Attack on minorities: Over 1 lakh Bangladesh clerics issue fatwa against extremism

Over 100,000 Islamic scholars and clerics in Bangladesh on Saturday issued a fatwa against violent extremism in the light of brutal attacks by Islamists on minorities and secular writers in the Muslim-majority nation.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 18, 2016, 21:53 PM IST
Attack on minorities: Over 1 lakh Bangladesh clerics issue fatwa against extremism

Dhaka: Over 100,000 Islamic scholars and clerics in Bangladesh on Saturday issued a fatwa against violent extremism in the light of brutal attacks by Islamists on minorities and secular writers in the Muslim-majority nation.

A total of 1,01,524 Islamic clerics including imams signed the fatwa which was published here.

The fatwa titled "the edict of peace for the well-being of humanity" denounces the clandestine attacks on minorities and secular activists.

Militants will not get involved in the act of killing people out of the aspiration of reaching to the heaven once they will realise that it is a path of hell, not heaven, Farid Uddin Masoud, Chairman of Bangladesh Jamiyatul Ulama said.

"These fanatic militants are not only enemies of Islam and Muslims but also the enemies of humanity," Masoud was quoted as saying by The Daily Star.

The fatwa comes in the wake of continued attacks on religious minorities, intellectuals and secular writers in the country.

Masoud was leading an 11-member panel of Alems and Ulamas (Islamic clerics) to declare a set of fatwas against militancy in Dhaka.

Calling for peace, harmony and tolerance in the country, the Islamic clerics came up with the anti-terror edicts.

Masoud, the grand imam of the country's largest Eid congregation at Sholakia in Kishoreganj, is also the convener of fatwa for humanity and peace against terrorism and militancy initiative.

"Even if the fatwas fail to stop terrorism completely, it will definitely help in curbing violence," he said.

Claiming that a section of criminals is spreading panic in several parts of the country with misinterpretation of the Quran and Hadith, Masoud said law enforcers will not be able to prevent them if the criminals' misperception is not eradicated.

The process to launch the fatwa began in January after the attacks on liberal and secular activists and religious minorities including Hindus and Christian by suspected Islamists sparked an international uproar, Masoud said.

Bangladesh is under mounting international pressure to halt the violence, which in the past three years has claimed the lives nearly 50 people - Hindus, Christians, and secular bloggers - many of them by machete-wielding attackers.

Though most of the attacks were claimed by the Islamic State or its affiliates and other similar extremist groups, the Bangladesh government has repeatedly dismissed the claims and said the attacks were carried out by homegrown outfits linked to the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Over 11,000 criminal suspects have been arrested this week as part of an intensified crackdown against extremists in the country.