Dhaka, Sunday, May 30, 2004
Ahmadiyas blame external forces for igniting bigotry
Leaders of the Ahmadiya Muslim Jamaat on Saturday blamed external forces for backing the Islamist bigots to destroy communal harmony in the name of anti-Ahmadiya movement in Bangladesh.
At a Saturday news conference, they also said over 100,000 members of the Ahmadiya community were passing their days in utter disarray as the Islamist bigots continue threatening them across the country and the government kept silent.
We are afraid of the government policy as it seems to have bowed down to a handful of Islamist bigots, said Mir Mobassher Ali, nayeb-e-ameer of the Ahmadiya Muslim Jamaat, Bangladesh at the news conference in protest against the removal of Ahmadiyas signboard from a mosque by the police on Friday in Chittagong.
He said the Islamist extremists from India and Pakistan have been backing the bigots in Bangladesh since 1993. The anti-Ahmadiya movement in Bangladesh is deep rooted. There are many people behind the scene, said Mawlana Abdul Awal, central missionary of the sect, who spoke at the conference.
Some of the extremist leaders from Pakistan visited Bangladesh a few days ago to instigate the Khatme Nabuwat Bangladesh to launch anti-Ahmadiya campaign, claimed the leader.
Condemning the government imposed ban on the Ahmadiyas publications, the Jamaat leaders said the government has been playing a dubious role. They (government) ordered banning of the publication but did not publish a gazette in this regard.
It is our constitutional rights to practise religion, but the government curtailed the right by imposing the ban, said Awal, referring to the government ban of January 8, 2004 in the face of pressure from the Islamist radicals.
The leaders requested the government to uphold their fundamental right to exercise religious functions and withdraw the ban on their publications.
Following the ban, the Ahmadiya leaders said, the Muslim zealots, who demanded complete ban of the Ahmadiyas in Bangladesh, attacked mosques and residences of the community at many places.
He alleged that the law enforcing agencies also denied taking case against the attackers.
To a question, the Ahmadiya leader said a section of the Islamist bigots wanted to introduce Bangladesh as a fanatic country. We have been practising Islam in Bangladesh since 1912. None has declared us non-Muslim. Should we be declared non-Muslim during the regime of the four-party alliance government? questioned Awal.
Allah determines who is Muslim or who non-Muslim is, none but the Allah has the authority to certify a Muslim or non-Muslim, he said.
Asked whether they seek any international interference to resolve the crisis, the Ahmadiya leaders replied in the negative saying, We want to resolve local problem locally.