ever supported AL; we are NOT asking for a blanket hanging for every single Razjakars we are asking the main ones to be hanged. If the court finally decides not to then we have nothing else to say/do. So are be ting out our frustration peacefully. We are not perfect we are not always right but our demand is peaceful unlike those who brutally attacked demonstrators in Altab Ali Park!
Just one more thing to add: AL is a corrupted crooked party, right? But can you please explain why they would go through all these trouble just to get rid of a party who only has two parliamentary seats in a 300seat parliament? (And please don’t forget AL leaders were NOT allowed to give any speech from Shahbag, not even the cabinet members!)
We are NOT “divided” or “polarised” with/by the religion here, this is how some people, some groups want to portray us-the common so called party-less people of Bangladesh. We are frustrated because some people thought its OK to rape right year old girls to “serve Islam”(!) do you really want to support them? We are angry because Chowdhury Moinuddin, the founder of IFE Europe though he could save bullets if Pakistani army killed “Bangladeshi infidels with bricks” (Channel 4 war crimes file, 20/20 productions. Moinudeen sued channel 4 and 20/20 but guess what? Never appeared in court!)
After your interview on AJ I promised my Facebook friends that I would share my message and your response with them and I hope you won’t disagree with this idea to irradiate confusion between you and me/us.
Ronnie thank you for emailing. I do not delete anyone from my list unless they are abusive. I do not recall you ever being that to me. As far Bangladesh is concern, I see Shabag as a sign of total erosion of Islam from Bangladeshi youths. The leaders of Shabag are atheist, secular fundamentalist and I have read some of their writing on their facebook pages and websites, I have also read about their colourful personal life including their love for alcohol, extra marital affairs and use of vile and filthy language. I believe those who are at Shabag are a melting pot of confused bunch of people, some genuine people fed up with Bangladeshi dirty politics and want to see a change, some secular fundamentalist who hate Islam and some AL opportunists. I do not have any hope of Shabag providing any leadership in Bangladesh. Who is Moinuddin and what has he got to do with the future of Bangladesh? If you have any issue with him, contact him directly. I am simply not interested in politics of vindictiveness, revenge and emotions. I hate it! Talk to me about politics using rationale, evidence and enlightened strategies. No matter how many people Bangladesh hangs, it is not going to bring one inch or ounce of stability and prosperity in Bangladesh. I am a practicing Muslim and for a Muslim country like Bangladesh I can not see its future in the hands of nationalist or secularist. I can not see it in the hands of Jamati or the current bunch of spineless mullahs. I see the future of Bangladesh in clean and pluralist democracy inspired by Islam.
Thanks For such a prompt response. I appeeciate taht as a practising Muslim you want to see a democratic Bangladesh inspired by Islam. That wasn’t my point my point was you said the whole uprising is a ploy by the current government so that they can win the next general election.?
My point was we are not a mere tool of AL ( as your AJ interview suggested) we are protesting against war criminals, rapists and mass murderers. I just have you two examples of War Criminals and
why they can’t be “Muslims”. You’re shocked to learn about the Bangladeshi youngsters who you were told atheist, alcoholic, involved in extra marital affairs, aren’t you horrified by the war criminals heinous crimes? As a practicing Msulim, aren’t you sad that these people and “Mullas” using Islam to justify their heinous crimes?
I understand you might get horrified when you are told this these activists are atheists, drug addicts, they have extramarital affairs et cetera et cetera. Didn’t even think for a second how come it is possible that every single demonstrators are alcohol abuser drug addicts and they all have extramarital affairs!!!!??? Some of the protesters are 60 7080 years old. Our aunts, our dads our uncles and auntie are there and they are as good and honest practising Muslim as you are, if not better. So it would be outrageous if someone tells you everybody is an atheist at the protest.
If you source is online blog then let me you this I can create a fake ID on your name and say Ajmal Masroor supports mass killing of white infidels in the UK! You can do the same about me.
Also, just like a pious soul an atheist also has the full right to demand justice, raise his concern for the trial of War Criminals, don’t they? In 1971 Rajakars and Panistani General told their followers that these Bangladeshi youngsters and freedom fighters are “becoming Hindus” becoming “atheists” they all drink etc. etc. it seems your Bangladeshi sources have just copied those words and pasted them onto your inbox.
(I’m on the move so there might be some annoying typos, apologies)
Ronnie, I would like to see the war criminals brought to justice but using international standards, respect to the due process and independent judiciary. here is something called International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague! The war crimes tribunal has been nothing less than a Kangaroo court set up by AL and its cronies in Bangladesh. Any people, especially Shabag youth calling for hanging of people is totally uncivilised and I feel ashamed to call myself Bangladeshi as I see the disgusting face of the blood thirsty poeple. What kind of animals would call to hang people and would order to shoot, burn and kill their political opponents? Whether they are Jamat or Shabag, it makes no difference.
I have read the whole documents against Abdul Kadir Mullah and I have found the entire prosecution’s case amateurish, stupid and lack substantial evidence. This man killed so many people yet there is not a single eye witness account of his killings. I have read reports by independent experts and lawyers who have said that not a single case against Sayeedi has been proven. What a farce? I do not buy this war crimes circus for a minute. The right tribute to those who laid down their lives in 71 to liberate Bangladesh would be to hand over any accused war criminals to the Hague and wait for their independent judgments. I am a democrat and I respect international human rights treaties and standards. The current tribunal has violated all its obligations and this has been acknowledged by the chair of the humans rights commission in Bangladesh in his speech yesterday.
I am a democrat and I believe in press freedom, the Shabag youth have demanded burning and closure of all opposition press and banning of Jamat. This is what dictatorships do! Shabag is nothing less than a misadventure at this moment in time. This may change in the future and time will tell.
AL government has silenced any opposition to its politics especially exposed by any press. Majority of the press in Bangladesh are left wing secular press mainly owned by AL supporters or sons of ministers including share by the current Prime Ministers family. Everyone has the right to free assembly and demonstration without any police commissioner ordering to shoot to kill. I heard it with my own ears the words of Dhaka city police commissioner who said he would ask his officers to shoot live rounds to kill at any Jamat members. He should be fired from his job but he will never get fired, he was a leading light of AL student wing during his student years. I do not support Jamat but I do not support these types of jugle brigade enforcing the law.
Ronnie, my 3 nephews in Sylhet were arrested and held in prison for no reason but for belonging to the opposition parties. They are respectd business men in their community, never been involved in fighting or violence. Yet they were held in prison and one of them had his back and legs broken by the police and RAB thugs! This is not a democratic state and AL is a rotten party, it is a cancer for Bangladesh.
Lets talk about enlightened politics. I do not doubt every citizens right to freely express their views but today in Bangladesh freedom is only allowed to AL symapathisers. I simply feel sick to the core when I see people are emotionally so blinded that they do not see anything else but 71 war criminals. In Bangladesh people are dying without food, I have seen it with my own eyes in the capital city and other parts. These politicians and Shabag youth are only fixated by war criminals, as though if they are hanged Bangladesh will become peaceful and prosperous. What an illusion! Bangladesh needs the politics of Nelson Mandela, healing through forgiveness and reconciliation not retribution. Remember what Ghandi said, “if we took an eye for an eye all the time, the world would soon become blind!”
So you’re basically supporting Kader Mollah??
We are not supporting AL or BNP ( or their political vindictiveness) but we can’t support child rapist either. I have read myself the eye witness account of Kader Mollas crime but you failed!
What type of people want to hang these people in a civilised people? Those who believe the Soham murderers should be hanged, those who believe Schultz should be hanged, those who believe Hitler should have been hanged those; these people never regretted their crime.
We are not asking an eye for an eye we are just asking for some Rajakars to be hanged.
You raised the question of poverty and food crisis; if Awamileague kills or elderly father or your children for no reason, would you forgive them after 10/20/30/40/100 years?
Ronnie, I am following the Quranic principle which says stand on the side of justice even if you have to go against your own self, parents and family”. I do not support Kader Mullah or anyone. I simply support due process. Their fundamental rights have been violated. If Kader Mullah did wrong, that does not justify you doing anything wrong. I support anyone whose rights are violated. Even the criminals must have his or her due rights respected. Shabag and it seems you are are also failing to do that. Ronnie I am not interested in Bangladeshi dirty politics what I am interested in is justice for all using the due process! People feel like lynching a person or tearing people into pieces, people may feel like killing the driver who killed a son or a daughter, people may feel like cutting the rapists into small pieces. But that does not make law and if we allow peoples feelings to determine the legal outcome we would all be dead by now! Read my words carefully – “I support due process, democratic ideals, international treaties and human right!” Whoever violates them should be brought to trial in a free and fair court! Can you guarantee that in Bangladesh today, no you can not!
Quran doesn’t support killing of women and children FULL STOP! Bangladesh isn’t perfect but then who else is? The world is NOT taking Blair and Clinton to Hague, Israely politicians to Hague why should we? Ajmal bhai, you are an enlightens soul, OK for the sake of argument I account we al are wrong; I’m a drug addict and I am
An alcoholic, we are rotten garbage of the society you don’t expect anything more from me. BUT PLEASE think for a second, just one moment that what if what you were told are wrong? What if These people actually abused women and children, masses of innocent people using the name of Islam?
I agree but this does not exclude them from due process! No body is above the legal framework. We have to try people based on clear and reasonable evidence no emotions. I have a question, what is worst – imagine all the 71 collaborators are hanged as you so much love see them hanged. If you then discover that those people you hanged were actually the wrong people. What would you do then? What is worse? Would it not make sense to get watertight evidence against these people? It is wrong to kill anybody unfairly. Thats all I am saying! Nothing emotional about it!
Well, as i said on my previous comment if we are wrong then…….but if we are not? Form your first comment you’re calling our movement a movement by atheists, alcohol users, drug addicts and of the the people who have ‘extra martial affair” (all of us?really?) you branded all of us without any hesitation and all I’m saying is think for a second, what if we are NOT wrong?
This might provide a good explanation/insight on what you know about Shahbag moment (and what you don’t know:?
Anger biased report from you Ajmal bhai!!! So sad! It looks you have been either brainwashed by some proper or knowingly supporting Jamayat-Shibir!!!
I can send you more and more photos of Jamayat but what’s the point? There are always two side of the story but it seems you are interested only in anti-Bangladesh side of the story?
These chhatra Shibir cadres burn jaynamaz in our national mosque and hen did this:
By the grace of Allah you have such a sharp and analytical brain WHY are you supporting Jamayat so blindly? Bangladesh opcan only be a better “Muslim state” if Jamayat is out of the equation
Ronnie i have said it hundreds of times, i do not support Jamat or BNP or AL!
But when your writings are only against Bangladesh’ youth and pro Jamayat what do you want me to say?
I’m not arguing with anyone except YOU and it’s only because of my respect for your knowledge! I simply can’t understand how/why you are so anti Bangladeshi youth and HOW can anyone make you believe (what you have told me previously Shahbag prajnama) based on photoshopped photos which we are uploading everyday (to show the original source and Jamayat’s edited versions)
I m not talking about Shahbag, I m talking about the brutality of the government and its police force. I have said Bangladesh does not need AL, BNP or JI, it needs clean moral and ethical leadership. I do not think Shahbag youth can give that to bangladesh either.
1. Bushwajit the guy who was beaten to death (I’m reffering to your YouTube video) DID NOT HAVE beard.
2. Millions of people in Bangladesh have beard, including AL BNP & even Shahbag demo leaders and NONE OF THEM are called Jamatis (again a reference to your khutba/YT video.
3. All the Scholars are not in Prison ONLY the suspected criminals are!?
4. We never asked them to be ha hanged without a trial and we still don’t have anything else to do if the court decides NOT to hang them.
Shahbag leadership is inexperienced, flawed but you are blanketing them as blood thirsty hooligans who are all anti-Islam!!! This is exactly what the Pakistani military and their collaborators told is/ the world in 1971. If you echo them without analysing the bigger picture then people will rightly think you support Jamayat E Islami and their crimes ( referring to your YT video) we know about neo-Nazis and neo-Jamati collaborates; I just hoped you would stay away from them!
And finally, You preached against our constitution and for the Islamic way of a country (Nationalism is haram in Islam) when I’m in the UK next time I would like to have a discussions with you about this as I strongly believe you’re misinterpreting tribalism with the nationalism( please don’t send me any link, I have done my research, we will discuss inshallah)
Ronnie when have I ever send you a link? I suggest you read the quran and life life of Prophet again and reflect on what is the purpose of our life on this earth. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Why did Allah creat human beings and term them “Khalifa”??
2. Why did Allah send prophets and after prophets on this earth??
3. What is the purpose of Allah sending the Quran as a guide for all aspect of life and for all time??
4. What did the Prophet do for 23 years as a Prophet? What was his mission??
5. If Islam is a private religion with secular values what is the point of Prophets life in Madina??
6. If Islam is confined to a set of rituals then what’s the point of his life in Makkah??
7. Finally, what is the point of the verse of “are you going accept some part of the Quran and reject other parts, for those who do that they will be lost in this world and in grave trouble in the hereafter?
Please try your best to think about the answers to these simple questions, share them with me if you can. The penultimate question is – what will you say to Allah on the day of judgement when he asks, what was your mission and achievement on the earth.
Ajmal bhai this is why I said I would like to have a discussion with you. As I said many many times, may be Im wrong and may be your SOURCES are corrupt and may be not.
In my eyes Jamatis (and those BIG Four/Fives in Prison) have only embraced parts if Quran and are systematically abusing them for their own benefit and my frustration is it seems you are regarding them as “knowledgeable Muslims”! I am accepting at our suggestions and I’m trying to read and understand more but in last few days NOT even once you agreed/accepted that those Maolanas could be actually enemies of Islam and may be, jus MAY BE what they are telling people/ what you know is not right ( but you not only showed support for them in your video but also asked people to right to the Bangladeshi government, putting pressure on them to free those criminals!!! If you had asked them to write to Bangladesh Government for a fair trial I would have accepted your worry as non-partisan
I am liberal politically, unless you have proved beyond reasonable doubt that someone is actually guilty in my eyes the default position is that they are innocent. I m Muslim and Allah instructs me to be fair and just at all cost, no matter how much it hurts and even if I have to turns against our own families and friends. I believe all the war criminals should be tried at The Hague international war crimes tribunal. In Bangladesh justice cannot be served.
Exactly; so without proving “beyond reasonable doubt” how can you brand us as “anti-Islam” “drug user” all of us having “extra marital affairs”??
We are NOT bound to take them to Hague.
I didn’t say all of you as any of that. I said those who organised the initial rally, throws bloggers who were the architect of this. You have joined in the rally later. I don’t mince my words.
your lines bhai:
”The leaders of Shabag are atheist, secular fundamentalist and I have read some of their writing on their facebook pages and websites, I have also read about their colourful personal life including their love for alcohol, extra marital affairs and use of vile and filthy language”
You believe in online fake ids and I already responded to that. But then you said ”beyond reasonable doubt” since when Internet ID become an evidence beyobnd reasonable doubt?
Ronnie, lets cut to the chase. If you want to talk islam than I m happy to discuss but if you want to discuss Bangladeshi politics we both have different take in this. Lets sat I fundamentally disagree with your version and therefore it is best we learn to live our differences.
Sure. But you are not talking just about Islam!?
Anyway Ajmal bhai, thanks for your time. And one day we will inshallah have a nice discussion. Till than all the best.