07/01/2010, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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Dhaka, Islamic leaders accused of blasphemy: protests and more than 100 arrests

by Wlliam Gomes
The events triggered by the arrest of the three leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami party, accused of offenses against Muhammad. According to the deputy secretary-general it is "a political conspiracy against Islam and Muslims." Islam abused for political purposes.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - More than a hundred activists of Jamaat-e-Islami (Jel) were arrested yesterday during demonstrations which took place across the country, following accusations of blasphemy directed at leaders of their party.

Jel is a fundamentalist Islamic opposition party that aims to conform "human activity" to the teachings of Allah revealed to Muhammad. Yet three of their leaders - Matiur Rahman Nizami (pictured), Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Nayebe Ameer Delwa Sayeed Hossain - have been accused of blasphemy and arrested on June 29.

The allegations date back to March 17 when at a public meeting Matiur Rahman Nizami compared his political sufferings to those the Prophet Muhammad. The Jel leader claims to be persecuted by the Awami league, the ruling party since 2009. The accusation of blasphemy against him came from Mohammed Syed Rezaul Haque Chandpur, Secretary General of the Bangladesh Tariqat Federation, which is part of the government alliance. Observers note that both sides are waving the banner of Islam, but their intentions seem to be more political than religious.

Matiur Rahman Nizami, together with the other two Jel exponents, have repeatedly refused to appear before the Dhaka metropolitan court and we were arrested. Mohammed Qamaruzzaman, deputy secretary general of the party, spoke of "conspiracy against Islam and Muslims:" This is a political game, a false case fabricated to remove Islam from the country. "

The three arrested leaders will remain in jail for 16 days to answer investigators questions .

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