THE BLASPHEMY LAW AND THE MINORITIES
Posted on November 28th, 2011

By A. Abdul Aziz, Press Secretary, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Sri Lanka.

 Pakistan is a country that has invoked laws of hatred against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community which prevent its members in Pakistan from basic acts of worship. The blasphemy laws are one of the many ways in which the government of Pakistan severely violates the internationally guaranteed right to religious freedom. Pakistan’s “Blasphemy Law” makes the death penalty mandatory for blasphemy. These laws require no evidence to be presented after allegations are made and no proof of intent, and contain no penalty for leveling false allegations, they are easily used by extremists to intimidate members of religious minorities and others with whom they disagree.  They are also often used by the unscrupulous simply to carry out a vendetta or gain an advantage over another. Pakistan’s penal code explicitly discriminates against religious minorities and targets Ahmadis in particular by prohibiting them from “indirectly or directly posing as a Muslim”.

 The country is an Islamic republic. Islam is the state religion, and the Constitution requires that laws be consistent with Islam. The Constitution states that “subject to law, public order, and morality, every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice, and propagate his religion;” in practice the Government imposes limits on freedom of religion.

 Specific laws that discriminate against religious minorities include anti-Ahmadiyya and blasphemy laws that provide the death penalty for defiling Islam or its prophets. The Ahmadiyya community continued to face governmental and societal discrimination and legal bars to the practice of its religious beliefs.

 Ahmadis, who are legally prohibited from identifying themselves as Muslims, generally choose to not identify themselves as non-Muslims.

 The Pakistan Constitution establishes Islam as the state religion. It also declares that adequate provisions shall be made for minorities to profess and practice their religious beliefs freely; however, the Government imposes limits on freedom of religion, particularly on Ahmadiyya Community.

 A 1974 constitutional amendment declares that Ahmadis are non-Muslims. Section 298(c), commonly referred to as the “anti-Ahmadi laws,” prohibits Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslims, referring to their religious beliefs as Islam, preaching or propagating their religious beliefs, inviting others to accept

 Ahmadi teachings, or insulting the religious feelings of Muslims. The punishment for violation of the Section is imprisonment for up to three years and a fine.

 The Government designates religious affiliation on passports and requests religious information in national identity card applications. A citizen must have a national identity card to vote. Those wishing to be listed as Muslims must swear their belief that the Prophet Muhammad is the final prophet and denounce the Ahmadiyya Community’s founder as a false prophet and his followers as non-Muslims, a provision designed to discriminate against Ahmadis. As a result, Ahmadis continued to boycott elections.

 District-level authorities consistently refused to grant permission to construct non-Muslim places of worship, especially for Ahmadiyya Community, citing the need to maintain public order. There is no official restriction on the construction of Ahmadiyya places of worship; however, Ahmadis are forbidden from calling them mosques. District governments often refuse to grant Ahmadis permission to hold events publicly; therefore, they hold their meetings in members’ homes. The Government can shut down these gatherings if neighbors report hearing the recitation of Qur’anic verses.

 Muslim students must declare in writing that they believe that the Prophet Muhammad is the final prophet, another measure that singles out Ahmadis.

 The Government does not restrict religious publishing in general; however, the sale of Ahmadi religious literature is banned.

 Since 1983 Ahmadis have been prohibited from holding public conferences or gatherings and from holding their annual conference. Ahmadis are banned from preaching and were prohibited from traveling to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj or other religious pilgrimages.

 As mentioned the Pakistan Constitution guarantees the right to establish places of worship and train clergy, but in practice these rights were restricted for Ahmadis

 Due to the passport requirements to list religious affiliation and denounce the Ahmadi prophet, Ahmadis were restricted from going on the Hajj because they were unable to declare themselves as Muslims.

 Promotions for all minority groups appeared limited within the civil service. These problems were particularly acute for Ahmadis, who contended that a “glass ceiling” prevented their promotion to senior positions and that certain government departments refused to hire or retain qualified Ahmadis.

Since the promulgation of anti-Ahmadi laws in 1984, number of Ahmadis has been killed in Pakistan on religious grounds.

 The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Islam was founded in 1889 in a small town Qadian, in Punjab, India.  Its founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) claimed to be the Promised Reformer of the age.  Ahmadiyya

Muslim Community stands for the brotherhood of mankind and tries to establish peace on earth through love, persuasion and tolerance.  It is a spiritual Community and has no political agenda.

 Ahmadi Muslims follow five pillars (Basic Principles) of Islam and six Articles of Faith in Islam.

 The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has prospered throughout the world in 200 countries expounding and practicing its motto “ƒ”¹…”Love for All, Hatred for None‘.

 Speaking during his weekly address, (delivered at: Baithul Futuh, Mordon, U.K. on 11th November 2011) His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Head of the World-wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has spoken in length on the ongoing persecution faced by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan, Indonesia and some other Islamic Countries.

 His Holiness remarked in this sermon that the persecution has now spread to innocent Ahmadi school children who are told that they cannot stay in their schools because they are disbelievers. The only option given to them is to be abusive about the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community – Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). If a school headmaster or the owner of a private school shows some decency, he is told that if Ahmadi children attend a school, they would not send their children and would have the school closed”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦..

 Please go through the following link to view this Sermon in video format or in text.

http://www.alislam.org/friday-sermon/
http://www.alislam.org/friday-sermon/20111111.html#summary-tab

Finally, we urge the International Community and Human Rights Organizations to pressurize the Government of Pakistan to repeal the Blasphemy law existing in the country.

7 Responses to “THE BLASPHEMY LAW AND THE MINORITIES”

  1. Deen Says:

    To understand the true picture of the Ahmadi Muslims it is worthwhile going into the ‘alislam website’ and listening to the Friday sermon of the Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Community.

  2. Devinda Fernando Says:

    A well written and much needed critical article. However, Pakistan’s case is no exception – it is the norm when Religion is granted access to State power. If you look throughout the Muslim world this is the status quo, it allows Muslims majorities to force their religion and encourages bullying of those who simply don’t believe in Islam.

  3. Ibnu Ahmad Says:

    You know what this deadly law says is, Ahmadis should not utter ‘KALIMA’ – basic tenet of Islam. It means, they should not say There is none worrhy of worship except Allah, Muhammad is His Messenger. What they should say is, in opposite this – i.e. Ahmadis must say ALLAH is not the only one God to be worshipped and Muhammad is not Allah’s Prophet (God forbid). In reality, Allah is the Lord of all Universe and Muhammad is Mercy for all Mankind – that is according to the Holy Qur’an in which this Muslim nation believe in. You know, this Muslim country did not give the definition of a Muslim, in accordance with the Holy Qur’an and the practice of Holy prophet of Islam (PBUH) because if someone declares somebody as non-mMuslim, they should have a reply in their mind who is a Muslim. As Devinda says, Pakistan is in the clutch of Mullahs.

  4. Haroon Shakoor Says:

    Islam is a religion of Peace and Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent to the entire universe. Allah has called himself as Rabul-Aalameen (God of the Universes). This teaches us to be human and just to all people. Targeting a particular group of people because of our differences can not be justified. Holy Prophet (peace be upon him ) said that your differences with other nations should not stop you from treating them with justice. It is shameful and hurts that people who call themselves Muslims are treated this way. Minorities have no respect and are forced to migrate. For information on Ahmadiyya Muslim Community please visit http://www.alislam.org.

  5. Ibnu Ahmad Says:

    Innocent Pakistani Ahmadi students are being targeted. See the news below:

    Ahmadi student expelled from COMSATS

    Posted: 27 Nov 2011 09:06 AM PST

    Rabia Saleem, a female student of the Ahmadi religious sect in the final year of studies at the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology in Lahore, Pakistan, has been expelled on allegations of blasphemy. Saleem was accused of blasphemy by the student wing of the banned Islamist organization known as Tahaffuz-e-Khatam-e-Nabuwwat (TKN).

    Saleem lived at a student hostel in Lahore, and allegedly removed a banner displayed by TKN condemning the Ahmadi community. A guard observed her removing the poster. He then accused her of committing blasphemy by dishonoring the verses of the Koran. Ahmadis are considered by many Muslims to be heretics and are treated to the same persecution as are Christians and Hindus in Pakistan. The controversy has been extensively covered by the Pakistani media.

    According to a fellow CIIT student, Nasreem Ghulam, the banner displayed at the hostel door condemned Ahmadis but did not include Koranic verses. Ahmadis have concluced that she has been falsely accused because of her faith. Rasheed Ahmed Khan, the CIIT Registrar, denied any connection between the removal of the offending banner with the student’s faith. According to the Al-Ufaq website, “Rabia Saleem has been expelled for violating the discipline of the Institution and not complying with the rules and regulation.” He refused to provide a copy of the notice that was served to the student.

    A faculty member on the condition of anonymity said,”It was a petty matter that could have been resolved by the warden and the administration, but the warden along with the security guard and CIIT administration exploited the situation against the Ahmadi student, the administration has a very discriminating attitude towards the religious minorities and never leaves a chance to take action against them. In the past several similar incidents took place, but the administration allowed the Tahaffuz-e-Khatam-e-Nabuwwat to continue their propaganda against the Ahmadis, the administration allows the TKN to act, because of the support from the administration they have become strong. The religious organizations should be barred from all the educational institutes, they are harboring terrorists by allowing such organizations to act freely and do whatever they like.”

    The TKN has been displaying banners denouncing Ahmadis, while the CIIT administration has expelled the student with TKN`s support and allowed them to display banners inciting hatred against the religious minorities and protest against the Ahmadis. They announced that they will not allow any Ahmadi student to live on the campus and will even kill if any of them resists. TKN has also started campaigns against the Ahmadis on various social networks as well.

    The CIIT administration has been accused of allowing such extremist activities to continue on campus, while authorities and the ministry of education silently observe the situation allowing the propaganda against the Ahmadi students.

    The Ahmadis have been living in continuous fear, earlier this year an Ahmadi religious institute was attacked in Lahore, and hundreds of innocent people were killed. In past several years the persecution against the Ahmadis has been on the rise.

    In September, an 8th grader was expelled for a spelling mistake in the Urdu exam in Abbotabad. Her mother was also transferred from Abbotabad.

    The Masihi Foundation and Life for All Pakistan, which campaign for human rights, have also condemned the incident and issued a joint statement,” We strongly condemn the incident, the administration of the institution must be condemned for supporting a religious organization and allowing them to act against the code of conduct. The Institution`s spokesperson said that the Ahmadi student was expelled for violating discipline, displaying banners against the religious minorities is not a violation of the discipline?”

    Furthermore, read the statement “ Openly announcing a religious minority liable to be killed is allowed in an educational institution, is this not violation of the regulations and humanity? Where are we headed? Why was a banner against a religious minority allowed to be displayed at the hostel door? Many students suffer discrimination in the educational institutions, but no one addresses the matter. I fail to understand the role of the education Ministry, if they dont do anything for the education, then what is the need of having such an department, it is merely a burden on the nation, simply abolish such ministries which are not performing their designated duties. The state is allowing the religious hatred to grow and is not taking notice of the growing persecution.”

    “The extremist mind set is growing and taking over, if this continues Pakistan will lose all the sane people alive. Ensuring the safety of the minorities is the state`s responsibility, Quaid-e-Azam the founder of Pakistan said every citizen has the right to practice his / her religion freely, anyone`s religion is their personal mater and not the matter of the state. Is today`s Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam`s Pakistan? The Director COMSATS must have immediately resigned on such a shameful incident.” The statement continued, “This is the reason religious and state affairs should be kept separate.”

    “The concerned authorities must intervene and take the necessary action. The growing extremism in the educational institutions must be checked, no one should be allowed to speak or do anything against any religion. Tolerance and Harmony must be promoted, the religious leaders must play a positive role and condemn such incidents, so that in future students like Rabia Saleem don’t suffer. The only Pakistani who won the Nobel peace prize – Abdul Salam – was never given the place he deserved only because he was an Ahamdi. It is about time the government takes steps to end the religious extremism before it consumes the nation like a plague.”

  6. muslimsforpeace Says:

    I really wonder that why clerics believe that non Ahmadi Muslims are so prone to be mislead in their view by ahmadis. ? If a person is confidant of his or her belief why he need to be scared of another teaching which he thinks is false.    It shows they know the ahmadiyya arguments are logical and appealing.  This reminds me of the time of Holy Prophet Muhammad PBUH) when non believers also used to stop people from listening to him as they knew if anyone listens to beautiful teaching of Koran he is bound to be attracted.    See for yourself who is on whose footsteps . 

  7. Salmaan Shah Says:

    MTA (Muslim TV Ahmadiyya) coverage is mostly dominated by its day and night preaching to its followers to pay some 36 kinds of chanda (donations).

    For many people MTA is infact ATM of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaait

    Islam has only one Zakat which should only be paid under specific conditions. It never promote collecting money on the name of Islam and making personal assets/buidings/investment properties.

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