Ahmadiya meet banned amid threats by radicals
Published: Sunday, 21 May, 2006, 10:57 AM Doha Time
DHAKA: Police in an eastern Bangladesh town banned a religious assembly by a minority Muslim sect yesterday after suspected Islamic militants threatened to blow up the meeting venue, officials said.
Witnesses said huge contingents of police were deployed in the town of Brahmanbaria, some 200km east of the capital Dhaka, to enforce a prohibitory order against the annual religious ceremony by Ahmadiya Muslims.
The ban was imposed in the frontier town in the wake of threats by members of the militant Khatme Nabuyut movement which considers the Ahmadiyas religious outcasts.
Mufti Nurullah, chief of the town’s Jame Mosque and anti-Ahmadiya activist, called on the local authorities to stop the Salana Jalsa festival of the minority Muslim sect or face the wrath of Sunnis.
Tension was mounting in the town, which is inhabited by a large number of Ahmadiya (also known as Quadiani) families, as an emergency law was imposed restricting the gathering of more than four people.
An official from the local civilian administration, who asked not to be named, said the ban was put in place to forestall a possible outbreak of violence as both sides were displaying a confrontational attitude.
Police received calls from suspected Islamic militants threatening to blow up the meeting place, sources said.
There are about a quarter of a million Ahmadiyas in Sunni Muslim- dominated Bangladesh. The Sunnis have been demanding that the Ahmadiyas be officially declared a non-Muslim minority community, a demand strongly opposed by the Bangladeshi Ahmadiyas as well as others around the world.
The Ahmadiyas claim that their lives and their places of worship face constant threats of attacks by radical Sunni groups.
The Ahmadiyas also blame the Jamaat-I-Islami and the Islamic Oikkyo Jote, both partners in the ruling nationalist-Islamist coalition, for threatening their security.-DPA