Film on persecution to be screened at House of Lords
Babar assures them of rights
The government yesterday assured the Ahmadiyyas that it will do everything necessary to uphold the democratic and fundamental rights of the sect.
The government assurance came two days before a documentary on Ahmadiyya persecution in Bangladesh to be screened at the British House of Lords on July 20.
A question-answer session and discussion on human rights condition in Bangladesh will follow the screening of the documentary ‘Muslim or Heretics’. Nayeem Mohaimen, a Bangladeshi citizen, has made the film.
Sources said the House of Lords might also adopt a resolution regarding the Ahmadiyya persecution.
After the successful completion of June 17 European human rights conference on Bangladesh, the steering committee of the conference has arranged the screening. The film contains detailed account of tortures on Ahmadiyyas and capture of their mosques over the last three and a half years of BNP-led alliance government.
State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar yesterday gave the sect assurances when a delegation of the Ahmadiyyas met him at his office. He offered his sympathy for attacks on them and praised the sect leaders for exercising restraint in the face of continuous aggression.
“Hearing about torture on our community across the country, the minister has assured us that he will take steps to redress wrongs done to them and make sure that no such attacks take place in future,” Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Bangladesh Secretary Rezaul Karim told The Daily Star.
He said the minister is of the opinion that a group is getting funds to carry out atrocities on the Ahmadiyyas.
On the anti-Ahmadiyya campaigners’ demand for government move declaring the Ahmadiyyas non-Muslim, Home Secretary Safar Raj Hossain said the Constitution does not provide for declaring anyone non-Muslim. “It is possible in Pakistan since the country is an Islamic Republic. But as ours is a democratic republic, it is simply not possible here,” he added.
The Ahmadiyya leaders demanded the authorities take measures to free four of their mosques now in control of the religious bigots. They also demanded that the zealots’ signboards posted on the Ahmadiyya mosques in Bogra and Khulna be pulled down.
Stressing the need for more interactions between the sect leaders and the police, the minister asked the police authorities for taking steps at the beginning of any move against the Ahmadiyyas so that the situation cannot go out of control.
AMJB National Amir Mobasher-ur-Rahman led the delegation that included among others Nayeb-e-Amir Dr Tariq Saiful Islam.
The European Human Rights Conference on Bangladesh on June 17 reminded the Bangladesh government that the ban slapped on Ahmadiyya publication in January, 2004 must be lifted, Ahmadiyya mosques must be restored to the community, and equal rights ensured for the Ahmadiyyas and other minorities in employment and delivery of public services of Bangladesh.
A special hearing was held on the human rights condition in Bangladesh at the House of Lords on June 23.
A press release of the Bangladesh Conference 2005 Steering Committee said last week the foundations of democracy itself are threatened by the wave of violence against ethnic and religious minorities, secularists, and even development NGOs in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, a 25-member steering committee of 18 international rights organisations plans a South Asian human rights conference in mid-October.
Unfortunately when Home Minister was assuring protection to Ahmadiyya Community in Bangladesh, another violent mob attacked Ahmadiyya Mosque in Uttara.