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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  March, 2005  Fresh onslaught on Ahmadiyyas imminent
Fresh onslaught on Ahmadiyyas imminent

The Daily Star
Vol. 5 Num 279Thu. March 10, 2005


Fresh onslaught on Ahmadiyyas imminent

Time for the government to back up its words

The anti-Ahmadiyya bigots are once again on the move and March 11 has been slated as the day for action. The Rajshahi branch of the International Khatme Nabuwat Movement has announced its plans to lay siege to Ahmadiyya mosques in Bogra that day, meanwhile the Gaibandha branch has declared a similar programme against the Ahmadiyya establishments in that locality.

In addition, the anti-Ahmadiyya forces have been holding processions and rallies all over the northern districts of Bangladesh for the past week, spewing hatred, demanding that the Ahmadiyyas be declared non-Muslims, and laying the groundwork for their agitation on Friday.

The government recently announced that it is finally going to take the issue of religious extremism seriously. It has banned the extremist JMJB and JMB organisations and begun to arrest some of their leaders and activists. The government’s turn-around on extremists was welcome, since it had spent so much time denying that there was a problem in the country.

March 11 is a chance for the government to show that it really means business when it comes to stamping out religious extremism in any form or shape. The government must take a stand on Friday to show that there is zero tolerance for religious bigotry and violence. The anti-Ahmadiyya movement is fueled by bigotry that makes a mockery of our constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion, it has committed and continues to threaten violence and disorder, and it has committed and continues to threaten to commit serious crimes against both the Ahmadiyya community and against the peace.

Standing firm against the extremists and ensuring the safety and security of the Ahmadiyya community and their mosques is only the first step. The government should take the initiative to reverse its ban on Ahmadiyya publications which has only encouraged and emboldened the bigots, and it should think about banning the anti-Ahmadiyya groups who have been guilty of violent crime and continue to show their disregard for the constitution, the law, and the principles of democracy.

This would send the message that the government is really serious about combating religious extremism and violence and crime committed in the name of religion.

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