The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (the official name of the community) is a contemporary messianic movement founded in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (18391908), who was born in the small village of Qadian in Punjab, India.1 The Ahmadiyya community is also referred to derogatorily by some as the Qadiani (or Kadiyani) community, a term derived from the birthplace of the founder of the movement. In 1889, Ahmad declared that he had received divine revelation authorizing him to accept the bayaah, or allegiance of the faithful.2 In 1891, he claimed to be the expected mahdi or messiah of the latter days, the Awaited One of the monotheist community of religions, and the messiah foretold by the Prophet Mohammed.3 Ahmad described his teachings, incorporating both Sufic and orthodox Islamic, Hindu, and Christian elements, as an attempt to revitalize Islam in the face of the British Raj, proselytizing Protestant Christianity, and resurgent Hinduism.4 Thus, the Ahmadiyya community believes that Ahmad conceived the community as a revivalist movement within Islam and not as a new religion.
Members of the Ahmadiyya community (Ahmadis) profess to be Muslims. They contend that Ahmad meant to revive the true spirit and message of Islam that the Prophet Mohammed introduced and preached.5 Virtually all mainstream Muslim sects believe that Ahmad proclaimed himself as a prophet, thereby rejecting a fundamental tenet of Islam: Khatme Nabuwat (literally, the belief in the finality of prophethood that the Prophet Mohammed was the last of the line of prophets leading back through Jesus, Moses, and Abraham). Ahmadis respond that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a non-law-bearing prophet subordinate in status to Prophet Mohammed; he came to illuminate and reform Islam, as predicted by Prophet Mohammed. For Ahmad and his followers, the Arabic Khatme Nabuwat does not refer to the finality of prophethood in a literal sensethat is, to prophethoods chronological cessationbut rather to its culmination and exemplification in the Prophet Mohammed. Ahmadis believe that finality in a chronological sense is a worldly concept, whereas finality in a metaphoric sense carries much more spiritual significance.
The exact size of the Ahmadiyya community worldwide is unclear, though there are concentrations of Ahmadis in India, Pakistan, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Gambia.6
Ahmadis have lived in what is present-day Bangladesh since the early 1900s.7 Roughly 100,000 Ahmadis live in Bangladesh today. Violence towards the Ahmadiyya community in Bangladesh has occurred for almost two decades. The recent upsurge in the persecution of the Ahmadis can be understood as part of a gradual trend in Bangladesh away from the countrys secular roots toward more blending of religion and politics. This Islamization of government can be explained partially by examining the history of Bangladesh.
In 1971, Bangladesh, then East Pakistan, fought a liberation war to secede from its union with Pakistan, in order to protect its own Bengali language and culture. After a brutal nine-month war, the newly independent Bangladeshis created a constitution founded upon four guiding principles: nationalism, socialism, democracy, and secularism.
Starting with Prime Minister Mujibur Rahman in 1972, however, the role of Islam slowly began to increase in Bangladeshs civil society and state apparatus. In 1977, the government replaced Article 12 of the founding constitution, which provided that the principle of secularism should be realized by the elimination of communalism in all its forms, with the assertion that the Muslim faith would be one of the nations guiding principles. In 1988, Bangladesh moved a step further away from its secular heritage when Islam officially became the state religion through an amendment to the constitution, Article 2-A, which reads: The state religion of the Republic is Islam, but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in the Republic.
While these constitutional amendments have set the tone for Bangladeshi society, the reversal of the constitutional prohibition on religious parties allowed for the reemergence of the Jamaat-e-Islami and for the formation of extreme religious parties, such as the Islamic Okye Jyote (IOJ). The religious parties were able to return to power despite arguing that nationalism is un-Islamic and the secession from Pakistan was unwarranted.
Sporadic attacks and threats against Ahmadis became more systematic in the early 1990s as Bangladesh returned to parliamentary government. The attacks began in earnest during the BNP government (1991-96), continued through the period of Awami League rule (1996-2001), and acquired renewed vigor as the BNP returned to power in 2001, this time in coalition with the J.I. and OJI.
Between December 27-29, 1991, the Khatme Nabuwat (K.N.), an Islamist organization dedicated to safeguarding the sanctity of the finality of the Prophet Mohammed, held a conference to organize activities aimed at banning Ahmadi religious practice and identity in Bangladesh.8 As one Bangladeshi Ahmadi explained to Human Rights Watch, the K.N. want the Ahmadis to leave Bangladesh. They have threatened that they would attack us if we do not surrender, if we continued to be Ahmadis.9 On February 5, 1992, Mahfuzur Rahman, the president of the Khilafat (Caliphate) Student Movement an Islamist student groupled a public protest in the Noakhali district demanding that the Ahmadi community be declared non-Muslim.10
The anti-Ahmadi conferences held by Khatme Nabuwwat and the Khilafat Student Movement sparked fresh attacks on Ahmadis. On February 29, 1992, several hundred people under the leadership of the Imam Council, a group of Imams from the Helatala and Niral mosques in Khulna, attacked an Ahmadi mosque and mission house on the Nirala Housing Estate in the city.11 The group attempted to set fire to the buildings, stole and destroyed Ahmadi books, including Ahmadi copies of the Quran, and inflicted property damage on a charitable medical dispensary nearby.12 The police near Khulna arrested eight of the groups members, who had also planned to disrupt an Ahmadi congregation under the direction of a local imam.13 The imam and members of the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh condemned the arrests.14
On October 30, 1992, a procession of more than 1,200 people launched a massive attack on the main Bahshkibazar Ahmadiyya complex in Dhaka. After ransacking rooms, burning hundreds of books, including many copies of the Quran, and looting the building of all valuables, the attackers detonated some thirty-five crude bombs in the building and set it on fire.15 At least twenty Ahmadis were injured in the attacks and a total of twelve people were admitted to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital with serious wounds. Police lobbed at least twenty-five tear gas canisters to drive the mob away from the burning complex.16 The Dhaka police held the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, Islami Chhatra Shibir, responsible for the attack.17 On November 27, 1992, a group of anti-Ahmadi protestors attacked and demolished an Ahmadi mosque under construction in Rajshani.18 The mob looted all construction materials, including sand and bricks.19 No police relief was provided for the Ahmadiyya community in Rajshani.20
On December 24, 1993, K.N. Bangladesh held a conference in Dhaka to pressure the government officially to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims, to ban Ahmadi publications, and to remove Ahmadis from high-ranking government posts.21 Prior to the conference, Maulana Ubaidul Haq, spokesperson for the organization, informed media outlets of the forthcoming visit of several prominent Ulema (religious leaders) from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and India.22 He also indicated that Abdur Rahman Biswas, President of Bangladesh, would inaugurate the conference formally.23 Professor Golam Azam and Maulana Matiur Rahman Nizami (the incumbent State Minister for Industries), the President and the Secretary General of J.I. in Bangladesh at the time, formally expressed their support for the conference, stating their hope that the government would declare Ahmadis non-Muslims in order to show respect for the sentiments of the Muslim populations of Bangladesh.24
The conference was held in two sessions with imams from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and India presiding over each session as scheduled, and representatives from J.I., the BNP, participating in the sessions.25 Leaders at the conference announced that January 1, 1994 would be demand day in Bangladesh whereby all conference participants would press the government to declare Ahmadis non-Muslim.26
New anti-Ahmadi organizations emerged on the scene in 1994-95. On March 30, 1994, The Bangladesh Times reported that the Bangladesh Khilafat Andolen and Islami Shasantantra Andolen, two extremist Islamist organizations, had joined J.I. in supporting a four-hour sit-in demonstration organized by K.N. to take place in Dhaka. The demonstrators, many of them carrying placards and sticks, raised slogans against the Ahmadis, calling them kafirs (disbelievers).
In March 1995, a group of demonstrators attacked a central Ahmadi mosque in Dhaka. This time, secular activists and members of civil society strongly condemned the attacks.27
While on tour in Bangladesh from Saudi Arabia, on February 28, 1997, the Chief Imam of the Masjid-e-Nabawi (the Prophets Mosque) in Medina, Saudi Arabia, Allama Dr. Shaikh Ali Bin Abdur Rahman Al Huzaifi, condemned Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and his followers as traitors misleading others by their self-made and false Quranic commentary.28 On May 22, 1997, the K.N. once again held a large-scale public meeting, this one at Childrens Park in Dhaka.29 Participants reiterated their demand to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims.30 The meeting ended with a collective resolution making fresh demands on the government, including a ban on all uses of Quranic passages and Islamic terminology on Ahmadi mosques, a ban on the burial of Ahmadis in Muslim graveyards, and, for the first time, a ban on and confiscation of all Ahmadi publications, including Ahmadi copies of the Quran.31 On July 7, 1997, members of Khatme Nabuwwat marched to the Parliament House in Dhaka to submit a formal memorandum of these demands.32
Violence against Ahmadis in major cities outside of Dhaka began to appear in the late 1990s. On July 23, 1998, members of Touhid Jonota, another anti-Ahmadi group, attacked and destroyed a new Ahmadi office building inaugurated by the local government in Zhinaigati. Three police officers were injured in the attacks.33 On January 7, 1999, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, members of the Jamaat-e-Islami attacked an Ahmadi mosque in the Koldiar-Majdiar village of the Khushtia District.34 Over fifty Ahmadis were injured in the raid, eleven of them critically.35 Nearly a month after the Khushtia mosque attack, over a hundred Ahmadi families were forced to leave the surrounding villages after they were not allowed to pray in their mosque.36 The families did not return to their village in Kushtia for six months. The U.S. State Department reported that an Ahmadiyya mosque in Kushtia was forcibly occupied by Sunni extremists in 1999 and remained under police control for about three years, preventing Ahmadis from praying in it. In August 2002, the Ahmadiyya community regained control of the mosque.37
On October 8, 1999, a bomb killed six Ahmadis and injured severely several others who were attending Friday prayers at their mosque in Khulna.38 In November 1999, Sunni Muslims ransacked an Ahmadiyya mosque near Natore, in western Bangladesh.39 In subsequent clashes between Ahmadis and Sunni, thirty-five people were injured. Ahmadis regained control of their mosque and filed a criminal case against thirtypeople allegedly responsible for the conflict.40 The case, however, was not pursued by local authorities.41
On April 15, 2000, villagers at Kodda and Basudev, spurred by the twin attacks in Kushtia and Kulna, threatened to attack all Ahmadi homes in the area. Over fifty Ahmadis evacuated their homes and took refuge in the nearby Akhaura district after some thirty five Ahmadi homes were looted and vandalized.42 On April 25, 2000, anti-Ahmadi activists burned down several Ahmadi homes, destroyed crops of Ahmadi farmers, and threatened the lives of the remaining Ahmadis in the village.43 They also took over the Ahmadi mosque in the area, burning furniture and books, demolishing the structure, and flooding it with water as a symbolic gesture to clean out the Ahmadis from the village.44
On June 24, 2001, members of K.N. attacked an Ahmadi mosque under construction in Jamalpur.45 The mob destroyed the mosques walls and foundation as well as the house of an Ahmadi next door.46 It then proceeded to attack the person who had sold the property upon which the Ahmadiyya mosque was being constructed.47 Police arrested three members of the mob.48 On October 15, 2002, a brawl broke out outside the Upazila Parishod49 courthouse in Gajipur where a case was being filed against members of the Ahmadiyya community. Twelve Ahmadis were arrested and questioned in the incident for allegedly distorting verses of the Quran and certain Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Mohammed) in the translation of their texts.50 Shortly after the arrest of the Ahmadis, a mob destroyed an Ahmadi house in the area.51
On January 2, 2003, the K.N., led by its president, Maulana Ubaidul Haq, held another international conference in Dhaka. Prominent speakers from Egypt, India, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom introduced new fatwas calling for the excommunication of the Ahmadis in Bangladesh.52 Leaders of K.N. vowed to introduce a bill in Parliament to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims. One Libyan leader at the event, Dr. Abdur Razzak, accused Ahmadis of being part of a British colonial conspiracy.53
Shortly after the conference, Bangladesh Khilafat Andolen organized a protest procession led by Maulana Jafrullah Khan, who demanded that Parliament declare Ahmadis to be non-Muslim or risk future litigation and disturbance.54 On February 1, 2003, the newspaper Doilik Inqilab reported that, at a gathering in Komina, Member of Parliament Maulana Delawar H. Saidee declared Ahmadis non-Muslims and called for a complete halt on all Ahmadi activities, describing the Ahmadiyya community as satanic.55
The recent ban on Ahmadiyya publications also has a lineage: since at least the 1970s, Bangladeshi governments have frequently banned publications deemed offensive to Muslims. Such determinations have usually been made to appease extremist groups. For instance, in 1985, the government issued an order banning a book published by the Ahmadiyya community on the basis that it contained passages highly offensive to Muslims, who believe that the Prophet Mohammed is the last prophet of Allah. The order was unsuccessfully challenged before the High Court in 1993.56 The Bangladesh government behaved similarly in the case of Salman Rushdies book, Satanic Verses, banning it in 1989. It has also consistently banned books by the Bangladeshi feminist novelist Tasleema Nasreen. Also, in recent years, the government has banned several publications, including Radar and Satellite, which contained reports on human rights violations in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.57
The Ahmadiyya community has long been persecuted in Pakistan. What has happened in Pakistan, of which Bangladesh was a part until 1971, is instructive in understanding the nature and potential objectives of those attacking the Ahmadiyya community in Bangladesh. The situation of Ahmadis in Bangladesh suggests a similar pattern of systematic persecution as in Pakistan and a similar trend toward the excommunication of all Ahmadis. Moreover, there exist clear and specific links between anti-Ahmadi organizations in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Since 1953, when the first post-independence anti-Ahmadiyya riots broke out, the relatively small Ahmadi community in Pakistan has endured persecution.59 Between 1953 and 1973, this persecution was sporadic but since that time it has been sustained. In 1974, a new wave of anti-Ahmadi disturbances spread across Pakistan. In response, Pakistans parliament introduced amendments to the constitution which defined the term Muslim in the Pakistani context and listed groups that were, legally speaking, non-Muslim. Put into effect on September 6, 1974, the amendment explicitly deprived Ahmadis of their identity as Muslims.60
In 1984, Pakistans penal code was amended yet again. As a result of these amendments, five ordinances that explicitly targeted religious minorities acquired legal status: a law against blasphemy; a law punishing the defiling of the Quran; a prohibition against insulting the wives, family, or companions of the Prophet of Islam; and two laws specifically restricting the activities of Ahmadis. On April 26, 1984, General Ziaul Haq issued these last two laws as part of Martial Law Ordinance XX, which amended Pakistans Penal Code, Sections 298-B and 298-C.
Ordinance XX undercut the activities of religious minorities generally, but struck at Ahmadis in particular by prohibiting them from indirectly or directly posing as a Muslim. Ahmadis thus could no longer profess their faith, either orally or in writing. Pakistani police destroyed Ahmadi translations of and commentaries on the Quran and banned Ahmadi publications, the use of any Islamic terminology on Ahmadi wedding invitations, the offering of Ahmadi funeral prayers, and the displaying of the Kalima (the statement that there is no god but Allah, Mohammed is Allahs prophet, the principal creed of Muslims) on Ahmadi gravestones. In addition, Ordinance XX prohibited Ahmadis from declaring their faith publicly, propagating their faith, building mosques, or making the call for Muslim prayer. In short, virtually any public act of worship or devotion by an Ahmadi could be treated as a criminal offense.61
With the passage of the Criminal Law Act of 1986, parliament added Section 295-C to the Pakistan Penal Code. The Blasphemy Law, as it came to be known, made the death penalty mandatory for blasphemy.62 General Ziaul Haq and the Pakistani government institutionalized the persecution of Ahmadis as well as other minorities in Pakistan with Section 295-C. The Ahmadi belief in the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is considered blasphemous insofar as it defiled the name of Prophet Muhammad.63 Therefore, theoretically, Ahmadis could be sentenced to death for simply professing their faith.
While Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims, their persecution is wholly legalized, even encouraged, by the Pakistani government. Ahmadi mosques have been burned, their graves desecrated, and their very existence criminalized. Since 2000, 325 Ahmadis have been formally charged in criminal cases (including blasphemy) for professing their religion.64 Between 1999 and 2003, the government charged scores of Ahmadis with blasphemy; several have been convicted and face life imprisonment or death sentences pending appeal. The offenses charged included wearing an Islamic slogan on a shirt, planning to build an Ahmadi mosque in Lahore, and distributing Ahmadi literature in a public square.65
As a result, thousands of Ahmadis have fled Pakistan to seek asylum abroad.
 Ahmadiyya, The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2003 [online], http://www.bartleby.com/65/ah/Ahmadiyy.html (retrieved May 25, 2005).
 The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam: An Overview, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, 1995-2005 [online], http://alislam.org/introduction (retrieved May 25, 2005).
 Ahmadiyya, The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2003 [online], http://www.bartleby.com/65/ah/Ahmadiyy.html (retrieved May 25, 2005).
M. Nadeem Ahmad Siddiq, Enforced Apostasy: Zaheerudin v. State and the Official Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan, (14 Law and Inequality: 1995), p. 275-79.
 Figures for the total membership of the Ahmadiyya Community vary greatly between sources. While it is difficult to provide an exact figure of the Ahmadiyya population, estimates of around 20 million would be appropriate
 Human Rights Watch interview with Abdul Awwal Khan Chowdury, Central Missionary, Amadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Dhaka, August 23, 2004.
 Appeal to Government For Banning All Activities of Qadianis, Weekly Ittesal (Narayangan), January 3, 1992.
 HLS Advocates for Human Rights/ Harvard Human Rights Program interview with Kamal Ahmed, Amadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Khakdan, March 29, 2004.
 Demand for the Declaration of the Qadianis as non-Muslims, The Daily Inqilab, February 5, 1992.
 Attack on the Qadianis in Kulna, Daining Sangbad (National Daily), March 1, 1992.
 Six Held For Resorting To Violence in City, The Daily Tribune (Khulna), March 1, 1992.
 Ahmadiyya Masjid Complex Set Ablaze, The Daily Star, October 30, 1992.
 The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, Inc., Bangladesh: State of Religious Freedom, Statement for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, April 30, 2004.
 Ibid, p. 6.
 Khatme Nabuwat Grand Conference: December 24, The Bangladesh Observer, December 20, 1993.
 Ahmadiyyas Worried Over Fridays Congregation, The Daily Star, December 18, 1993.
 Khatme Nabuwat Grand Conference: December 24, The Bangladesh Observer, December 20, 1993.
 Khatme Nabuwat Is To Observe 1st Jan. as Demand Day, Daily Shongbad (Dhaka), December 25, 1992.
 The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, Inc., Bangladesh: State of Religious Freedom, Statement for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Apr. 30, 2004, p. 7.
 Muslims Should Lead an Islamic Lifestyle, Daily Inqilab (Dhaka), February 28, 1997.
 Public Meeting in Childrens Park: Call to Declare Qadianis as Non-Muslims, Daily Gonodabi, Patukhali (Bengali), May 22, 1997.
 A Memorandum to the Speaker to Declare the Qadianis as Non-Muslim, Daily Inqilab, July 5, 1997; Procession Towards Parliament House, The Daily Sangram (Dhaka), July 5, 1997.
 Kadiani office attacked,Jamalpur Barta,July 24, 1998.
 50 hurt in attack on Kadiani mosque in Kushtia, Prothom Alo, January 8, 1999.
Kadianis flee Kushtia after mosque capture, Prothom Alo, February 9, 1999.
 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom: Bangladesh2003 Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, December 18, 2003 [online], http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2003/24468.htm (retrieved May 25, 2005).
 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom: Bangladesh2000, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, September 5, 2000 [online], http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/irf/irf_rpt/irf_banglade.html (retrieved May 25, 2005).
 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom: Bangladesh 2000, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State.
 Kadianis flee to Akhaura after looting, Bhorer Kagoj, April 16, 2000.
 Kadiani homes burnt, mosque destroyed in Kodda Prothom Alo, April, 26, 2000.
 Kadiani mosque attacked in Jamalpur, Ajker Kagoj, June 25, 2001.
 An upazila is a sub-district.
 Kadianis Arrested, Doinic Ikilab, October 15, 2002.
 International Khatme Nabuwat conference held, Doinic Ikilab, January 3, 2003.
 Bangladesh Khilafat Andolan demands Kadianis be declared infidels, Doinic Ikilab, January 11, 2003.
 Kadianis satanic non- Muslims, Doinic Ikilab, February 1, 2003.
 Bangladesh Anjuman-E-Ahmadiyya v. Bangladesh, 45 D.L.R. 185.
 Reported in Asian Human Rights Commission Newsletter, Volume 108, Number 1.
 Amjad Mahmood Khan, Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan: An Analysis Under International Law and International Relations, (Boston: Harvard Human Rights Journal, 2003).
 In the 1998 Census, 286,212 individuals declared themselves to be Ahmadis. [Census of Pakistan 1998, (Pakistan Report, December 2001), p. 207, table 8.] The 2004 population of Pakistan is estimated to be 148 million in the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2003-04. Using the same proportion as in the 1998 census, the Ahmadi projection for 2004 would be 319,680. Due to fears of persecution or the fact that they do not consider Census categorizations of Muslim and Qadiani to be mutually exclusive, it would be reasonable to assume that many Ahmadis opted for the Muslim category. Assuming only one in four declared themselves as Ahmadis to the Census takers, the 2004 size of the community in Pakistan could be projected to be 1,278,720 (approximately 1.28 million or 0.86 per cent of the population).
 Articles 260(3)(a) and (b) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan were added. In addition to the constraints the amendment placed on Ahmadis, it also called for the nationalization of Christian schools, so that the influence of private Christian groups was radically reduced.
 M. Nadeem Ahmad Siddiq, Enforced Apostasy: Zaheerudin v. State and the Official Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan, (14 Law and Inequality: 1995), p. 275-89. In Mujibur Rahman v. Government of Pakistan, the Federal Shariat Court was asked to exercise its jurisdiction under Article 203D of the constitution to rule whether or not Ordinance XX was contrary to the injunctions of the Quran and Sunnah. The court upheld the validity of Ordinance XX and ruled that parliament had acted within its authority to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims. Ordinance XX, the court maintained, merely prohibited Ahmadis from calling themselves what they [were] not, namely Muslims. See Mujibur Rehman v Govt of Pakistan, 1985 S.D. Vol. II (Fed. Shariat Court) 382, 473 (Pak.).
Pakistan Penal Code Section 295-C (part of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1986, which amended the punishments enumerated in Sections 298-B and 298-C to include death). Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall be also liable to fine.
Pakistan Penal Code Section 295-C (part of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1986, which amended the punishments enumerated in Sections 298-B and 298-C to include death).
 Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, Annual Report on International Religious Freedom: Bangladesh2003 December 18, 2003 [online],. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2004/35514.htm (retrieved May 25, 2005).