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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  January, 2004  Ahmadiyyas to fight it out in court
Ahmadiyyas to fight it out in court

The Daily Star
Vol. 4 Num 224Sun. January 11, 2004

Front Page

Ban on books
Ahmadiyyas to fight it out in court
Staff Correspondent

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Bangladesh will go for a legal battle against the government ban on all their publications after they receive the order to this effect.

“We have not yet received the government order. Once we receive it, we will go to court,” said Tareq Mobasser, an Ahmadiyya spokesman.

“We will file a writ with the High Court against the ban, which infringes on our rights of religion and non-discrimination on ground of religion, freedom of speech, thought and conscience as enshrined in the constitution,” he said.

Tareq made it clear the Ahmadiyyas will not resort to any violent protest. “Having full trust in and respect for the country’s law, we, as peace-loving citizens, will do everything within the limits of law.”

The government imposed the ban on Thursday in view of what it said was objectionable materials in Ahmadiyya publications that “hurt or might hurt the sentiments of the majority Muslims of Bangladesh”.

The ban is viewed as the first step towards declaring Ahmadiyyas non-Muslim. It was imposed after religious bigots represented mainly by Islami Oikya Jote, a constituent of the ruling coalition, launched a campaign with Hifazate Khatme Nabuwat Andolon (HKNA) to force the government declare Ahmadiyyas non-Muslim.

Brushing aside any plan for street agitation to press the government to withdraw the ban, Tareq said, “We came under attacks at different times since the independence but never opted for any violent protest.”

He went on, “Our Caliph Mirza Masroor Ahmad has strongly instructed us to keep faith in Allah and not to violate the law of the land.”

Despite deployment of police, Ahmadiyya families at Nakhalpara in Tejgaon, who came under repeated attempts by the HKNA to drive them away, are passing their days in utter insecurity. They fear further attacks as a two-day ‘mahfil’ organised by the HKNA is set to begin today near Nakhalpara Ahmadiyya mosque.

“Although we were not attacked since the ban was imposed, we apprehend attacks,” Tareq said. “Members from our 150 branches across the country are calling at our central office to know what to do if the HKNA men attack them, encouraged by the government ban.”

Leaders of Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee yesterday visited the central Ahmadiyya office at Bakshibazar in the capital and said they will make all efforts to ensure their freedom of religion.

Prof Kabir Chowdhury, president of advisory parishad of the committee, said conscientious people will protest violent attacks and torture in the name of Islam on a peace-loving and innocent sect like Ahmadiyyas.

Shahriar Kabir, acting president of the committee, assured the Ahmadiyya leaders of cooperation in publishing a white paper on pre-planned torture on their men by extremists, fundamentalists and fanatics under political banner.

Leaders of the 11-party combine yesterday demanded immediate withdrawal of the ban on Ahmadiyya publications.

In a press release, the combine said the BNP-Jamaat coalition government is infringing on the rights of minority communities in a planned way.

The government took the abhorrent decision not to protect Islam but to satisfy bigots in the four-party ruling alliance, it said.

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