Imams won’t deliver sermons against law: B’desh court

Dhaka [Bangladesh], Apr. 2 : A High Court in Bangladesh has observed that Imams would not deliver any sermon which was against the country's existing law.

"An Imam's duty is to conduct prayers at mosque. He will deliver the right sermon in the light of Islam," The Daily Star quoted the court as saying while passing verdict in Blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider killing case.

If anybody makes any derogatory comment about Islam or Hazrat Prophet Hazrat Muhammad or any other religion or make any post in Facebook, he can be put on trial under the existing law of the country, the court said.

"The incident of killing Rajib took place in a planned way. Nobody has the right to take the law in his own hand," the bench of Justice Zahangir Hossain and Md Zahangir Hossain in its judgment said.

It has been found from evidence and argument during hearing of the case that all the seven accused except for Jashim Uddin Rahmani are very meritorious students.

But we could not find any reason behind their choosing of such a path, it observed. The court said that there might be many reasons for such meritorious students to get derailed adding "the guardians have to take the responsibility to keep their children on the right track." Ahmed Rajib Haider, 35, was hacked to death by machete-wielding attackers in February 2013 in the first of a string of killings targeting secular writers.

Earlier in December 2015, a Bangladesh court sentenced two students to death for the murder of a secular blogger delivering the first convictions after a series of such killings.

The judge in the fast-track court found both students and another man, Maksudul Hasan, guilty of murder and convicted another five people on lesser charges related to Haider's death.

The prosecution has argued that the students had been inspired by the sermons of firebrand cleric Jashim Uddin Rahmani, who was given five years in prison for abetting the murder.

Haider, an architect, became a target of the group after he helped launch a mass protest against the leaders of the largest Islamist party, several of whom are accused of war crimes during Bangladesh's 1971 independence struggle against Pakistan.

The police said Haider also wrote against Islam and mocked the prophet Muhammad on blog sites. Rahmani, a firebrand cleric who led a mosque in the Dhaka's Mohammadpur neighbourhood, had preached that it was legal to kill atheist bloggers who campaigned against Islam, the police added.

Source: ANI