Ruling Awami League MP Elias Uddin Mollah has made a ‘racist’ remark while lauding the role of Bangladesh troops deployed in the UN peacekeeping mission in Africa.
“Our army has gone there (Africa) to civilise those black people. I am sure they will accomplish the task,” he said.
The parliamentary standing committee on the defence ministry held a press conference on Tuesday on its members’ visit to Congo and Ivory Coast to see the work of Bangladesh peacekeepers.
The MP made the racist remark at the media call.
Associate Professor of Dhaka University’s Department of International Relations Md Tanjimuddin Khan described the comment of the lawmaker as “outrageously racist”.
Incidentally, Elias’s late father Harun al-Rashid Mollah, who was also an MP, too drew flak on many occasions for his controversial comments.
At the news conference, the member of the parliamentary watchdog consistently referred the Africans as black people.
“The armies of Brazil, Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh are deployed there. I asked a few questions to those black people. They could not say Bangladesh. But they said ‘Bangla good’,” MP Mollah said about his experience.
The MP from the Dhaka’s Mirpur, who studied up to HSC, even questioned the knowledge of the Africans.
“Once after our army personnel sprayed mosquito repellent, a representative of the local citizens came to our camp. He mistook the haze created by the gas as fog and asked how was it that it was raining in our camp while it was dry in their part of the locality?”
When asked whether the UN had entrusted the Bangladesh peacekeepers with the responsibility to make Africans “civilised”, the MP said, “No… we are only assisting them to get civilised.”
Chairman of the standing committee Mohammad Shubid Ali Bhuiyan and members Muhammad Faruk Khan, Mahmud Us Samad Chowdhury, Mahbubur Rahman and Hosne Ara Begum, who also went to the two African nations, were present at the press conference.
Tanjimuddin Khan said the job of Bangladesh force in those countries was to establish peace.
“Who will civilise whom? This kind of remark is the manifestation of wrong mindset.”
“Africa is the cradle of civilisation. Making comments without knowing all these is immature,” the DU professor said.