A Request to Keep Politics Away from House of Worship

ইশতিয়াক রউফ's picture
Submitted by ishtiaqrouf on Sun, 03/03/2013 - 1:53am

To the Islamic leaders in the United States:

We the Bangladeshis living in the US are respectfully requesting you to keep politics away from houses of worship. We have recently observed a number of incidents around the country where the weekly Jummah prayers have been used as a means to spread specific political agenda of a fundamentalist group in Bangladesh facing trial for war crimes in 1971.

Yours is a position of respect and your voices carry a lot of weight. People of faith come to you in the house of worship to seek guidance. It is very unfortunate if such a position is exploited by a select few with questionable motive to spread messages that attack the sentiment of an entire population.

Bangladesh was born in 1971 after a 9-month long liberation war against Pakistan which took the lives of 3 million people. This was one of the worst genocides of the 20th century, and the perpetrators are finally facing trial. It is unfortunate as it is that Islam was used as a tool and an excuse then to justify the brutal massacre of 3 million people and setting up rape camps across the country where over 200,000 women were tortured. The same elements have now engaged in heightened propaganda to elicit undeserved support from the religious leaders around the world, claiming the trials are somehow a conspiracy against Islam.

The party and individuals who committed such heinous crimes do not represent Islam and its teachings. Therefore, you should seek wiser counsel before falling prey to propaganda and violating the sacred duties entrusted in you. As we write this letter, the religious fundamentalists are have started a nationwide reign of terror in Bangladesh. Public property is being vandalized, policemen are being hacked or burned to death, and religious minorities are being selectively persecuted. All of this is being done by a party which is accused of war crimes and a number of individuals who have been convicted of such crimes by a court of law. It pains us when religious leaders across this country align themselves with such criminals and subsequently give sermons in their defense.

We respectfully request you to refrain from mixing politics and religion in the various houses of worship. Like Muslims from all countries, we Bangladeshis also take valuable time away from work on a weekday to say our prayers. To exploit this congregation for political gains violates the sanctity of our mosques. We do not ask you to pick sides; we only request that you completely abstain from politics in religious institutions. These events are domestic to Bangladesh, have nothing to do with Islam or any other religion, and therefore should not be subject of any sermon. If such practices continue, we will have to report you to the US federal authorities for violating your obligations.

Yours sincerely,

The Citizens of Bangladesh

** This note has been drafted after reported incidents of Imams openly supporting Jamaat/Sayeedi during Jummah khutba, even going as far as saying Bangladesh should not have been born so that Pakistan could remain as the largest Muslim country in the world. Please edit/share this note at will, submit this to your local mosque/Imam/governing body. **


shawkat sufian's picture

Dear Ishtiaq,

I have read your letter and liked it very much. I want to use this one for my community with your permission. Would you please allow me to share this letter.


guest_writer's picture

Good Writing

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