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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  June, 2005  Bigotry in Brahmanbaria
Bigotry in Brahmanbaria

New Age, Bangladesh
Dhaka, Sunday, June 26, 2005
Bigotry in Brahmanbaria

The nation’s image, before us and before the outside world, has taken a fresh new battering. This time it has been in Brahmanbaria, where religious fanatics have bombed two and torched one Ahmadiyya mosques in the town. Only last week, a conference in London, one that was not taken kindly to by the government, made a pointed reference to the persecution the community in question has been going through in this country. One would have thought the authorities, in the face of all the criticism it has been coming in for over its silent stance on the Ahmadiyya issue, would have moved to douse the flames. That they have not is a matter of intense regret. What has happened in Brahmanbaria is definitive proof of how the fanatics in our midst, the elements grouped under the so-called Khatme Nabuwat, remain determined to push the country into a state of sectarian chaos. It is something that sends endless streams of fear down the nation’s sensibilities.

   In recent months, the treatment that has been meted out to the Ahmadiyya community is something that reminds one of the callousness which defined the attitude of the powerful in medieval times. Over the months, the Khatme Nabuwat, probably as a result of influence being exercised from quarters within as well as outside the country (and this is something that calls for thorough investigation), has been getting increasingly emboldened in its moves to have the Ahmadiyyas declared as non-Muslims. Not very long ago, a news report in a local daily chose to draw national attention to the concerted campaign that Nabuwat men, especially their leading lights, have been carrying out as part of a plan to run Ahmadiyyas into the ground. It has been suggested that many of the powerful men behind the anti-Ahmadiyya agitation have visited places outside the country, notably in Pakistan, only to return home even more fired up in their zeal to create difficulties for the Ahmadiyyas. One wonders to what extent the government, especially its intelligence organisations, has probed these allegations. If it has not so far, it must begin doing the job now. No one can fail to see that because of the pusillanimity of the authorities, these elements promoting hatred and religious disturbances through the Khatme Nabuwat and other such outfits have by now done a whole lot of damage to our social fabric. No one should be lulled into the thought that these forces of darkness are operating on their own. Their strength, physical as well as financial, lies elsewhere. It is inconceivable that without the powerful backing of forces inside as also outside the country they can have operated with such impunity.

   The administration has a job before itself, in terms of the law. That is to provide security to all citizens of the land. At the same time, it is the duty of the administration to ensure that those who break the law should be dealt with harshly. The troublemakers in Brahmanbaria, by that measure, must face the law. With such elements getting a free hand, we simply cannot pretend that outsiders are badmouthing us for no reason at all.

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