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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  June, 2006  Attack on Ahmadiyyas: …
Attack on Ahmadiyyas: Khatme Nabuwat zealots deserve punishment

Weekly Holiday Friday
June 30, 2006
Attack on Ahmadiyyas: Khatme Nabuwat zealots deserve punishment

Notwithstanding the fact that the Republic’s Constitution clearly and precisely guarantees in unambiguous terms full freedom to all religious communities of Bangladesh, a gang of zealots – perhaps with an axe to grind – are overly zealous to launch one attack after another to demolish mosques of the Ahmadiyyas. By so doing the bigot fanatics clearly expose their evil intention of fanning the fire of communal disturbance and consequent turmoil to destabilise society.

   Over a week back the New Age ran a news item under the headline “Ahmadiyyas braced for yet another attack from bigots” elaborating that the adherents of the sect were about to face yet another round of attack from religious bigots on Friday last, as the so-called International Khatme Nabuwat Movement Bangladesh was set to make an attempt to capture a mosque of the minority Ahmadiyyas at Uttara. The dogmatists published an open letter to Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, in a newspaper audaciously repeating their demand that the government should immediately declare the Ahmadiyyas non-Muslims.

   On the designated day the Khatme Nabuwat activists started their onslaught on the Nadda Ahmediyyah mosque at Uttara after which clashes ensued with police personnel that left some assailants injured. They audaciously threatened, as part of their programme, that the Zia International Airport would be rendered inoperative and that no aircraft would be allowed to land or take off from there, which the administration should not take lightly. Any threat to make the country’s international airport inoperative is a serious offence and should be dealt with accordingly.

   Besides, the way the misguided zealots, armed with evenly-sized clubs, fought the government’s security forces it gave clear indication that they were a group of well trained private militia prepared to take on anyone who dared to oppose them. No religious group under normal circumstances, makes any attempt to train a militia-like disciplined ruffians as its private army of sort to ride roughshod even against the police who are maintain peace and ensure rule of law. This is not acceptable in a democracy and appears to be a smear to discredit the government. The government’s intelligence agencies must find out who are behind this, and bring them to book.

   Going by the Holy Book of Islam, it is quite explicit and unequivocal regarding the adherents of other faiths. Since the advent of Islam in the seventh and eighth centuries in what is now Bangladesh, the people here have always been tolerant of all creeds, faiths or religions. Neither during the colonial British period in undivided India, nor in the Pakistan days has there been any communal strife. However, vested quarters and mischief mongers had maneuvered occasional conflicts; and such situations were hatched mostly for grabbing properties of the minority communities.

   Earlier the government banned books and publications of the Ahmadiyyas with a view to stemming the surge of fanaticism; but the proscription was seen as a timid submission to the religious extremists. The government should not prohibit any treatise or literature of any religious sect. The present government enjoys an overwhelming majority in parliament; so there was no earthly reason why it had to give in to their demand. This capitulation might open floodgates of bigotry. Pakistan’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his immediate successor, showed no interest in imposing any restriction on Ahmadiyas, a prominent follower of which was the country’s first foreign minister. Mr Jinnah, at a press conference in Kashmir in 1944, said that Ahmadiyas were Muslim, adding, “Who am I to declare a person non-Muslim who calls himself a Muslim?”. On another occasion in 1947, Mr Jinnah was quoted as telling the Ahmadiya followers: “You are free. You may belong to any religion, caste, or creed. That has nothing to do with the business of the State”.

   In fact, the government should have acted much earlier when the zealots’ activities did not gain momentum over a year ago. Then the group of several thousand fundamentalist militants under the banner of “Khatme Nabuat Andolon Samannay Committee”, took out a procession in Dhaka city’s Nakhalpara area after Juma prayer and reiterated their demand to declare the Ahmadia community as non-Muslims.

   It is a fact recognised by all including the former US Ambassador to Bangladesh Ms Mary Ann-Peters that this is a moderate Muslim country. That the obscurant fanatic forces led by the so-called Jihadi militants, Shayakh and Banglabhai, could be successfully captured is because of the general masses’ firm avowal of liberal thinking and strong abhorrence of fundamentalism, bigotry and zealotry. The Government must not delay in bringing the culprits to book through the due process of law and prosecute them so that exemplary punishment is meted out to the offenders who are out to disturb peace and public security. A firm administrative action brooks no delay. A handful of miscreants cannot be allowed to defile and debase our image as a tolerant nation.

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