The Ahmadiyyas: Pakistan’s silent sufferers
Posted on August 4th, 2010

By A. Abdul Aziz, Press Secretary, Ahmadiyya Muslim JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at, Sri Lanka.

The Ahmadis who were killed in a terrorist attack on two mosques in Lahore, Pakistan on May 28 were innocent people and by not raising their voice for the rights of Ahmadis, the right-minded people of the ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ International Community are collectively guilty of their murder. Thousands of worshippers had gathered for Friday prayers at two Ahmadi mosques, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Baitul NoorƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in Model Town and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Darul ZikrƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in Garhi Shahu, when they were attacked by the terrorists donning suicide vests, wielding Kalashnikovs and hand grenades. More than 90 people lost their lives while hundreds more were injured. The most horrendous aspect of these twin attacks was that they both targeted the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, a religious minority in Pakistan that has suffered in silence for far too long.

The Punjab wing of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for these attacks. In a text message sent to journalists, the terrorists warned that if the Ahmadis do not leave Pakistan, they should be ready to face death at the hands of the lovers of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). It was a grim reminder of how the religious bigots have succeeded in promoting sectarianism and also pointed towards the vulnerability of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan.

A couple of months ago, three Ahmadis killed in Faisalabad, Pakistan ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ on Thursday (April 1, 2010). They were ambushed by a car with multiple shooters and were shot at (presumably with semi-automatic or automatic weapons) more than 80 times. They died before reaching the hospital. Is this the Islamic Republic of Pakistan?.

The Ahmadi Muslims hold different views on the finality of prophethood from that of other Muslim sects. Muslims commonly believe that Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is the last prophet of Islam while the Ahmadis believe that Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was the last of the law-bearing prophets in the tradition of Moses and Jesus. They believe that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) was an ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ummatiƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ prophet (a subordinate prophet) and that he was the Promised Messiah and Imam-al-Mahdi rolled into one. Whatever the beliefs of the Ahmadi Muslims, the real issue lies with the clerics in Pakistan who have always had a problem with the Ahmadis for giving reverence to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at in Islam.

To understand the plight of the Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan, we have to revisit the 1950s. Some Pakistani politicians and most religious parties took to the streets in 1953 leading to the anti Ahmadi riots. They demanded that the Ahmadis be declared non-Muslims and the then foreign Minister of Pakistan, Chaudhry Zafrullah Khan, be removed from office since he was an Ahmadi Muslim and the same should be done with other Ahmadis who held any key positions in the government. The government did not give in to these demands.

But all this changed in 1974 when Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a secular and progressive man otherwise, declared the Ahmadiyya community as non-Muslims. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ In an attempt to appease the Islamists, ZAƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Bhutto crucified secularism at the altar of political expediency by adding the Second Amendment to the Pakistani Constitution. PakistanƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢sƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ only Nobel Laureate, Dr Abdus Salam, an Ahmadi Muslim, left the country for London in protest.

BhuttoƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s folly opened the door for the right-wingers to further persecute a peace-loving community. General Ziaul Haq, a military dictator who ruled Pakistan for 11 years and was one of the most bigoted rulers in the countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s history, promulgated Ordinance XX in 1984, which was specific to the Ahmadiyya community. This anti-Ahmadi ordinance prohibited them from ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”posingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ as Muslims, calling their places of worship ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”mosquesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ or their call to prayer ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”azanƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ like the Muslims do.

The Blasphemy Law together with this ordinance made it an actual curse for the Ahmadi Muslims to live in Pakistan. Many of them migrated elsewhere in the 1980s. Pakistan is the only Muslim country that has declared the Ahmadiyya community as non-Muslims and where the identity card forms and passport forms make a clear distinction between Muslims and Ahmadis. Many Ahmadis have been harassed and killed in the name of Islam by fanatics over the years; they have also been targeted by the media. Famous anchorpersons and televangelists have given sermons against the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

After the May 28, 2010 attacks, an Ahmadi leader, Mirza Khurshid Ahmad, said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-We are also the citizens of Pakistan. If the government wanted to protect us, it would have stopped the hateful propaganda that goes on against us every single day. Anti-Ahmadi posters and banners are published and put out in open view, conferences are held, statements issued that we should leave Pakistan, we are wajib-ul-qatl (worthy of death), we should either convert to Islam or we would be lined up and shot dead? This goes on right under the nose of the government. Incitement to violence is a punishable offence under the law of the land but nobody takes notice of these things.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

It was painful to see the terrorists laying siege to the two Ahmadi mosques for hours and spilling so much blood, but it was even more shameful to be politically correct and calling or writing ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”places of worshipƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ instead of mosques. It was appalling to see that no politician had the courage to call the slain Ahmadis ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”shaheedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (martyrs) as is usually done after other terror attacks and that none of them went to the funerals of the dead either.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ In his emotional concluding address at Ahmadiyya Convention in Germany held in June 2010, Ahmadiyya Supreme Head (Khalifa) Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad while referring to Lahore twin attacks on Ahmadis said:ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”I only complain of my sorrow and my grief to Allah and added some people think that we should address every curse and abuse of these Mullahs, it is not necessary, we should not waste our energies there; rather we should spend more time in worship and prayers. He went on to say that even today, the painful and unfair treatment towards Ahmadis in Pakistan emerged as deadly attacks on Ahmadis in LahoreƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬‚attacks, which were in the house of Allah, and attacks upon those who were in the house of Allah for His worship. So, what do you think, the Ahmadis who were praying to Allah even during these attacks, will He not listen to the prayers of these people? He will listen and, Inshallah, He will definitely listen.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In response to this unjustified action in the name of Allah against those who are the followers of Allah, do you think that AllahƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s vengeance will not come into action?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It will, it will definitely come into action, Ahmadiyya Khalifa added.

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