Letters to Editor
Rein in the fanatics
Dr. Tanweer Akram, Columbia Pike, Arlington, USA
Thank you for your front page news item, Anti-Ahmadia group gives one-week deadline to govt [The Daily Star, December 6, 2003]. My attention has been drawn to the anti-Ahmadia groups ultimatum to the Bangladesh government to declare the Ahmadia community as non-Muslims.
It is abhorrent to hold that the state should be in the business of deciding who is a Muslim or who is not, or for that matter who is a Hindu or who is a non-Hindu, or who is a Jew or who is a non-Jew, and so forth. The state should not have any position on the religious identity of its citizens. Every person and every group, irrespective of their religious conviction, should be free to practise his or her religion and religious beliefs. Bangladesh is a state of its citizens.
I find it appalling that Mohammed Mamtaji and his associates are calling for jihad against the Ahmadia community and have openly threatened Ahmadias with arson. Mr. Mamataji and his cohorts are disgrace to the Muslim community because their actions violate the cardinal Islamic values of tolerance, mutual acceptance, religious freedom, theological diversity and dissidence. They should be widely condemned for inciting violence. Those who preach hatred between Shias and Sunnis, between Muslims and Hindus, or between any religious and ethnic groups are the most harmful and vile people on earth.
To pander to such people is a crime against humanity. The Bangladesh authorities need to ensure that such activities to incite violence and take over the property of a religious community are immediately stopped. As a people, we have a collective responsibility to protect the rights of all communities in Bangladesh.