Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal's attacker Foyzur Rahman Faizul and his family had not been living in their ancestral home at Koliarkapon village of Derai upazila in Sunamganj for long. But the 19-year-old made some recent visits to the place for selling clothes.
Faizul used to ferry stacks of lungi and gamchha, and sell those at the local market. He used to stay at his uncle Abdul Kahar Lulai's house during his visits.
The villagers claimed they did not interact much with Kahar or Faizul's other family members because of their different method of performing the daily prayers.
These were the issues that came forth as the villagers formed a human chain at Koliarkapon Primary Government School premises on Sunday morning, protesting the attack on Prof Zafar Iqbal.
They demanded exemplary punishment for Faizul over the heinous attack.
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Villagers of Koliarkapon in Sunamganj form a human chain on March 4, 2018, protesting the attack on Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal Dhaka Tribune
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Faruq Ahmed, superintendent of Dhal Dakhil Madrasa in the locality, informed the Dhaka Tribune that Faizul was their student from 2011-2014. “As per our record, Faizul's date of birth is July 5, 1999. He was enrolled in the eighth grade in 2011 and he passed the Dakhil exam in 2014. We don't know where he studied next.”
Lutfur Rahman, a local Jubo League leader, said Faizul was seen at the village just three-four days before the attack on Zafar Iqbal, and about four months ago, Faizul was seen with a stack of lungi-gamchha.
Another villager, Moyna Miah, said: “Faizul used to come to the village to sell lunghi-gamchha. When he finished selling out the lot, he returned to Sylhet.”
Faizul's paternal aunty Rehena Begum said she had no idea about what Faizul was up to.
She said she has five brothers and three sisters, and her nephew Faizul has two brothers and two sisters.
Faizul's sisters are in school, one of his brothers is now abroad and the other is doing a job in Dhaka.
His family has several hafiz (people who have memorized the entire Quran).
Hafiz Mohammad Habibur Rahman, imam of the village mosque, said the villagers had an issue with Faizul and his three uncles – of whom, two are currently living abroad – over their method of saying prayers at the mosque a few years ago.
“They were followers of Ahl al-Hadith movement,” he added.
According to Oxford Islamic Studies Online, Ahl al-Hadith followers adhere to the powerful movement of the late 8th and 9th centuries that insisted on the authority of the traditions (hadith) attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as against the informed "opinions" (ray) on which many juristic schools based their legal reasoning.