Accord with Khelafat sparks widespread condemnation
The accord between Awami League (AL) and Khelafat Majlish sent shockwaves throughout the country yesterday as widespread condemnation of the agreement poured in.
The AL and Khelafat Majlish on Saturday signed an agreement where AL pledged that they would allow alems (experts on Islamic law) to issue fatwa (religious decree), if the AL-led grand alliance was voted to power. Earlier, the Supreme Court banned the issuing of fatwa but the Appellate Division has placed a stay order on that rule.
Different political, social, cultural, human rights and business organisations yesterday condemned the five-point pact where the AL also pledged to pass blasphemy law.
Leaders of these organisations said the AL has tarnished the image of the nation as fatwa and blasphemy law violate the sprit of the Liberation War and human rights.
They said the AL had upheld the spirit of the Liberation War and secularism but now the party has violated its principles ahead of the upcoming elections.
The omnipotent Allah is enough to protect us. Our faith doesn’t depend on any person or any party. We are least bothered about what anyone thinks about our religious status.
Abdul Awal, Missionary-in-Charge of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat
They demanded the immediate cancellation of the agreement in the greater interest of secularism and human rights.
Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), an NGO, in a press release said if laws were passed according to the agreement, it would violate section 39 of the constitution. They said it would tarnish the respect and honour of the courts as giving alems the power to issue fatwa will create another court alongside the existing courts.
It would hurt all secular-minded people in the country, the ASK said.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat yesterday said the signing of the accord between AL and Khelafat Majlish is part of a great conspiracy to turn Bangladesh into Pakistan and to take Bangladesh into the dark ages.
“As a citizen of Bangladesh, we are astonished and worried,” Missionary-in-Charge of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Abdul Awal told The Daily Star yesterday.
He said, “The omnipotent Allah is enough to protect us. Our faith doesn’t depend on any person or any party. We are least bothered about what anyone thinks about our religious status.”
Leaders of South Asian People’s Union Against Fundamentalism & Communalism and Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee issued a joint protest statement against the agreement between the AL and Khelafat Majlish.
Blasting the AL, they said progressive people across the country are shocked because they did not expect such an agreement from an open-minded party which is based on the spirit of the Liberation War.
“How could Awami League sign the agreement with a political party which is based on fundamentalism,” the statement said.
Prof Kabir Chowdhury, Justice KM Sobahan, Binod Bihari Chowdhury, singer Kalim Sharafi, Major General (retd) CR Dutta, poet Syed Shamsul Haque, Prof Ajoy Roy, journalist Shahriar Kabir, Prof Muntasir Mamun and painter and cartoonist Rafiqun Nabi were among the signatories of the statement.
Communist Party Bangladesh (CPB) said the agreement between AL and Khelafat Majlish encourages communalism and fundamentalism.
Among others Nagorik Udyog, Bangladesh Hindu, Buddha Christian Oikya Parishad, Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Goshthi, Bangladesh Sramajibi Nari Moitree, Gono-Sangskritik Front and Sammilita Sangskritik Jote also condemned the agreement.