Remove Ban on Ahmadiya Books in Bangladesh sign now

On January 8, the Bangladesh government banned "all books and booklets" of the Ahmadiya Muslims (also known as Qadiani) in Bangladesh. The government did this in the face of organized rallies and attacks on mosques by a group called Khatme Nabuwot (more recently renamed International Khatme Nabuwot). According to the news broadcast on state channel BTV, the ban extended to "Bengali or any other translation of the Quran Majid."

The gpvernment claims this was taken to ensure "safety and security" in Bangladesh. In fact, the government has given in to the demands of Islamic zealots, who are distorting the true teachings of Islam. Since the ban, Khatme Nabuwot has been emboldened and has launched a program of "liberating" 91 Ahmadiya mosques in the country [Source: April 6 Press Conference of Khatme Nabuwot]. Attacks have been launched by Khatme Nabuwot activists in Noakhali, Barguna and Ponchogor. Ahmadiya Muslims have been confined to their homes, had their properties stolen and, in Rangpur, a group of 15 Ahmadiyas were tortured and forced to renounce their faith. The Khatme Nabuwot campaign also insists that the government pass a law declaring Ahmadiyas "non-Muslim," as has been done in Pakistan.

The government's actions continue to encourage the extremists. In some cases, the state machinery is standing idly by, in other cases it is an active participant. Significantly, on April 17, police escorted Khatme Nabuwot members into an Ahmadiya mosque in Nakalpara and confiscated copies of the Quran and Bukhari Sharif. The Khatme Nabuwot program been implicitly supported by the country's largest Islamist party Jamaat, a coalition member in the present government. Most noticably, Jamaat MP Delwar Hossain Sayedee published a book in February titled "Why Qadianis are not Muslims?" (Global Publishing).

Article 41 of the Bangladesh Constitution guarantees the right of religious freedom:
"(a) every citizen has the right to profess, practice or propagate any religion;
(b) every religious community or denomination has the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions."

Yet the Bangladesh government's recent actions go against this very basic clause of the constitution. We, the undersigned ask the government to immediately remove the ban on Ahmadiya books. We also ask the government to stand firm against any demands to declare Ahmadiyas "non-Muslim."

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Billy JacobsonBy:
Entertainment and MediaIn:
Petition target:
Government of Bangladesh

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