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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  April, 2005  Will Persecution Of Ahmadiyas Continue
Will Persecution Of Ahmadiyas Continue

The Bangladesh Observer
Thursday, April 21, 2005Internet Edition  

Will Persecution Of Ahmadiyas Continue

It is time the government cleared its position on the Ahmadiya issue. Does it want to give up its constitutional responsibility to protect a minority sect under repeated attacks from the zealots? What is happening in Jatindranagar under Shyamnagar upazila, Satkhira should shame us all–the government more so. In a country where peaceful protesters are not allowed any space and brutalised by the police, thousands of armed religious fanatics are not only permitted to assemble together from different corners to intimidate, attack and otherwise bully the Ahmadiyas cloistered in their few concentrated settlements. Unless the government instruction is there, the police cannot set the pattern of tearing down the signboards of mosques to replace them with ‘upasanalaya’ (place of worship). Reports have it that the armed members of the Khatme Nabuat, an extremist religious outfit spearheading the campaign against the Ahmadiyas, have now targetted the Ahmadiyas for attack everywhere possible. A number of the sect’s houses have been ransacked, looted, a tin-roofed mosque pulled down and worst of all even women and children physically attacked. Surprisingly this happened under the nose of the police and the feared Rapib Action Battalion (RAB). The Ahmadiyas have now been barred from buying their daily necessaries from the local market. Their normal life has been seriously disrupted.

This is a clear indication of the government’s intention. The law enforcing agencies act according to the will of the parties in power. No denial by the government will prove its intention otherwise unless it act now against the fanatics who are scandalising Islam by exposing their aggressive and crude brand of religion which has nothing to do with what has been termed the religion of pace. They are in fact committing a crime in the name of religion and the government has become a party to it by default or extending a tacit support. This is outrageous and shameful. We fail to muster enough strong words to condemn the attack and the government role in this regard. Does it not cause any image crisis for the government now? It gives the impression that the Ahmadiyas are to blame firstly for being what they are and secondly for choosing to live in this country. Why don’t you straightway tell them to leave the country?

There is no end to what can happen when the policy of appeasement in matters of religious attacks is followed. When a government known for zero tolerance in case of Opposition demonstration suddenly turns so weak-kneed and capitulate in the face of previously declared attacks on a minority sect, it gives all the wrong signals to the perpetrators. Its fall-outs can be devastating. In nearby Harinagar, a scheduled religious ceremony called ‘Harinam Gagya’ (a Hindu ritual of prayer to the Almighty God) had to be cancelled in the face of repeated threats from the zealots. You allow religious intolerance an inch, it will capture the entire land. The fanatics will continue to press for more and more irrational demands. And here is a government that makes repeated claims that it is a land of religious peace and harmony. Acts of minority repression, according to it, are stray incidents. If this is not systematic persecution of the minorities, then what else? It is the same government that blames others for inflating news about minority repression and undermining the country’s image. The government should know that no one but itself does so by its own shameful acts. Let it punish the Khatme Nabuat for undermining Islam, physically attacking the Ahmadiyas and committing other atrocious criminal acts.

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