Home Bangladesh Islam A Burning Girl's Ghost in Bangladesh
Home Bangladesh Islam A Burning Girl's Ghost in Bangladesh

A Burning Girl's Ghost in Bangladesh

Over a grim concrete gateway in a small town near Dhaka, a blue sign reads, "Sonagazi Islamia Fazil (Degree) Madrashah". This is where Nusrat Jahan Rafi, a teenage girl in Bangladesh, was burned alive.

The girls who attacked Nusrat wore burkas. So did she. This was, after all, an Islamic school. And even when murdering, its female pupils were expected to abide by Islamic principles of conduct.

The madrassa students who held Nusrat down and helped tie her hands and legs, before she was set on fire, were acting under the authority of leaders of the local Awami Muslim League and their own principal who had been an emir with Jamaat-e-Islami whose mandate calls for an Islamic state.

The girls weren’t trusted to do the actual killing. That allegedly fell to Javed Hossain, a man, if you can call him that, wearing a burka, who poured kerosene on Nusrat while she lay tied up on the roof.

He struck a match and set her on fire. Then he went down to take an exam. The same exam that the burning girl was supposed to take.

Outside the court, after his conviction and death sentence, his mother called on Allah.

There were other men in burkas on the roof that day. Saifur Rahman Mohammad Zobair tore away Nusrat’s burka and used it to tie her up. Shahadat Hossain Shamim had bought the burkas that the men wore with money from a leader in the Awami Muslim League and gagged her with his hand while she was set on fire. More of the conspirators guarded the area to keep anyone else from intruding.

In court, the girls, now women, one of them a mother, went on wearing their burkas. When they were taken out of court, with a death sentence pronounced on their heads, they went with their faces already covered. While Nusrat covered her face much of the time, in the final photos, her face is uncovered, while her body is swathed is white bandages. When the pupils of the Islamic school set her on fire, 80% of her body was left burned. And she died that way in Dhaka Hospital for the crime of telling the truth.

The truth helped bring down the Madrassa and its principal, Siraj Ud Doula, a small scowling goateed man, the tips of the goatee dyed a noxious orange-red, who sent Nusrat to her death, and whose plot against her, led to a death sentence for 16 men and women, including himself. His crimes dragged in his students, the Awami Muslim League, Jamaat-e-Islami, and shocked all of Bangladesh.

The first truth that Nusrat told was that Siraj had sexually harassed her. She continued telling the truth while her brother taped her on his phone in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

It was also the final truth she told in a hospital bed, declaring, "I will fight till my last breath.”

Nusrat had not been meant to survive to tell that truth. After accusing her Islamic school principal of sexual harassment, she had faced violent assaults and death threats. Then, a plot had been hatched to have other students lure her to the roof of the madrassa, tie her up, set her on fire, and make her death look like a suicide. But the headscarf she had been tied with burned up and she survived to tell the truth.

That truth means death for her murderers.

Siraj had come to court smiling. Her former principal and Jaamat-e-Islami emir left it in tears.

In Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, girls often die without any explanation. The conviction of the 16 men and women who plotted Nusrat’s death provides a horrid window into how such girls die. And how high up the crimes extend. At one end of the murder plot were schoolboys and schoolgirls. On the other end was their jailed principal, and local leaders of the Awami Muslim League.

The Avami Muslim League is the governing party of Bangladesh. Its roots go back to the Muslim League that divided India, and created Pakistan, before Bengali nationalists went on to create Bangladesh.

The trial of Nusrat’s killers dragged in Maksud Alam, a local councilor, a member of the governing body of the madrassa, and acting general secretary of the Awami League in Feni, the small town outside Dhaka where the atrocity took place. Also facing justice was Ruhul Amin, the Madrassa’s vice president, and the local Awami League president. The links between the Feni leaders of the Awami League and the Islamic school highlighted the interconnections between Islamism, politics and, the brutal crime.

Before the murder, some figures in the Awami League had staged rallies in defense of Siraj. One of those was Alam, who had not only participated in protests, but also helped provide funding for the crime.

And Ruhul Amin’s job had been to keep the cops away while the murder was taking place.

Siraj, the Islamic school principal who had sexually harassed the teenage girl before trying to have her killed, had been a former emir with Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami. Unlike the Awami League, Jamaat is a genuinely hard-core Islamist movement which has been responsible for numerous atrocities in the past. Its agenda is a full Islamic state with the uncompromisingly brutal application of Islamic Sharia law.

Setting a teenage girl on fire would not have fazed Jamaat’s Islamists who had tortured, raped and killed anyone standing in the way of their vision of an Islamic state. But Siraj had proven too nasty even for Jamaat which had expelled its former emir. The madrassa where Nusrat was killed had been Jamaat territory and the former principal’s associates had been Jamaat loyalists. After Siraj’s sexual habits became too much, the madrassa shifted sides to the Awami Muslim League whose local leaders conspired to cover-up his perversions with murder.

The Islamic school principal’s associates in Jamaat-e-Islami and the Awami Muslim League had been bribed and the police had turned a blind eye to events at the madrassa. All this had to be done because Siraj had entangled the local Islamic political leaders with his own crimes until they had no choice but to help murder a teenage girl to protect their sources of income, power and their Islamic legitimacy.

It took 16 men and women, and more behind the scenes, to try and kill that teenage girl.

Nur Uddin, Siraj’s aide at the madrassa, and Hafez Abdul Kader, a teacher at the madrassa, had allegedly served as the interface with their jailed boss. And after no amount of pressure seemed to dissuade Nusrat from telling her story, the Islamic pervert who had assaulted her, told his minions to set her on fire on the roof of his own school.

Nusrat’s murder wasn’t unusual. What was unusual is that the killers were caught and will be punished. And that may be due less to public outrage than to the political divisions within the Awami League. Girls like her die all the time. Their deaths are ruled a suicide. Or they disappear and are said to have run away.

And that’s what would have happened if the 19-year-old girl hadn’t been so determined to live.

The horror of the crime, Nusrat’s determination to live and to denounce her killers, were vital. As she lay burned badly, the teenage girl told a familiar story, but one that very few murdered girls live to tell.

The Islamic leaders she had trusted had betrayed her, they had assaulted her, covered up their crimes, and then tried to kill her, but burned and dying slowly, she had brought them down anyway.

As her killers left the courtroom weeping, the ghost of the teenage girl followed them into the sunlight.

Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Muslim world are full of such ghosts. They are usually invisible. Their voices have been turned to ash, dirt and dust. There is no counting the number of women and girls who have been killed. But in Bangladesh, one girl managed to speak and be heard even after her murder.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

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Thank you for reading.


  1. What despicable brutes. Thanks for telling the story, Daniel.

  2. This well-written article really sticks in my mind, vividly.

  3. thank you, we all need to know ever thing that happen. to take a life of an young person should hurt ever one.

  4. Thanks for reporting on another important story that needs to be heard far and wide.

  5. Anonymous8/11/19

    Men in burkas, 16 men and women to one girl;
    are seldom elaborated details. Most Islamic
    honor killings, assassinations, mutilations
    happen through ambush, overwhelming numbers,
    betrayal; assuring killer(s) little risk of

    Whereas JudeoChristian sin is known to God
    (Guilt), Muslim sin is only deterred when
    known by men (Shame). Thus, Islamic atrocities
    are sanctioned by mute neglect or wide societal
    acceptance. This culture engenders abject
    cowardice, cruelty, contempt for life.


  6. Anonymous10/11/19

    "This culture engenders abject
    cowardice, cruelty, contempt for life."

    You said it, brother. And yet our entire society welcomes this cruel "culture" of conquest with dhimmi idiocy.

    I am in my 60s and try to tell my nephew in his 20s what it was like to live in our city and country before 2005 when he was a small child -- before the advent of izlam and the tool of its advance, "social media" -- the perfect social control system to faciliate cultural conquest -- I was appalled when social media arrived and have shunned it and watched as the entire world surrenders willingly to mental enslavement by moral micro policing -- before 2005 there were literally no visible muzloms -- NO hi jabs -- ZERO literally 0 -- no hatejabs which are a carefully designed symbol to show Western conquest worn so that no dirty kuffr can ever be free of the visible presence of izlam in their streets and homes via media -- our city's leftwing mainstream newspaper has featured a hijabbed muzlom on its front page at least twice a week for the past 10 years -- I shun the rag but see it on my neighbours' doorsteps every morning!

    My nephew has never known a life without the constant presence in his environment of the hatejab. I tell him I am suffocating on izlam after 50 years of total Western Greco-Roman Judeo-Christian European freedom and only knowing of izlam as something horrible "over there" which I visited in the 1980s and was appalled and hated its totalitarian 7th century culture of poison. And now it is here and 90% of my fellow citizens love it because they think they're imposing "brown" revenge on imagined (leftwing created) white "crimes" so they strut and crow and puff up on facebook to show off their pretend "morals" and phoney "cosmopolitanism".

    continued next message

  7. Anonymous10/11/19


    And worse, now retired I am looking for somewhere more tranquil to relocate but in my hellish communist country when I constantly look at the real estate ads I see something horrific, an outcome of govt policy -- our govt imposed a draconian law in 2015 that all citizens MUST on literal pain of jail complete a massive census form -- the purpose is now clear -- it was to locate where to place muzlims so they are spread evenly throughout the entire population -- our country's real esate MLS sites list demographics for every square inch of the country broken down by every 200 households, so a micro breakdown of the entire country is visible and up to date -- language was a critical element of the census so that izlam could be woven into the fabric of the entire country so no citizen could escape its presence and pretend they dont see it (this was a Soros financed plan that's also happening in the US and everywhere) and you see its result in tiny little remote island towns where the language stats say English and a couple of Euro languages for 180 of the 200 households listed and 20 households of arabic! On an island near the arctic circle! or in tiny rainforest town on the remote coast or a small farming hamlet in the middle of a province -- arabic, arabic, arabic -- no neighbourhood or rural area anywhere is without its small izlamic conquest demographic of arabic households -- a plan that can only be described literally as diabolical -- there is no other word or concept for such planned evil.

    I fight despair every day when I leave my house and drive through the city of my birth where I spent a wonderful childhood and literal decades of a wonderful rich life but the world of that life is now unrecognizable to me because it is now an izlamic society literally.

    Luckily I am a person of deep faith but I am a Christian so I have no Israel to escape to (and my "homeland", the place all my grandparents came from during WW1, is now just another European leftist izlamic mess worse than here!) I still have possibly 30 years left on this planet (my parents are alive in their 90s and I am super healthy -- physically!) but I fear the future because I am living against my will in an izlamic totalitarian world and like Invasion of the Body Snatchers no one but me seems to know or care -- everyone around me appears to love being leftwing pods, being conquered izlam.

    Dante summed up the perfect airport entry sign for my country: All ye who enter here Abandon hope.

  8. Anonymous12/11/19

    Too bad there has never been any justice for the nearly 2.5 million Hindus slaughtered in Bangladesh in the 1970's, nor the thousands of Hindu women raped. But in the Moslem world, justice for the kufar and justice for the believer are always two different things.


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