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Author: Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadra, 4th Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Description: This is a compiled lecture delivered at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (London) by the 4th Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. It contains comprehensive discussion on interest; financial aid; international relations; and the role of Israel, America and the United Kingdom in a new world order. Message of this great lecture is timeless and relates to the future propects for peace. If the speaker is proved right in most of his predictions, as he has already been proved right in some of them, no one can afford to ignore this message.
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Author: Mirza Tahir Ahmad ra, 4th Caliph of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Description: Any divide between revelation and rationality, religion and logic has to be irrational. If religion and rationality cannot proceed hand in hand, there has to be something deeply wrong with either of the two. Does revelation play any vital role in human affairs? Is not rationality sufficient to guide man in all the problems which confront him? Numerous questions such as these are examined with minute attention.
No. of Pages: 756 (read it online)
US$29.99 [Order]
The Author: Mujeeb-ur-Rehman
A chronicle and a critique of the legislative and the judicial events leading to a gradual denial and erosion of religious freedom to Ahmadis in Pakistan. This work is intended to provide an insight into the background of the Supreme Court judgment in the Ahmadis' case.
US$10. [Order]

Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  February, 2011  Government fails to…
BANGLADESH: Government fails to protect freedom of religion and assembly of Ahmadiyya community
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Asian Human Rights Commission — Urgent Appeals
BANGLADESH: Government fails to protect freedom of religion and assembly of Ahmadiyya community
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION — URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Send an Appeal Letter

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-042-2011
22 February 2011

BANGLADESH: Government fails to protect freedom of religion and assembly of Ahmadiyya community

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the administrative authorities of Gazipur district cancelled permission for the holding of the 87th Annual Convention of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Bangladesh, a religious community having conflicting identity with the majority Muslims, on 6 February 2011 in a sudden decision without any prior notice. The annual convention of the community was scheduled for February 6 to 8. The police evacuated the Ahamadiya while the Deputy Commissioner of the district imposed a ban on any public gathering at the venue for which the community had paid all the necessary fees following the procedure. The government has failed to protect the right to freedom of religion and assembly of the community.

CASE DETAILS: (Based on interviews with the community, witnesses and examination of relevant documents)

The “Ahmadiya Muslim Jama’at, Bangladesh”, a religious community having a conflicting identity with the majority Muslims in Bangladesh and other parts of the world, organised its 87th Annual Convention targeting the 6 to 8 February 2011. Accordingly, on 2 January 2011, the General Secretary of the Ahmadiya community Mr. Mohammad Jahidur Rahman booked the venue at the Rover Scouts Camping Centre’s ground at Bahadurpur, under the jurisdiction of the Joydevpur police station in Gazipur district.

As part of the procedure the community leaders sought permission from the local administration, represented by the Deputy Commissioner of the Gazipur district, and requested the Inspector General of the Bangladesh Police to tighten the security of the venue during the convention.

On 24 January, the Office of the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Gazipur district issued a letter granting permission for the proposed convention at the booked venue at the Bahadurpur Rover Scout Camping Ground for the three days’ convention. The community made the necessary payments in advance to the authorities of the venue after the permission from the Gazipur district administration was granted for hosting the programme.

On 5 February, the senior leaders of the community met the DC Md. Kamal Uddin Talukder and the Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) of Joydevpur Circle Mr. Nuruzzaman of the Gazipur district in person and presented them each with the Holy Qura’an. At that time the officials gave no indication of any fear of the deterioration of the law and order or objection of the local inhabitants.

By the morning of 6 February, on the first day of the three day convention, around eight thousand followers arrived in the venue while three thousand people were about to join within a few hours (Please see the photo-1 and photo-2 of the venue here).

At around 10am an ASP named Mr. Zaman came in force to their venue and asked them to leave the place immediately by saying that the Office of the DC of Gazipur cancelled permission, which had been granted 13 days earlier, and imposed Section 144 (of the Code of Criminal Procedure-1898) following “objection from the local people” regarding the programme of the Ahmadiyya community (See photo here). The police, behaving very rudely, switched off the sound system during the ongoing ceremony.

In the midst of the police pressure for evacuating the venue, Mr. Motahar Ahamed Chowdhury, an executive committee member of the Ahmadiyya community, called on the cell phone no. +880173003489 of the DC, who confirmed that he cancelled the permission by saying that he was “surrounded” by Moulanas to cancel the permission.

A delegation of the Ahmadiyya community communicated with the top level decision-makers of the government, however, the influential authorities suggested the delegation to “fix another date” without helping the community to hold to its scheduled programme. The community leaders did not have an alternative but postponing their religious programme as a result of the administrative decision over the cancellation.

Following repeated requests from the Ahmadiyya community’s leaders to provide an official prove regarding the cancellation of their programme the Gazipur district administration gave two official circulars at around 5pm on 6 February. In the official circular, signed by the DC of Gazipur district Mr. Md. Kamal Uddin Talukder, who is the ex-officio District Magistrate, claimed that at 12 noon on 6 February cancelled the permission by the power bestowed upon him according to Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure-1898. Mr. Md. Kamal Uddin Talukder claims that “due to the fear of deterioration of the law and order in the area all movement, entry, activities against the law and order was ordered banned until any further order”. The circular also mentioned that “any person except a member of the law-enforcing agent violates the order shall be liable for punishment under Section 188 of the Penal Code” (of 1860).

The Ahmadiyya community’s head of the convention organizing committee Mir Mobassher Ali claims in a written statement that the host community’s leaders followed due process to organise their annual convention. As a “non-political and peace-loving community” they selected an isolated place as their venue, which is less-populated and inaccessible to the outsiders, in order to hold comprehensive discussions on their religious norms, standards and feelings among the followers to be gathered from all parts of the country. The local people, including a Member of Parliament and other local government bodies, were cooperating with them and the atmosphere was absolutely non-violent on the eve of the convention. Mir Mobassher alleges that the Gazipur district administration cancelled the permission without any reasonable ground or visible symptom in favour of the cancellation as claimed that there was “fear of deterioration of the law and order in the area”.

The leaders of the community alleges that “the local administration surrendered to a segment of the fundamentalist” denying their constitutionally enshrined right. They claim that around fifty persons chanted slogans demanding the cancellation of the convention (Ahmadiyya) while five Mollahs met the DC and insisted that he impose Section 144 (of the Code of Criminal Procedure-1898).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Freedom of religion is protected as one of the fundamental rights of the citizens in the Constitution of Bangladesh. Article 41 (1) enshrines freedom of religion, as it reads:

“Subject to law, public order and morality -
(a)
every citizen has the right to profess, practice or propagate any religion;
(b)
every religious community or denomination has the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.”

Besides, any discrimination is prohibited in the constitution as fundamental rights. The Article 28 (1) of the Constitution of Bangladesh reads:

“The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race caste, sex or place of birth”.

Bangladesh is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). According to Article 18 of the ICCPR,

“Subject to law, public order and morality -
“1.
Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
2.
No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
3.
Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
4.
The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.”

Moreover, the Constitution of Bangladesh in Article 37 enshrines the freedom of assembly, which reads:

“Every citizen shall have the right to assemble and to participate in public meetings and processions peacefully and without arms, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of public order health.”

According to Article 21 of the ICCPR:

“The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

As a State-party to the ICCPR and due to specific provision of the country’s constitution Bangladesh has international and constitutional obligation to protect the rights of the religious minority communities.

ADDITIONAL COMMENT:

The action of the Gazipur district administration raises question as to why the authority suddenly cancelled the permission for holding the convention of the Ahmadiyya community, which initiated the process more than a month before the latter’s proposed programme. The authorities officially conduct an intelligence survey and verification regarding the proposed public meetings and gatherings prior to granting permission to the hosts of the programme. In this case if it is generally understood that the Gazipur district authority did their job following the required procedure, then the question of the credibility comes due to the sudden cancellation of the programme.

The police arrived at the venue at 10am to evacuate the venue occupied by the organizers and participants of the Ahmadiyya community by informing that the programme had been cancelled by the administration. On the contrary, the ex-officio District Magistrate of Gazipur claims in his official circular that “at 12 noon on 6 February” the order had been issued regarding restriction on entry, movement and gathering at the Rover Scout Camping ground until further order. It raises question that whether the authority intervened into the programme prior to passing the order or the police abused their power due any influence or not?

Moreover, the failure of the decision-making authorities of the government to ensure necessary security arrangements to allow the Ahmadiyya community to hold its pre-scheduled programme represents the mindset of the government regarding the freedom of the religious minority communities in the country.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the authorities below asking that they immediately investigate into the case by competent officials and ensure the right to freedom of religion and assembly be guaranteed immediately. Those found to have been involved in the cancellation process without a reasonable ground must be prosecuted without delay. The community must be afforded adequate compensation and protection from any further harassment and threats from state and non-state agents.

Please note that the Asian Human Rights Commission has written separate letters to the UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues requesting his prompt interventions in this case.

To support this appeal, please click here: Send an Appeal Letter

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

BANGLADESH: Right to freedom of religion and public assembly of Ahmadiyya community must be protected

Name of victim: Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Bangladesh
Names of the alleged perpetrators:
1.
Mr. Md. Kamal Uddin Talukder, Deputy Commissioner of Gazipur district
2.
Mr. Nuruzzaman, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) of the Joydevpur Circle, Gazipur district
4.
Mr. Zaman, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Gazipur district
5.
Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Joydevpur police station, Gazipur district
Date of incident: 6 February 2011
Place of incident: Rover Scout Camping Centre, Gazipur

I am writing to raise my voice regarding the cancellation of the 87th Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Bangladesh in a sudden manner on 6 February 2011 on the first day of a three day long programme. The actions of the Gazipur district and police administration appear to be a complete failure of the government to protect the freedom of religion and assembly without any substantial reason.

I have received information that the community booked a venue at the Rover Scouts Camping Centre’s ground at Bahadurpur, under the jurisdiction of the Joydevpur police station in Gazipur district. Following the procedure the community leaders sought permission from the Deputy Commissioner of the Gazipur district as the local administrative authority. They also requested the Inspector General of the Bangladesh Police to tighten the security of the venue during the convention.

On 24 January, the Office of the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Gazipur district granted permission for the proposed convention at the booked venue at the Bahadurpur Rover Scout Camping Ground for the three day convention. The community made necessary payments as advance to the authorities of the venue after the permission from the Gazipur district administration for hosting the programme.

On 5 February, the senior leaders of the community met the DC Md. Kamal Uddin Talukder and the Additional Superintendent of Police Mr. Nuruzzaman of the Gazipur district in person and presented them the Holy Qura’an each. At that time the officials did not talk about any fear of deterioration of the law and order or objection of the local inhabitants.

By the morning of 6 February around eight thousand followers arrived in the venue while three thousand people were about to join within few hours. It has been alleged by the community that at around 10am an Assistant Superintendent of Police named Mr. Zaman came in force to their venue and asked them to leave the place immediately by saying that “the local inhabitants objected” the programme of the Ahmadiyya community. The police, behaving very rudely, switched off the sound system during the ongoing ceremony.

In the midst of the police pressure for evacuating the venue, Mr. Motahar Ahamed Chowdhury, an executive committee member of the Ahmadiyya community, called on the cell phone no. +880173003489 of the DC. I have been informed that the DC confirmed that he cancelled the permission by saying that he was “surrounded” by Moulanas to cancel the permission, which means that the administration exercises legal power arbitrarily instead of reasonable and lawful grounds.

The Asian Human Rights Commission has informed me that it observed that the police arrived at the venue at 10am to evacuate the venue occupied by the organizers and participants of the Ahmadiyya community by informing that the programme had been cancelled by the administration. On the contrary, the ex-officio District Magistrate of Gazipur claims in his official circular that “at 12 noon on 6 February” the order had been issued regarding restriction on entry, movement and gathering at the Rover Scout Camping ground until further order. It raises question that whether the authority intervened into the programme prior to passing the order or the police abused their power due any influence or not?

According to the information the selected venue for the programme was an isolated place, which is less-populated and inaccessible to the outsiders, in order to hold comprehensive discussions on their religious norms, standards and feelings among the followers to be gathered from all parts of the country. The local people, including Member of Parliament and other local government bodies, were cooperating with them and the atmosphere was non-violent on the eve of the convention.

I have learned that a delegation of the Ahmadiyya community communicated with the top level decision-makers of the government, however, the influential authorities suggested the delegation to “fix another date” without helping the community to hold to the scheduled programme.

I am aware that freedom of religion is protected as one of the fundamental rights of the citizens in the Constitution of Bangladesh under Article 41 (1).

I am also aware that any discrimination is prohibited in the constitution as fundamental rights according to Article 28 (1) of the Constitution of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and has international obligation to protect the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion in compliance with Article 18 of the ICCPR.

While the Constitution of Bangladesh in Article 37 enshrines the freedom of assembly it very shocking that the government fails to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens as it also fails to fulfill its international obligation under Article 21 of the ICCPR.

The action of the Gazipur district administration raises question that why the authority suddenly cancelled the permission of holding the convention of the Ahmadiyya community, which initiated the process more than a month before the latter’s proposed programme. The authorities conduct intelligence survey and verification regarding the proposed public meetings and gatherings prior to granting permission to the hosts of the programme. In this case if it is generally understood that the Gazipur district authority did their job following the required procedure, then the question of the credibility comes due the cancellation of the programme all of a sudden.

Moreover, the failure of the decision-making authorities of the government to ensure necessary security arrangements to allow the Ahmadiyya community to hold its pre-scheduled programme represents the mindset of the government regarding the freedom of the religious minority communities in the country.

The authorities must initiate a thorough investigation regarding the matter and take necessary lawful actions against the alleged perpetrators immediately. The community must be compensated for the loss due to the governmental decisions and should immediately be allowed to hold their programmes with freedom in compliance with the international standards.

The religious tolerance is a must in a democracy, which Bangladesh claims to be before the international community, and the government can never deny its constitutional obligation to protect the right to freedom of religion and public assembly of all citizens of the country beyond any discrimination.

I look forward for your urgent intervention into this matter.

Yours sincerely,

______________________
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mrs. Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Prime Minister
Tejgaon, Dhaka
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 811 3244 / 3243 / 1015 / 1490
Tel: +880 2 882 816 079 / 988 8677
E-mail: pm@pmo.gov.bd or ps1topm@pmo.gov.bd or psecy@pmo.gov.bd

2. Mr. A. B. M. Khairul Haque
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Supreme Court Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 5058 /+880 2 7161344
Tel: +880 2 956 2792
E-mail: chief@bdcom.com or supremec@bdcom.com

3. Barrister Shafique Ahmed
Minister
Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 7160627 (O)
Fax: +880 2 7168557 (O)
Email: info@minlaw.gov.bd

4. Ms. Sahara Khatun MP
Minister
Ministry of Home Affairs
Bangladesh Secretariat
Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 7169069 (O)
Fax: +880 2 7160405, 880 2 7164788 (O)
E-mail: minister@mha.gov.bd

5. Mr. Mahbubey Alam
Attorney General of Bangladesh
Office of the Attorney General
Supreme Court Annex Building
Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 1568
Tel: +880 2 956 2868

6. Prof. Mizanur Rahman
Chairman
National Human Rights Commission
6/3 Lalmatia, Block-D
Dhaka-1207
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 9137740
Fax: +880 2 9137743
E-mail: nhrc.bd@gmail.com

7. Mr. Hassan Mahmud Khandker
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
Bangladesh Police
Police Headquarters'
Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363
Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / +880 2 717 6451 / +880 2 717 6677
E-mail: ig@police.gov.bd

8. Mr. Asaduzzaman Mian
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG)
Dhaka Range
Office of the DIG of Dhaka Range
Shegun Bagicha, Ramna, Dhaka-1000
BANGLADESH
Tel: +880 2 8353926 (O)
Fax: +880 2 8315838 (O)
E-mail: digdhaka@police.gov.bd

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (ua@ahrc.asia)

Source:  
www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2010/3670/
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