Reacting to Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir calling the Ahmadiyya community’s recent religious event in Panchagarh “controversial”, a spokesperson of the community said it “goes against their constitutional right”.
“The government gave permission to hold this controversial event,” Fakhrul said in a press conference on March 13, video of which has generated reaction among netizens on social media.
Speaking on the issue, Ahmad Tabsir Chowdhury, a spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya community, said, “First, Mirza Fakhrul puts the blame squarely on the government, saying the attack on our religious event was staged by the government to divert public attention, and now he finds it convenient to call our congregation ‘controversial’.”
Referring to their constitutional right, Ahmad said, “Our religious gathering was set to be held within our premises. We have a right to hold such peaceful events.”
Ahmad questioned: “How can he disregard our rights by calling our congregation ‘controversial’? We didn’t seek permission from the government to hold our event in a busy commercial area like Paltan in Dhaka. Rather, we planned to hold it inside our premises, it was on our property.”
“When such irresponsible remarks come directly from a major political leader like Fakhrul, we are gravely disheartened,” the Ahmadiyya community spokesperson said.
He further requested all political parties to at least maintain a modicum of decency while making comments on issues involving any minority community.
Fakhrul’s remark came at a time when Basherkella – a pro-Jamaat-e-Islami Twitter account – condemned police action to stop the violence over the Ahmadiyya religious event and called for “boycotting” the community. The Ahmadiyya community has called it a “hate campaign” against them.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Acting Secretary General Maulana ATM Masum issued a statement on March 5, asking the government to officially declare the Ahmadiyya community “non-Muslim”.