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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  April, 2005  Fanatics at it again
Fanatics at it again

The Daily Star
Vol. 5 Num 312Tue. April 12, 2005


Fanatics at it again
The govt must take a firm stand

The Ahmaddiyas in Shyamnagar upazila of Satkhira district have sought government protection in the face of eviction threat issued by the International Khatame Nabuat Movement (IKNM) — an outfit campaigning for declaration of the Ahmaddiya community as non-Muslim. The IKNM has distributed leaflets asking them to leave the place. This amounts to incitement of violence against a community, and should therefore be regarded as a culpable offence in the eye of law.

The local administration has assured the Ahmaddiyas reeling under threats that necessary steps would be taken to protect them. The government can not view this as an ordinary law and order situation, rather it should treat the issue as one having a direct bearing on the constitutional and legal rights of citizens to pursue their faith. Clearly, the situation has become complex enough with the followers of IKNM and other like-minded parties being undeterred in their mission against the Ahmaddiyas. This degeneration has a lot to do with the placatory attitude of the ruling coalition marked by their imposition of the ban on Ahmaddiya publications. That surely emboldened the bigots with a persecution mentality. Then there was another outrage over whether the members of the community had the right to use the term mosque to describe their place of prayer. The failure to be tough on the elements seeking to strip the Ahmaddiyas of their rights has created a situation where the fanatic elements are renewing the same threats against the community. The Shyamnagar situation indicates that the vilification campaign has been revived yet again.

The nearly 4,000 Ahmaddiyas in Shyamnagar are reported to be passing their days amid great uncertainty and a sense of insecurity. The government will be well-advised to immediately activate its law enforcing agencies and neutralise the elements posing a threat peace. It is a question of safeguarding the rights of a section of people being relentlessly targeted by a fanatic group.

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