Jamaat-e-Islami’s view on preserving the rights of the people of other faiths
Introduction: The community, who are less in number, are considered as minority in our country. It can be ethnical, lingual or religious. According to the international law, it is the obligation of the majority to ensure the safety and security of the minority communities. From religious perspective, Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country. 90 percent of the populations are Muslims. Off the rest 10 percent, 8 percent are Hindu, 2 percent are Buddhist, Christian and the peoples of other faiths. So naturally, it is the responsibility of the Muslim community to ensure the safety of these minorities. For last couple of years, a continuous campaign has been going on manifesting the so called torture on minorities. In most of the cases, these campaigns are ill-intentional and politically motivated. Such as, both the majorities and minorities are often being locked into conflicts and chaos centring individual processions and properties. But these personal cases are being portrayed often as incidents of torture against minorities. In many occasions, this kind of persecution is being committed by the criminals and political influential. The incumbent Awami League government is often talks about non-communalism but practically under their tenure, torture against minorities have increased alarmingly with the active participation of the ruling party leaders and activists.
Particularly, to demonize a specific political force, the government party men have tortured and persecuted the minorities keeping them behind the scene. As a part of their ill-actions, many houses and properties of the minorities have been burnt to ashes. Often these miscreants changed slogan saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ in order to shift the blame on Jamaat-e-Islami, country’s largest Islamic political party. But despite their bad efforts, now it has become clearer to all that who are plotting and conducting these activities.
Besides, ruling party men are raping the minority girls often. Several lawmakers of the ruling party have grabbed the lands and other properties of the minorities and also attacked their religious temples and other establishments. These kinds of wrongdoing are repeatedly taken places as the previous such incidents had not been probed and the offenders had not been punished. Besides, Awami League always tried to politicize the issue which have been exposed in various media later on.
Here are some glimpses of incidents of torture against minorities, which have taken place only in 2015: • On 5th November, 2015 midnight, the miscreants vandalised the idols of goddess in Malipara temple, situated in Shukhanpukur area of the Gabtoli Upazila under Bogra district. (Source: Daily Manabzamin: 7th Nov. 2015) • On 12th November, 2015, another Hindu idol was demolished in Koibortopara at Kotgaon village, in Keyaine union under Sirajdikhan Upazila in Munshiganj district. • On 14th November 2015, miscreants attack the temple in Uttorpara in Savar under Dhaka district. (Source: Daily Jugantor: 15th November, 2015) • On 24th November 2015, Olok Sen, the general secretary of Faridpur district Hindu Boudha Christian Oikko Parishad (a platform of the minority communities) was stabbed (Source: Daily Prothom Alo, 25th November, 2015) • On 27th November 2015, a Muslim Shiite mosque came under attack in Chokokanu village of Sibganj Upazula under Bogra district • On 25th November 2015, threat of murder was given against the Father of a Baptist Church in Rangpur. Similar threat was made against Atul Roy, son of Gonesh Roy, a resident of Uttorpara under Dinajpur district Sadar. A similar threat was sent by SMS to Dinajpur district’s Birganj Upazila’s Catholic Church Father Charles on the same date. Besides, the minority sections often came under terrorist attack under the direct backing of the ruling party men. Some incidents are mentioned below: • Under the backing and patronization of a Jubo League activist, the influential peoples have forcibly evacuated 14 Hindu families from Uttor Gabbaria village in Poncja Koralia union under Taltoli Upazila in Borguna district. These incidents have taken place from 2013 to 2014 gradually. Local Jubo League activist Jakir Hossen and his brother Abdus Salam worked as masterminds behind the incident. • On 11th April 2015, the ruling party hooligans attacked the Hindu temple in Ullapara under Sirajganj districts and vandalised 10 idols. • On 14th April 2015, the ruling party members set fire at old Durga temple in Khalisha Chapani union under Dimla Upazila of Nilphamari district. Later they made an objectionable poster threatening the Hindu peoples in the name of Jamaat-e-Islami and spread it massively. • On 16th April 2015, veiling the face with a mask, Chhatra League activist Saddam attempted to attack a Hindu temple in Tigerpass Malipara of port city Chittagong. Later he was caught red handed and he lost his life finally in mob beating. • Ruling party’s influential peoples grabbed huge amount of land properties of retired Hindu teacher namely Okhil Chandra Biswash in Angardaho village of Magura district Sadar. • Entrapping a lady for marriage, Dhaka district’s Dhamrai Upazila Awami League leader Hafijur Rahman raped a Hindu lady. Later police arrested him. • On 11th September 2015, Habiganj district’s senior Awami League leader Shamsul Mia Chowdhury raped a minor child from a Hindu community. Later, police nabbed him with the support of the locals.
Muslim’s duty to preserve the rights of minority non-Muslims:
From the perspective of Islam, it is the duty of the Muslim communities to preserve and protect the rights of minorities. It covers whole rights including citizen rights, social or religious.
1. No Muslim can carry torture on minority non-Muslims as they are obliged to get security from the government. 2. They are the parts of citizen. So it is the responsibility of each and every Muslim to remove their sufferings. Caliph Omar (R) has asked his successors to secure the minority rights and also to protect them wholeheartedly. 3. No one can interfere upon the religious establishments of the minorities as it is their basic right to observe the rituals. They can never be forced to be converted to Islam. Islam never endorses enforcement or exaggeration. Almighty Allah says in 256 verse of Sura Bakara that ‘There shall be no compulsion in religion’.
Practically, Islam voices to protect and secure the minority rights from two basic perspectives. Such as:
1. Ideological perspective:
Islam is not merely a religion. It is a complete code of life which gives solution to all problems of life. Like all other states and countries, peoples of different faiths can also live in an Islamic state. A state must ensure the rights of all minority groups in a bid to strengthen the national unity and solidarity. In 46 verse of Sura Anfal, Almighty Allah says, “And obey God and His Messenger, and do not dispute, lest you falter and lose your courage. And be steadfast.”So it is must and mandatory to maintain religious harmony and solidarity in order to bolster the inner strength of an Islamic state.
2. Humanitarian perspective:
Islam considers every problem from a humanitarian perspective. Islam never imposes excessive burden upon anybody. It is not a man-made religion. It is a divine code which has been bestowed from Almighty Allah. Islam is not for any particular community or groups. Last Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) has come in this world with the universal appeal of Islam. As Almighty Allah says in the holy Quran,
“Say, O people, I am the Messenger of God to you all—He to whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. There is no god but He. He gives life and causes death.” (Sura Araf: Verse 158)
So believe in God and His Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, who believes in God and His words. And follow him, that you may be guided.” This aforesaid Quranic verse has been bestowed addressing the whole humanity, not any particular group or class. To Allah, who is the Master of the Islamic state, has no discrimination irrespective of race, faith and colour. As He says in the holy Quran,
O people! We created you from a male and a female, and made you races and tribes, that you may know one another. The best among you in the sight of God is the most righteous. God is All-Knowing, Well-Experienced. (Sura Hujurat: Verse 13)
Islam actually appeared in this world to fulfil the basic instincts and demand as well to meet the basic rights of human beings. Islam makes no discrimination in this regard. Within the structure of an Islamic state, the following rights of the non-Muslims are fulfilled on priority basis:
• Rights of getting food, clothes and accommodation • Political rights • Rights to have faiths • Military rights • Rights to have personal and property safety • Rights to get justice • Rights to obtain education • Financial rights • Citizen and social rights
All minority peoples, who are living within an Islamic state, will be able to enjoy these rights. Islamic states will not differentiate the Muslims and Non-Muslims while maintaining these principles.
Islam’s view and suggestion to protect the minority rights:
According to Islamic Shariah, Islam not only urges the Muslims to live with the non-Muslims with harmony but also secure their safety, security and peace. In various places of holy Quran and Hadith, the rights of minorities have been emphasised. The non-Muslim will perform their rituals in their own religious establishments. They will be treated as citizens equally. Islam never supports any discrimination against them. The non-Muslims who are not in conflict with Islam, Islam endorses in discriminatory approaches towards them and also to secure justice and balance for them. Almighty Allah says in the holy Quran,
As for those who have not fought against you for your religion, nor expelled you from your homes, God does not prohibit you from dealing with them kindly and equitably. God loves the equitable. (Sura Mumtahina: Verse 8)
Almighty Allah also asks every Muslim to show respect and tolerate the other views and faiths. In this regard, Almighty Allah says in the holy Quran:
Do not insult those they call upon besides God, lest they insult God out of hostility and ignorance. We made attractive to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them of what they used to do. (Sura An’am: verse 108)
No attack can be made on minorities not only in normalcy but also during war condition. No arms can be set targeting a priest. Habib ibn Walid narrated that during sending a military voyage for a war, the holy Prophet of Islam (peace be upon Him) urged His followers to behave with the minorities in justice.
He further said not to kill any women or children or the people with old ages. He also prohibited to cut trees or to make any arson (Muslim> 1731)
Another Hadith referred, Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (R) narrated “during a military voyage, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) asked not to kill any priests or to kill inhabitants of the church. (Musannaf” 33804)
Abu Bakar (R) also followed the same footsteps. After taking the office as Caliph, immediate before starting the first military voyage, He advised the commander in chief, Usama Bin Jayed (R) in following ways:
“Hei, peoples, I am giving 10 advises to You. Try to keep these words in minds. Do not abuse anybody’s rights, never cross the limit, don’t deceive the people, don’t follow your enemies, don’t mistreat the aged peoples, don’t abuse a woman. Never cut any trees or don’t set fire at trees. Don’t cut a tree full of fruits. Without the scarcity of food never slaughter a goat or cow or camel. Don’t capture or seize the religious establishments of other faiths, spare it. Hopefully it would encourage them to spare something in the same way.” (Source: Mukhtasaru Tarikhi Dimasok: 1/52)
In another Hadith, Abdullah ibn Umar narrated, holy Prophet (Peace be upon Him) said, the Muslim who would kill a non-Muslim (Who had been given guarantee of security), will be deprived from Jannah (Bukhari: 3166)
In the historic speech of last Hajj, our last Prophet (pbuH) directed the Muslims to preserve many rights including the rights of the parents, rights of the children, rights of the relatives, rights of orphan and impoverished sections, rights of the neighbours, rights of the travellers, rights of pedestrians, rights of the servants/slaves and also about the rights of the non-believers.
In the current context, it is fact that minorities are being tortured and oppressed in Bangladesh, where 90 percent of the populations are Muslims. The major reason behind such anarchy is the absence of the doctrine of Almighty Allah. The present government in one hand, is implementing one after law that contradicts and conflicts Islam, while on the other, they are foiling the religious harmony. With the backing of some local and international vested forces, the verses of Quran and Hadith have been misinterpreted to launch the malpractices of militancy. With the excuse of militancy, the entire Islamic society is being demolished. A bad culture has been introduced, which is causing continuous damage to the society. Ill-practices like murder, robbery, rape, stealing, hijacking, kidnapping, corruption and torture against women and children are increasing alarmingly. The entire nation is suffering terribly due to misdeeds of the ruling party hooligans. Both the majority and minority are suffering the worst impact of these wrongdoings. So to bring back normalcy and also to restore religious harmony, it is must and mandatory to alter the prevailing repressive system and to enact Islamic law immediately.