Ahmadiyya mosque razed, 12 houses robbed in B'Baria
11 including 6 women injured
Orthodox Muslim fanatics razed an Ahmadiyya mosque at Bhadughar in Brahmanbaria minutes before the Juma prayers yesterday.
In the latest incident of persecution of the minority religious sect, the hate-filled mob vandalised and robbed Ahmadiyya houses, injuring at least 11, including six women.
One of the injured, Shabju Mia, 52, president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Bhadughar chapter and imam of the mosque, is in critical condition and undergoing treatment at Brahmanbaria Sadar Hospital.
Some 25,000 Ahmadiyya people live in the eastern district, where Ahmadiat was first preached in 1912, before any other place in Bangladesh.
Witnesses said local BNP leader and former ward commissioner Abdul Quddus led the raiders who were carrying a banner of International Tahaffuz-e-Khatme Nabuwat Committee, Bangladesh.
Quddus, with two local businessmen — Sobhan and Hossain - acting as his lieutenants, arrived with about 100 people carrying sticks in front of the tin-roofed bamboo-walled mosque at 1:00pm and asked the congregation to let them in.
“They asked our people to vacate the mosque saying we’ll not be permitted to worship there any more,” Monjur Hossain, district amir of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, told The Daily Star.
He quoted a leader of the fanatic mob as saying, “We’ll set up a madrasa here. And you are no longer permitted to enter this place, as we’ve been warning you time and again.”
At this point, some 900 people led by the imams of two nearby Sunni mosques joined the raiders in storming into the Ahmadiyya’s mosque. Many of them were brandishing machetes and axes.
Witnesses said the bigots dispersed the Ahmadiyya men guarding the entrance hitting them with clubs and sticks. They then broke into the mosque and went on a rampage.
They lashed and struck at the devotees right and left. One of them hit Imam Shabju on the head with an axe when he was delivering the sermon. While some others threw stones from outside on the tin-roof to crush it, said witnesses.
“After wreaking havoc to their heart’s content, they broke off and took away the bamboo-walls, leaving behind a ruin of a mosque,” said the Ahmadiyya imam in apparent indignation and grief.
SM Rubel, Neyamat Ullah, Nasir Ahmed and Sabbir Ahmed are the other men injured in the attack.
During the attack, hundreds of orthodox fanatics were standing around the mosque chanting anti-Ahmadiyya slogans
Hearing the news of the raid, family members of the Ahmadiyya devotees rushed out of their homes running towards the mosque to save and rescue their dear ones.
But the raiders swooped on them with maces, machete, clubs and axes injuring Asma Begum, Shamsunnahar, Pushpa, Hossena Begum, Jahanara Khatun and Fatema Begum. Besides, a number of other women and girls received minor injuries as the bigots pelted stones at them.
The mob later plundered and vandalised the houses of 12 Ahmadiyya families.
While leaving the place, they threatened of harsher torture if the Ahmadiyyas do not leave the mosque and the area immediately.
Police arrived at the spot one hour after the incident but did not record any case. But they sat in discussion with the local elite, the influential and the leaders of anti-Ahmadiyya groups and asked them to stop recurrence of such violence.
“They (police) asked the local influential to see that no fresh attack on us take place,” said Monjur.
In 1987, Sunni fanatics captured the main Ahmadiyya mosque in the district, drove away, excommunicated and confined them to a small area. “Since then, we’ve been worshipping in this small mosque,” the Ahmadiyya imam said.
South Asian People’s Unity against Fundamentalism and Communalism yesterday strongly condemned the attack and demanded immediate arrest and punishment of the raiders.
“It is a part and continuation of the countrywide torture and aggression on Ahmadiyyas that have been tarnishing the country’s image,” said Shahriar Kabir, general secretary of the organisation, demanding of the government immediate reconstruction of the mosque.