Dhaka, Friday, June 23, 2006
Ahmadiyyas braced for yet another attack from bigots
Arif Newaz Farazi
Ahmadiyyas are braced for yet another round of attack from religious bigots today, with the International Khatme Nabuwat Movement Bangladesh set to make an attempt to capture a mosque of the minority Muslim sect at Uttara after jum’a prayers.
The bigots published an open letter to the prime minister, Khaleda Zia, in a news daily on Thursday, iterating their demand that the government should immediately declare the Ahmadiyyas non-Muslims.
‘We have been peacefully staging the movement against the Ahmadiyyas but the government has not yet declared them non-Muslims,’ it said. ‘The followers of the prophet [Muhammad] are prepared to sacrifice their lives. But if anyone gets killed, the situation may turn volatile.’
They also threatened to drive the Ahmadiyyas out of the country through a series of agitation programmes.
Leaders and activists of the movement have already assembled at five mosques and madrassahs – Babus Salam Madrassah, Ashkona Bazar Bara Masjid and Madrassah, Dakkhin Khan Bazar Al-Arabia Madrassah, Salan Qoumi Madrassah and Naddapara Muktarbari Qoumi Madrassah.
A representative of the Ahmadiyya community told New Age that for fear of the attack, they could not move in the locality. ‘Shopkeepers are not selling anything to us as the activists have been carrying out a hate campaign against us since the beginning of this month.’
Noor Hossain Noorani, amir of a faction of the movement, announced the programme to occupy the Ahmadiyya mosque at Uttara. He also reportedly invited religious leaders of the country to help occupy the mosque.
‘Everything is set to capture the mosque and oust the Ahmadiyyas from the locality after jum’a prayers. Hundreds of activists are ready to sacrifice their lives and the government will be forced to declare the Ahmadiyyas non-Muslim in the current budget session,’ Noorani said.
Earlier, a lawmaker of Islami Oikya Jote raised the issue in the parliament on Wednesday, he said. ‘We want official declaration right now that Ahmadiyyas are non-Muslims.’
Mohammad Touhid, a representative of the Ahmadiyya community, demanded that the government should ensure security for the mosque as well as the members of his community.
‘We do not have any conflict with Sunni Muslims as we all worship the same God and follow the same prophet. We never diverge with the Sunni Muslim’s activities,’ he added.
Meanwhile, different civil society and human rights organisations have asked the government to take necessary steps to tackle the situation and ensure security for the Ahmadiyyas.
The civil society members said they will stand by the Ahmadiyyas to resist any attack by the bigots.
Leaders of the Ahmadiyya community, meanwhile, sent letters to the prime minister, the state minister for home affairs, and the inspector general of police on Tuesday to ensure security for them.
SM Mizanur Rahman, commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told New Age that they have already deployed law enforcers at the place. ‘More police and the other law enforcing agencies will be deployed in and around the Ahmadiyyas’ complex from Friday morning to avert any trouble.’