Religious Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  August, 2010  A beleaguered minority
A beleaguered minority
New Age, Bangladesh
Dhaka, Monday, August 9, 2010
A beleaguered minority

The minority Ahmadiyya community again came under attack of a section of Islamist zealots. Nine members of the Ahmadiyya community were among the 11 injured in the clashes which took place in the village Chantara in Jamuria union in Ghatail upazila of Tangail on Saturday. Clashes ensued over construction of an Ahmadiyya mosque in the village. A New Age report quoting the police said Sunni neighbours gathered at the spot and attacked the Ahmadiyyas with spears and sticks and resisted construction of their mosque in their locality. Two poultry farms belonging to Ahmadiyya families were also damaged.

   The Ahmadiyyas remain a beleaguered community. They are prevented from practising their faith by bands of fanatics who literally go headhunting for the minority people with the slogans like ‘bring weapons and axes and behead the Ahmadiyyas.’ Less than two months ago in the same Chanatara village a marauding group of intolerant bigots were trying to create disturbance. In 2006 a similar incident was created in Ashkona in north Dhaka which drew the attention of Amnesty International. In April 2010 the body Akimunnessa, a 62-year-old woman who professed the Ahamadiyya faith, was denied burial in the Muslim graveyard in Tejgaon in the capital Dhaka. In March in Brahmanbaria zealots under the banner of Khatme Nabuwat tried to stop the two-day convention of the Ahmadiyyas. The local administration failing to deal with the fanatics frontally had to give some space to them by imposing severe and humiliating restrictions on the way the convention was to be conducted. The government initiated a ban on Ahmadiyya publications which was later suspended by the court.

   We have no comment on the correctness or otherwise of religious doctrines of the Ahmadiyyas, or those of their opponents. Nor do we like to sermonise whether they fall within or outside the fold of Islam. Religious disputation is a matter to be left to religious scholars. But victimisation of the Ahmadiyyas is an open challenge to human right and freedom of religion. The state should not concede any ground to those out to practise religious coercion. The fear is that after the militant fundamentalist groups are marginalised due to the progressive and secular forces gaining the upper hand, the former may stoke up new religious hostility to fuel their activism and draw attention to themselves. On Saturday in the village in Ghatail the law enforcers did intervene to save the beleaguered minorities and we must record our appreciation at the government’s action without which the situation might have deteriorated further. But the government has not yet affirmed its resolute stand on religious freedom and rights of the minorities. After the anti-Ahmadiyya incidents one after another the government did not come out with a clear declaration in this regard. The hate speeches against Ahmadiyyas were not banned. Concession and appeasement in the wrong place can endanger democratic values.

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