Religious Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  January, 2004  Raw Deal For Ahmadiyas
Raw Deal For Ahmadiyas

The Bangladesh Observer
Sunday, January 11, 2003Internet Edition  

Raw Deal For Ahmadiyas

So the government is showing its true colours. It now sheds the pretences it once used to have to demonstrate where lies its sympathy and how it wants to advance the anti-Liberation and communal causes. The ban on all Ahmadyia publications in the country comes as a shock and dismay to people believing in man’s human and religious rights and also in the spirit of secularism. So far a few religious fundamentalist groups aligned with the ruling coalition have been demanding that the Ahmadiya sect be declared non-Muslims. That the community was guilty of wrongly interpreting the holy Quran and Islam was hardly an issue.

All on a sudden the government takes the decision to impose a ban on all their publications, according to its own version, for maintaining peace in society. What a lame excuse! The government fears disturbance. Pray, from whom? Certainly not from the Ahmadiyas. They are not the aggressors, rather they need protection from the zealots who have attacked their mosques and property a number of times only recently. Accepted that they have no right to wrongly translate the holy Quran. Without going into the theological debate, we would like to point out that rendering translation in different languages at times misses the original meaning. It happens in case of literature, more so in poetry. And who does not know that the Quran is a superb form of poetry?

The fundamental issue here is if the Ahmadyias are misinterpreting the holy book deliberately and undermining it. Then there is no justification for banning all their publications. If they have a few differences with the majority Muslims on certain religious questions, it is none of their fault. It is because God has wanted them to be so. There are other sectarian divides among the Muslims—the chief of them being the Shiite and Sunni. Should the two be at each other’s throat because they do not fully conform to each other’s beliefs? Is this not taking one’s religious liberty and restricting the other’s too far? Why cannot leave the Ahmadiyas alone? If they have a belief that does not conform to the one the majority give credence to, this should not give one sleepless nights. The important thing is to perform religious rites and duties as perfectly as possible according to one’s own knowledge and belief. There can be no question of imposition. Of course, there is room for persuasion, piety and helping one to get corrected.

The government has played in the hands of the fundamentalists who will now feel encouraged to drive the Ahamadiyas out of the country. A number of constitutional experts have raised their voice, terming the move a violation of the sect’s constitutional rights. If a religious community of a mere one lakh strength can be subjected to such religious persecution, the scenario is not hard to contemplate where the whole community will be made personae non grata. Then it is not hard to imagine what follows next. If one community is got rid of thus, what treatment can people of other beliefs can expect? Are they not infidels in the eyes of these agents of Islam? As a religion of peace Islam firmly favours the defence of other beliefs as well. The government is mixing religion with constitutional governance—a thing it must not do. Its constitutional obligation must not be overtaken by religious consideration. If such concessions are allowed, it will see no end to demands posing a grave threat to the country’s basic character and even existence.

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