An open letter from Mufti Allama Shafi:
Assalamualikum wa rahmatullah.
My open letter is to urge you to play a responsible and active role from everyone’s respective positions in order to salvage our country and nation from this grave crisis and to safeguard Imaan and Islam. On one hand, the country is at a precipice of destruction because of the mutual arrogance, hatred, conflicts and vengeance of the politicians; and on the other side, by the mischievous designs of the Islamophobic forces, not just the Imaan and Islam have been attacked upon, but also actions are being carried out one after another in order to eliminate Islam totally from our country.
In such a critical period for our country, nation and Islam, no one should remain silent including the Alims and the shaikhs. All people including the practicing Muslims must come forward. Unless the current political problem is resolved peacefully the country and the nation might suffer serious damage/destruction. In addition to huge losses to public life and property, our very independence and sovereignty might be in danger. On the other hand, if Hefazot’s 13 points are not implemented including stopping the activities of the Islamophobes, placing the article in the constitution to have faith and trust in Allah, and to ensure severest punishments against blasphemy, soon it will be difficult to live as Muslims in this country.
You are aware that, there is a tense and volatile situation prevailing in the country. There is no minimum security for people’s lives and properties. Ordinary people are returning home as dead. People are being burnt with petrol bombs in the streets. State properties and vehicles are being ransacked regularly. The police, RAB and BGB forces are killing people indiscriminately in the name of actions against the miscreants. Unprecedented example of brutality has been set by killing more than 100 people within 10 days. In the name of joint operations, not only people are being arrested en-mass, but their properties are being ransacked and demolished collectively. There are complains of inhuman assaults on mothers and sisters too. Members of the ruling party have been taking part with the joint forces to attack homes of the opposition party members, arson and even demolishing their properties with bulldozers. No one is being allowed to carry out any peaceful programs except the ruling party. No one is allowed to hold any normal political activities, even the peaceful scholars of the Hefazot are not being allowed to have any regular peaceful programs. The country is paralyzed because of campaigns and blockades by the opposition. Laborers are going hungry due to inability to go to work. Businesses and trades are on the verge of collapse. There is a serious decline in law and order. In one word, the country is going through a serious and dangerous crisis.
Who is responsible?
The Awami League led alliance is mainly responsible for this dangerous situation. This crisis is mainly about the caretaker government during the election period. This situation begun because the Awami Leage had amended the constitution unilaterally, ignoring the public opinion. The government has changed the constitution at its will using the brute majority. Now, they ate going to stage this one party farcical election in the name of protecting the constitution. 154 MPs have already been elected even before the election will have taken place. No domestic or international communities are accepting this election. Everyone has been calling for a solution through dialogue in order to reach a solution to hold free participatory election. A dialogue process was started by the UN representative that has broken down. The government is proceeding to hold the election by any means. The opposition is staging campaigns against this election. There is only a few days remaining for the election. There is no sign of any initiative to find a solution. Politicians are showing arrogance, vengeance and hatred through their provocative speeches.
The government by taking the policy of force against the opposition has further complicated the situation. The countrymen are seriously fearful and worried about the future of the country.
Plans to eliminate Islam is going on simultaneously:
In addition to this serious situation, many mischievous designs by domestic and international groups are being implemented in order to eliminate Islam and destroy our faith and belief from the country. After the Awami League had removed the article mentioning trust and faith in Allah from the constitution, the door has opened to turn the country into a secular state. This has created a crisis of faith for the 90 percent population of the country. The activities of anti-Islamic atheists and blasphemers have increased to a dangerous level. They are attacking beliefs of the majority population. They are openly mocking and ridiculing the Holy Prophet PBUH and the Holy Quran. The so-called ‘GonoJagoron Mancho’ is being used to spread such Islamophobia and hatred throughout the country. We have seen the disrespect shown at Shahbagh towards Islamic symbols including Islamic dress, the beard and the hat. Men and women were free-mixing and carrying out various unsocial acts in there. The government has been giving its support for such anti-Islamic people.
It does not end there. When the peaceful program of the Hefazot was going on at the Shapla Chattar, the government carried out a barbaric massacre on the sleeping peaceful participants during the darkness of the night. Since then, the government took a hostile position against the Hefazot and has been denying it to hold its routine programs. Many Alims are being harassed and arrested. The government is still continuing to support the anti-Islamic people of Shahbagh. The Shahbagi people are being allowed to block the roads to continue their sit-ins, whereas the government is not allowing any political groups coming onto the streets. The Shahbagis were allowed even to go to the diplomacy area to protest. On the other hand, Hefazot was denied to hold its rally on 24th December. The government is running false propaganda against the Alims, accusing them of links with terrorists. The government took initiative to pass a law in order to control the Qawmi madrasahs but backed away for the time being after strong opposition by Alims, but it never gave up its plan to pass the law in the future. The government is also trying to ban Islamic political parties. In all, we are witnessing that this government has taken a clear position against Islam. This is not acceptable from a government in a Muslim majority country.
No countrymen can accept the current situation in Bangladesh. As part of the ordinary citizens of the country, the Alims and scholars are seriously concerned and worried about the future of the country. The government has a responsibility to protect the lives and properties of the citizens. But this government has totally failed in this. Moreover, we have seen many lives and properties being lost at the hands of the government. This makes every citizen worried. Some opposition too have been involved in some violent activities. But we believe the government has forced them to such violent activities by denying them to carry out routine programs on the streets peacefully.
As citizens of a independent country, it is expected that all people should enjoy the rights of citizenship and that the country would be run according to the laws. We cannot tolerate such attempt to hold the citizens hostage in order to cling onto power. We want urgent change in the current situation of the country.
Our call to the government and the opposition:
We urge the government and the opposition to take initiatives to solve the crisis immediately. The time is running out fast. No one is accepting the election planned by the government as free and fair. So, please stop this farce in the name of election. If needs be, the current parliament can amend the constitution to hold free and fair election with participation by all parties. If this is not done, then the people of the country will not sit idly anymore. As part of the country, Hefazot will not sit idly either. Hefazot will be obliged to come onto the streets with ordinary citizens. Then, the politicians will not have much options. So, please solve the political crisis in good time, and let the people free.
Islamophobia and the 13-points demand:
The 13 -points demand, including the reinstatement of the article in the constitution proclaiming faith and trust in Allah, that the Hefazot has presented is a demand/matter of our Imaan. this is the demand of 90 percent people of this country. many alims gave their blood and became martyrs for this demand. many have suffered arrests and oppression. we again request the govt to accept this demand. whoever comes to power, our campaign to implement this demand will continue. we urge to stop oppression, harrasment and arrests of Alims and religious people. we urge the govt to take actions against anti-Islamic activities, especially the mockery and ridiculing by the Islamophobic atheists against our Islam, prophets and the Quran, and to ensure pass strict laws to punish such blasphemers.
Not to remain silent:
No citizen of the country can remain silent at the current situation in the country. In the past, the Alims have acted responsibly actively during every crisis of the nation and the country. They are worried about the current situation too. The country is proceeding towards earthquake-like destruction. Many domestic and international initiatives did not bring any results. We are witnessing arrogant attitude from the ruling and the opposition. People are continuing to suffer losses of lives and properties. The government is applying force to hold the election according to its designs. Law enforcement agencies are being used for political purpose. We are worried that such attitude by the government will further destabilize the country. The government has the primary responsibility to solve the crisis. We believe that the opposition will show compromise if the government shows compromise first. But we are not any signs of such effective initiative.
We urge all citizens including the Alims, scholars, shaikhs to come forward to solve the current crisis and to safeguard the Imaan, Islam and Aqeedah of the 90 percent population. We urge the faithful citizens to play a more active role to further the movement to safeguard our faith and Islam.
May Allah protect everyone and bless everyone with correct understanding. Ameen.