Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Pro-Caliphate Hefazat-e-Islam had already declared it would not allow the members of the Ahmadiya community in Bangladesh in holding its annual religious congregation in country’s Panchagarh district. A statement was issued on February 7, 2019 on behalf of Ahmad Shah Shafi, kingpin of pro-Caliphate Hefazat-e-Islam stating, “Deniers of Khatmey Nabuwat (last prophecy), feet-licking slave of the British, nefarious enemy of the Muslim ummah, Golam Mohammad Kadiani had denied acknowledging Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) as the last prophet. He [Golam Mohammad Kadiani] proclaimed false prophethood with the agenda of deceiving Muslims, being a lapdog of the British. Golam Mohammad was the agent of those British imperialist traders who had ruled Indian subcontinent for 190 years, and had falsely proclaimed himself as the prophet and had participated in anti-Islam propaganda”.
Ahmad Shafi also had called upon Bangladesh government to “immediately declare Ahmadiyyas” as “non-Muslims” and asked the government to “stop the Ahmadiyya religious congregation” in Panchagarh district [in Bangladesh].
He said, “Despite the fact of being non-Muslims, Qadiyanis are claiming themselves as Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and has been booting the world’s prophet [prophet of Islam]. If such things are not stopped forthwith, Hefazat e Islam by joining ‘Khatmey Nabuwat Movement’ will go into massive anti-Ahmadiyya movement in Bangladesh. Ahmadiyyas should be declared non-Muslims and their naked exposition of audacity [against Islam] should be immediately stopped. Otherwise, any conspiracy will be foiled by the hundreds of millions of towheedi janata [masses of faith]”.
Since Hefazat-e-Islam in particular and some other notoriously radical Islamic and pro-Caliphate groups are becoming increasingly powerful in Bangladesh, mostly because of being patronized by the mainstream political parties including the ruling Awami League, on February 6, 2019 Panchagarh district’s deputy commissioner Sabina Yasmin had to sit with the members of those radical Islamic groups and give them assurances of government’s stance on not letting the Ahmadiyas in holding their annual congregation in the district. But those religious bigots and jihad-mongers were not satisfied with it. On February 12, 2019, thousands of members of Sammilito Khatme Nabuwat Shangrakkhan Parishad, Iman Akida Rokkha Committee and Touhidi Janata, joined by teachers and students of Qawmi madrassas went into mayhem on the members of Ahmadiya community in Panchagarh – set fire on houses and business establishments, looted valuable and molested girls and women. This horrific scene only would remind the ISIS atrocities and notorieties in Iraq and Syria.
Washington-based Rabwah Times in a report shows the mob as the members of the radical Islamic and pro-Caliphate groups submitting memorandum with the Panchagarh deputy commission Sabina Yasmin. Earlier, New Delhi-based The Eastern Herald also had carried a report on this incident.
Latest incident of attacks on the Ahmadiya community in Bangladesh is not only unacceptable but it also is a matter of grave concern. It clearly proves the evil nexus of radical Islamic groups and pro-Caliphate forces are increasingly gaining strength mostly because of appeasement of the mainstream political parties including the party in power. If these forces are not confronted forthwith, it will ultimately emerge as a huge monster and would certainly pose grave threat to regional and global security. Most importantly, Hefazat-e-Islam has links with Al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS), while there are secret connections between Jamaat-e-Islamic Bangladesh (JIB), Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI) and Arakan-based Islamist militancy group named Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). We are fully aware of ARSA receiving training and fund from Pakistan as well as several Afro-Arab nations. This notorious group clearly is emerging into another Al Qaeda or ISIS – if not even worst.
As there is little hope of Bangladesh authorities taking any real steps in combating these radical Islamic and pro-Caliphate forces, international community, particularly policymakers in the US should immediately take this matter into their consideration. I am making an appeal to President Donald Trump and his administration to please come forward in saving the members of Ahmadiya community in Bangladesh from persecution and exert pressure on Bangladesh government in ensuring security as well as banning Hefazat-e-Islam and all other religious extremist groups. Bangladesh government should – instead of obstructing Ahmadiyas from performing their religious rituals and holding congregations, needs to immediately stop Hefazat-e-Islam and those radical Islamic extremists from continuing such extreme notoriety on this peaceful religious minority group. I am also demanding immediate arrest of those who were behind the orchestrated attacks on the Ahmadiya houses and business establishments in Panchagarh district and the government must give substantial compensation to the affected members of Ahmadiya community.
Extremism and terrorism under the disguise of ‘Khatmey Nabuwat’ should not be allowed in a secular country like Bangladesh.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the editor of Blitz. Follow him on Twitter @Salah_Shoaib