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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  August, 2004  Police thwart anti-Ahmadiyya plan
Police thwart anti-Ahmadiyya plan

The Daily Star
Vol. 5 Num 96Sun. August 29, 2004


Police thwart anti-Ahmadiyya plan
Government can be effective if it so chooses

A job well done. There can be no other words to describe the performance of the law enforcement authorities who, together with civil society members, foiled plans by religious extremists to capture the Ahmadiyya headquarters in Bakshibazar on Friday. The police and state minister for home affairs had pledged to ensure the security of the Ahmadiyyas in the face of the extremist threat, and through diligent work and firm action, they kept their word. We felicitate them.

It goes to show that when the government is determined to maintain law and order, and to protect the security of a community under threat, that it can do so. Previous agitations against the Ahmadiyyas have often been successful, with the police claiming that they were helpless to intervene or virtually taking the side of the extremists, all in the name of keeping the peace.

We hope that the government has now learned that to take steps to appease and accommodate extremists is no way to keep the peace. The government’s primary responsibility is to uphold the law and to protect its citizens, and to permit lawlessness and violence is to invite disorder and chaos.

In addition to their repeated attempts to capture Ahmadiyya mosques and to harass members of the community, the anti-Ahmadiyya agitators have also often threatened dire consequences for the government and the country if their demands to have the Ahmadiyyas declared non-Muslim are not met. The government cannot tolerate this kind of anti-democratic dissent.

One of the reasons the government has been so slow to reign in the anti-Ahmadiyya extremists is their connection with parties aligned with the government. Indeed, astonishingly, some of the threats to law and order have come from those who are part of the ruling alliance.

The government can no longer brook this kind of rabble-rousing on the part of its coalition partners. The use of religion to foment trouble has gone on long enough. The government must deal with this kind of extremism with an iron fist -- we can no longer afford to tolerate either bigotry or lawlessness.

We hope that Friday’s welcome police action is a sign that the government has come to the same conclusion.

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