Re: Oppressions of Ahmadiyya Muslims in Bangladesh
Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq’s questions, on the surface, may seem “simple”, however, in my humble opinion, they are not as simple to deserve only “Yes” or “No” answers.
For a devout Christian, regularly church going man or woman, attending weekly Bible studying group, profoundly committed in his or her Christian belief, surely a Muslim is not considered as a Christian.
Followers of Falwell would be furious if anyone claims otherwise.
Similarly, a pious Muslim, praying five times a day in a mosque, attending Islamic discussion gatherings, intensely committed in preserving Islamic Iman, indisputably a Hindu or a Christian is not considered as a Muslim.
Otherwise, Salafists would get severely upset.
And men and women, who do not believe in any of these organized religions, it may not strike them as divisive as it seems to the devoted ones whether a Hindu feels joy calling himself as a Muslim, or a Christian shrieks with pleasure in labeling himself as a Buddhist regardless of how aberrant it may seem on the surface to the believers and non-believers. Perhaps there are not too many who would adhere to these types of “aberrations” from the “established” dogmatic norms.
Even a believer in any of these religions can be tolerant in the context of Ahmadiyya issue on which Dr. Farooq asked these questions. They may urge, “Let the Ahmadiyya call themselves as Muslims if they wish to”, as Shia are Muslims too, as are Sunnis, though they each find grievous “errors” in each other’s theology and rituals. There are Ismailis who believe Karim Agha Khan as their Imam, a divine spiritual leader (49th) who is a descendent of Muhammad, do not recognize any of the early Khalifas except Ali; they even believe in a hidden Imam who is hiding in a cave for more than a thousand years, that other Muslim sects strongly disagree with, some may even find it ridiculous.
In Islamic history, there were violent episodes when Shia and Sunni diverged. It was mainly the question of Khalifa and other power struggles that caused bloodshed, so many died from religious and political issues in those old days.
Why is it so vital for declaring Ahmadiyyas as non-Muslims, clearly sidestepping the tolerance motto, and also the favorite quote that most Muslims and non-Muslims know about: “There is no compulsion in religion”?
Whether a Christian is a Muslim, or a Hindu is a Buddhist, an atheist is a Taliban, an agnostic submerges in baptism or whatever other improbable scenario can be introduced for the sake of arguments, the main points: excommunicating the Ahmadiyyas, raiding their places of worship, banning their books, knifing their freedom of religion and expression, and inciting riots and violence where innocent people get hurts, are unacceptable in Islam’s “There is no compulsion in religion” maxim.
Let us also not forget, it is a clear violation of international law.
Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
May 3, 2004