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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  March, 2005  Targeting the Ahmadiyyas
Targeting the Ahmadiyyas

Dhaka Courier
Online Version Vol. 21 Issue 3418 March 2005
Main> Cover

Targeting the Ahmadiyyas

There is a clear danger to the state at this point. The danger comes from men who have decided to define religion for the country. The more disturbing part of the story is that some people in the administration, such as sections of the police, seem to be involved in the process. The outrageous way in which some policemen acquiesced before some fanatics in Bogra last week by agreeing to put up a sign designed by the bigots on an Ahmadiyya mosque says something sinister. It should have been the job of the law enforcers to enforce the law. Instead, what they were doing in Bogra was to compound matters by clearly violating the rights of the Ahmadiyya community. The question here is not one of who is or is not a Muslim. It is one of a silent, peaceful body of worshippers becoming the target of unprovoked attacks by fanatics whose motives are obviously the creation of a bad law and order situation in the country. It is such motives which have been condoned by the Bogra police. It is now for the government to come up with an explanation of why the police in Bogra chose to act in a way that was clearly partisan.

But that is not the end of the story. Here in the capital, a well-orchestrated campaign has been going on under the aegis of the self-styled Khatme Nabuwat Movement. It has been known to all that the outfit has been whipping up communal sentiment against the Ahmadiyyas in the last few months. But what happened in Dhaka on Friday is clearly portentous. The khatib of Baitul Mukarram, the national mosque, has now made his position clear. He is of the view that the Ahmadiyyas should be declared non-Muslims. Under what law and by what right he has chosen to act in such a manner is unknown to us. But for the country as a whole, it is a clear provocation on his and his followers’ part. It is morally indefensible that men who try to plunge the country into religious or communal disorder should be at the helm of such important bodies or places of worship as Baitul Mukarram. What the khatib has done is to send out the very wrong message that a mosque, a place where the glory of the Almighty is praised and His blessings sought, can at the whims of individuals be turned into a platform for religious and political chaos. The khatib and his friends have gone further by making it clear that they will not accept any ruling by the highest judiciary on the issue of the Ahmadiyyas. That is not only an outrage but also a plain and clear threat to the authority of the state. No government with self-esteem can afford to look away from such grossly bad behaviour on the part of individuals, no matter how well-placed or influential they might be. We hope the authorities, especially at the ministry of home, will deal swiftly with the matter.

It is important that those fishing in troubled waters are dealt with in exemplary manner. Anyone in the administration who condones the actions of the bigots should be penalised in the country’s interest.

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