AFX News Limited
Bombs explode near Bangladesh mosque of Muslim minority - police
06.24.2005, 08:37 AM
DHAKA (AFX) - Dozens of small homemade bombs exploded Friday near a mosque in central Bangladesh belonging to the Ahmadiya Muslim minority, police said.
The Ahmadiyas are persecuted in Bangladesh by extremists from the majority Sunni community who want them declared ‘non-Muslim’ for not believing that Mohammed was necessarily the last prophet, according to human rights groups.
Police at Brahmanbaria said the explosions appear to be an attempt to frighten the town’s Ahmadiya population.
’Around 24 small homemade bombs went off in the early hours all around a hamlet where Ahmadiyas live,’ police superintendent ATM Tareq told Agence France-Presse. ‘We believe this was an attempt to cause panic among the Ahmadiyas.’
Tareq said another small explosive device detonated directly outside the Ahmadiya mosque, slightly injuring one man and one woman.
A small fire was also started in the roof of the mosque.
’Someone appears to have hurled a bamboo pole soaked in flammable liquid onto the roof of the mosque, although the fire was quickly detected and doused,’ he said
No one has had yet been arrested in connection with the blasts.
Earlier this month, New York-based Human Rights Watch released a report accusing the Khatme Nabuwat umbrella group of Sunni Muslim extremists and its allies of attacking Ahmadiya mosques. It said the extremists have also beaten and killed some Ahmadiyas.
In Jan 2004, the government banned Ahmadiya publications, saying the measure was necessary to avoid hurting the sentiments of the majority Sunni Muslim population. The ban has since been suspended by the High Court.
Bangladesh has witnessed sporadic violence since 1992 between the Ahmadiyas and hardliners from the Sunni community, including the killing of seven people in 1999 in a blast during prayers at an Ahmadiya mosque.
The Muslim-majority country has around 100,000 Ahmadiyas.