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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  October, 2005  The bigots are …
The bigots are out, again

New Age, Bangladesh
Dhaka, Sunday, October 2, 2005
The bigots are out, again

The appalling nature of the weaknesses the authorities suffer from when confronted with serious challenges has become clear once more. On Friday, the rabid elements of the Khatme Nabuwat organisation, a body whose single purpose appears to be to whip up sectarian chaos in the country, reiterated their demands that the already beleaguered Ahmadiyya community be declared non-Muslim by parliamentary fiat. The bigots who have been engaged in such nefarious activities have set December 23 as their deadline and have even gone to the extent of warning the government that they can make it fall in an hour if they so desire. Now, when the authorities have
Given the soft handling of these bigots, it becomes important to ask if the government is not exactly in a mood of appeasement of individuals clearly out to upset social order in the country.
for months and years been accusing their political rivals of indulging in all sorts of conspiratorial activities, it makes sense to ask why they have refrained from taking action against the fanatics who have been making direct threats against religious harmony and political order in the country. This newspaper, along with a large number of others, has consistently argued in defence of the right of all citizens to the freedom of their choice. We have always believed in the constitutional right of people to uphold their own beliefs and we have regularly put it across that anyone who tampers with the religiosity of others should be harshly dealt with.

   In the past year, the Khatme Nabuwat has been engaged in severely damaging the image of this country through the relentlessness with which it has gone after the Ahmadiyya community. It is indeed strange that where the Ahmadiyyas have given no provocation to any quarter for everything bad that has been done to them, these elements of bigotry in the Khatme Nabuwat have found all kinds of lame excuses to harass the community. The bigger outrage is the inaction of the authorities where dealing with these purveyors of chaos is concerned. Where the police have been seen to go enthusiastically into the business of roughing up opposition activists on the streets, in the case of the religious bigots it has performed the very suspicious role of being silent bystanders. On Friday, when the bigots took control of a large part of Tejgaon industrial area as part of their programme to ‘capture’ (note the incendiary terminology being applied here by the fanatics) a mosque nearby, all that the police did was to cordon off an entire stretch of road for three hours to allow the fanatics to hold their rally and thereby put thousands of commuters to misery. Given the soft handling of these bigots, it becomes important to ask if the government is not exactly in a mood of appeasement of individuals clearly out to upset social order in the country. If the authorities are hamstrung in the carrying out of their activities toward restoring order, the nation needs to know what constraints keep their hands tied. In a situation where the rise of Islamic extremism has now led the police and other security forces into a search, however flawed, for men out to create political disorder, one finds it mysterious that the anti-Ahmadiyya elements are not being made to face the law.

   That raises another, more ominous question: to what extent might foreign elements, especially those believing in a fanatical order of faith and based abroad, be involved in the funding and activities of the bigots here? The slow but sure discovery that a number of Islamic organisations based in the Middle East may have been involved in shoring up the finances of Muslim militants here now leads us to ask who precisely are the people behind the audacity of the Khatme Nabuwat as it goes about preaching sectarian hatred and political lawlessness in the country. If the government goes on looking the other way, it may soon find that it has become hostage to a bunch of rabble rousers who base their lives on hate for those who do not share their sinister thoughts.

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