The arrest of Professor Ghulam Azam was condemned by the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS). The organisation, chaired by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, made the following statement:
Statement by the International Union of Muslim Scholars in Response to the Arrest of Professor Ghulam Azam and Other Thinkers and the Erosion of Civil Liberties by the Bangladeshi Government
The International Union of Muslim Scholars condemns the arrest of Professor Ghulam Azam and other thinkers by the Bangladeshi government, and urges the government to speed up the release of all political prisoners and to respect civil liberties. The International Union of Muslim scholars appeals to the Muslim world, and international organizations to pressure the Bangladeshi government to cease these oppressive practices.
Praise be to God, prayers and peace upon the Messenger of Allah, his family, companions and allies.
The International Union of Muslim Scholars is following closely and with deep concern the events and the latest developments in the Republic of Bangladesh regarding violations of human rights under the current government and the use of threats, retribution and imprisonment in order to suppress freedoms. Many people have been imprisoned due to their opinions and disagreement with the current government, including even his excellence the great Sheikh Professor Ghulam Azam, the former leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami party, and a most prominent Islamic personality respected by millions across the global Muslim community.
The International Union of Muslim Scholars, in their denunciation of these arrests, states the following:
First: That the arrest of the revered Sheikh, who is soon to reach 90 years of age and who has dedicated his life to the service of the Islamic cause and called on all Muslims to comply with the tolerant teachings of Islam based on moderation and centrism, is disgraceful, and has shaken the reputation of a fellow Islamic state throughout the world.
Second: That the charge of Professor Ghulam Azam and his fellow scholars and Islamic activists of committing war crimes more than forty years ago is irrational and cannot be accepted by Muslims around the world. If there were war crimes, as is claimed, where has the national judiciary been throughout this long period, and why did they not accuse them of these crimes when they were allies of the ruling party? If they actually were war criminals, how could they have been elected by the people Bangladesh with millions of votes to become members of Parliament and become ministers in the government? If the issue is the political opposition of these leaders in 1971 to the separation of East Pakistan from West Pakistan, especially in light of clear external intervention, it should be understood that this is a right for them guaranteed by all legislations, constitutions and international laws. It is natural for a citizen who is loyal to his homeland to not desire anything save the unity of his country and to see the preservation of this unity as a national and religious duty.
Third: The Union calls on the Bangladeshi government to release Professor Ghulam Azam and the other political leaders immediately, so that these arrests do not lead to the deepening of political differences and to the expansion of intractable social conflicts in a fellow Islamic country, for which we wish growth and prosperity. We wish that all efforts and resources in Bangladesh be spent towards construction and the overall national development.
Fourth: The Union reminds the government of Bangladesh that the era of injustice and the restriction of people’s liberties is over. We have seen a number of Arab peoples who have liberated themselves from fear and expelled the oppressive tyrants and established a new democratic era which guarantees people freedom, justice and equality, and which frees nations from chains and shackles. The Bangladeshi government should act accordingly; it should make every effort to unite the resources of the people of Bangladesh to achieve comprehensive development of this country.
Fifth: We warn the Bangladeshi government that these ill practices will have an adverse effect on the Bangladeshi government and people, and that they are doomed to failure. The fate of the oppressors and tyrants is death and destruction, as God the Most Exalted says: “Those who oppressed within the lands, and increased therein the corruption, your Lord poured on them the disaster of His punishment. Indeed, your Lord is ever watchful.” (89:11-14)
Sixth: We remind the government of Bangladesh that land of Bangladesh was part of India major before it broke from India in the form of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, composed of East and West Pakistan. It then separated from Pakistan and formed its own state. However, this state remains a part of the original Islamic state, of which Islam was the essence and the foundation of its mission. It ought not to be fighting Allah and those who call to Him, and should not exile His people, and bring closer His opponents. This is what exposes the country to danger, for there is nothing to support this country except Islam, and no helper for its people except Islam.
“God always prevails in whatever is His purpose, but most people know it not.” (12:21) And He is the one whose aid we seek.
Safar, 24, 1432 AH
Dr.Yusuf al-Qaradawi Dr. Ali al-Qaradaghi