World News > EU urges Bangla government to protect minorities:
[World News] Dhaka, Aug 26
A day ahead of an ultimatum given by hardline Islamist organisations in Bangladesh to lay siege to the headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, a religious minority group, European diplomats Thursday urged the government to protect minorities.
All EU heads of mission represented in Dhaka called on Bangladesh Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan and expressed concern over the possible attack on the Ahmadiyya people on Friday.
The EU heads of mission are concerned about the expected siege of the central mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in Dhaka on August 27 as announced by some religio-political groups, said Dutch Ambassador and head of EU missions in Dhaka, Kees Beemsterboer after a meeting with the foreign minister.
He added that EU ambassadors urged the government to take necessary steps to protect the minorities.
The government is committed to protect the life and property of the Ahmadiyyas by any means, the foreign minister said.
Hardline Islamist groups have threatened to attack the Ahmadiyya headquarters at Bakshibazar in old Dhaka Aug 27 after the weekly prayers.
The Islamist hardliners have in the past attacked Ahmadiyya mosques in major cities.
Ahmadiyya leaders have urged the government to ensure their security following repeated attacks by a group of Sunnis.
We request the government to ensure our religious freedom and constitutional rights, said the national amir of the organisation, Jamaat Mir Mobassher.
The government had banned all kinds of publications of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat on Jan 8, 2004, under pressure from radical Islamic groups, but it evoked condemnation from home and abroad.
Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, a religious community which considers itself a sect of Islam, has been the target of a hate campaign organized by a number of radical Islamic groups in the country in recent months.
The radical groups have mobilized crowds to chant anti-Ahmadiyya slogans, sought confiscation of Ahmadi mosques and demanded that the government declare the sect non-Muslim.
The Ahmadiyya community in Bangladesh, about 100,000 in number, have been living in fear of being attacked since Oct 2003 when the anti-Ahmadiyya agitations began.
Indo-Asian News Service