CAIRO – The death sentences against Islamists in Bangladesh on alleged war crimes and security assaults on protestors have sparked condemnations from Al-Azhar, the highest seat of learning in the Sunni Muslim world.
“Our religion guarantees freedoms for all people,” Al-Azhar said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.
“International laws and norms also guarantee the right of the peoples to peaceful protests.”
Last week, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, leader of Jamaat-e-Islami group, was sentenced to death on charges of committing war crimes during the independence war.Massive protests have engulfed Bangladesh over the past days following death sentences against Islamist leaders on alleged war crimes during the 1971 independence war.
The 73-year-old leader was the third person to be convicted by the war crimes tribunal, whose verdicts have been met with outrage from supporters.
At least 60 people have been killed in deadly violence since the death sentence was announced on Thursday.
“There is no use in government attempts to stand against the will of its people,” Al-Azhar said.
“Protecting the freedoms and rights of the peoples are the duty of governments,” the Cairo-based institution said, appealing to Muslims to stand by the Bengalis and provide help to them.
The death sentences against Islamist leaders have already drawn condemnations from Muslim groups around the world.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt described the sentences as “unjust” and condemned the deadly force used against citizens during activities protesting the evidently wrongful sentence.”
The ruling Ennahda party in Tunisia appealed to international organizations and human rights associations to raise their voices against police brutality against protestors.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board accused Bangladeshi Premier Sheikh Hasina of becoming a “dictator” and using the war crimes tribunal to crush the opposition.
Leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Syed Munawar Hasan also warned that the death verdicts could plunge Bangladesh into civil war.
Bangladesh is the world’s third-largest Muslim majority nation with a population of some 148 million.