Peace Loving Muslim Community Attacked in Bangladesh
Aḥmadī Muslims have not been able to return to their homes after vicious attack in District Rangpur
On November 7, 2012 fanatical religious extremists attacked the Aḥmadīyya Muslim Jamā‘at in Taraganj, District of Rangpur, in an
extremely brutal and vicious attack. The attack took place in the village of Kisamat, Menanagar where the Aḥmadīyya Muslim Jamā‘at was constructing the ‘Centenary Memorial Mosque.’
At least 15 local Aḥmadī Muslims were injured during the course of the attack. Apart from the Mosque, two Aḥmadī homes, one of which was used as a prayer centre were also attacked. The three properties were all vandalised, looted and set on fire.
Facts of the Case:
The Aḥmadīyya Muslim Jamā‘at was established in Kisamat Menanagar in the year 2000. On August 25, 2012 the foundation for a Mosque was laid and the construction work continued uninterrupted until October 5, 2012.
On October 5, 2012 a group of religious extremists came to the Mosque site and obstructed the construction work. They also issued a number of threats to the Aḥmadī Muslims. Subsequently, local authorities took the initiative of convening a meeting at the Hariarkuti Union Council offices and advised suspension of the construction work for one month. The Aḥmadīs acceded to this request in the interest of peace and postponed the construction work.
Despite the fact the construction of the Mosque was postponed, within one week the local religious extremists again began a coordinated campaign to spread hatred against the Aḥmadī Muslims and to urge the local population to demolish the incomplete Mosque.
The religious extremists also instigated a campaign to intimidate the Aḥmadī Muslims with a variety of threats. The local Aḥmadīs were harassed and it was made clear to them that they were in imminent danger.
On October 25 2012 religious extremists led a procession pelting stones at the homes of local Aḥmadī Muslims and obstructing the entrances to them.
The extremists also warned the Aḥmadī Muslims that unless they renounced their faith by November 5, 2012, their homes would be demolished and set on fire. Despite the hostilities and threats, none of the Aḥmadī Muslims waivered in their faith and so the extremists carried out their threats with the attack on November 7, 2012.
Since the November 7 attack the Aḥmadīyya Muslim Jamā‘at has held meetings with the local Government who have determined that Aḥmadī Muslims cannot build any Mosque within 1.5 miles of the local non-Aḥmadī Mosque. No serious action has been taken against any of the perpetrators of the November 7 attack.
Abid Khan, Press Secretary of the Aḥmadīyya Muslim Jamā‘at said:
“The local Aḥmadī Muslims have seen their homes, their prayer centre and the under construction Mosque destroyed. All the local Aḥmadīs have been moved to safe location and are unable currently to return to their village as it is too dangerous.
We would urge the Government of Bangladesh and all relevant authorities to make sure that Aḥmadī Muslims and their places of worship are protected. The persecution of any group must be condemned by all parties. The right to practice and profess one’s religion openly and without fear is a basic human right that each citizen has a right to.”