By Ambreen Agha
27 June 2011
The only cure for Qadianis (Ahmadis): Al Jihad Al Jihad...
Aalmi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatm-e-Nubuwat calendar, 2010
On June 10, 2011, the All Pakistan Students Khatm-e-Nubuwat (End of Prophethood) Federation issued pamphlets branding members of the Ahmadiyya community as "wajib-ul-qatl" (obligatory to be killed). The pamphlet, circulated in Faisalabad District of Punjab Province, read, "To shoot such people is an act of jihad and to kill such people is an act of sawab (blessing)."
On June 13, 2011, reports revealed that terrorists were chalking out a plan to attack prominent members of the Ahmadi community in the country, starting from Faisalabad. Sources in the local Law Enforcement Agencies also revealed that different terrorist outfits have joined together in this mission and had initiated the campaign with the distribution of pamphlets and organization of meetings in local seminaries against the Ahmadis, claiming that the Ahmadi citizens of the country were involved in conspiracies against Islam and Pakistan.
There is little that is new here. According to partial data in a report titled, The Persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan during the Year 2010, 203 Ahmadis have been killed since 1984, ninety-nine of these during 2010 alone. It was in 1984 that the then military ruler General Zia-ul-Haq promulgated the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX which added Sections 298-B and 298-C to the Pakistan Penal Code. Through this ordinance, the religious rights of Ahmadis were directly curtailed: Ahmadis could be imprisoned for three years and fined an arbitrary amount for ordinary expression of their faith. In addition to prohibiting them from proselytizing, the ordinance expressly forbade them from certain religious practices and usage of Islamic terminology. This ordinance effectively makes a criminal out of every Ahmadi by including the broad provision of "posing as a Muslim" a cognizable offence, giving the extremists a carte blanche to terrorize Ahmadis with the backing of the state apparatus.
Fatalities among Ahmadiyyas: 2001-2011
No. of Incidents
Source: The Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community [*Data till April 30, 2011]
Since 1984, the number of attempts to murder Ahmadis stands at 234. 119 incidents of violence targeting Ahmadiyya Mosques were also reported over this period. 3,816 faith related Police cases have been registered against Ahmadis, including 434 cases for 'posing' as Muslims and 298 under the country's extreme blasphemy law, which carries a mandatory death sentence.
In the most lethal attack targeting Ahmadiyyas, at least 86 worshippers of Ahmadiyya community were killed and 98 severely injured in a suicide attack at Darul Zikr and Baitul Noor mosques in Model Town and Garhi Shahu areas of Lahore District in Punjab Province on May 28, 2010. Later, claiming responsibility for the attack, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) congratulated Pakistanis for the attacks and called people of the Ahmadiyya and Shia communities "the enemies of Islam and common people" and urged Pakistanis to take the "initiative" and kill every such person in "rage". An elderly (Ahmadi) doctor who witnessed the attacks said, "Prior to the event, we had written several letters to the Punjab Government regarding threats from TTP, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). The Punjab Government's reaction was to ignore this or do nothing at all." Significantly, no more than two Policemen were stationed at the Model Town mosque and four at the Garhi Shahu mosque, despite clear and repeated warning from intelligence agencies that Ahmadis were now a priority target of terrorists.
The radicalized media in Pakistan openly provokes violence against the Ahmadis. On September 7, 2008, for instance, the host of the religious talk show Alim Online, Liaquat Hussain declared the murder of Ahmadis to be obligatory (wajib-ul-qatl) according to Islamic teachings. Hussain stressed this several times, urging fellow Muslims to "kill without fear." Within next 24 hours, two persons belonging to the Ahmadiyya community were killed in Mirpurkhas District of Sindh Province. Unsurprisingly, no arrests were made and the Police registered the killers as 'unknown'.
Describing 2010 as a particularly bad year for minorities, the Annual Report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) released on April 15, 2011, highlighted a growing spread of hate literature and noted that it had monitored mainstream Urdu newspapers. To identify 1,468 news articles and editorials promoting hate, intolerance and discrimination against Ahmadis in 2010. The monthly Persecution Report for March 2011 stated that the figure of hate literature increased from 1,033 news items in 2008, to 1,116 items in 2009. For instance, Ilyas Chinioti, a member of the mainstream political formation, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), who visited Bangladesh as a lecturer on the "End of Prophethood" in 2005, condemned the Ahmadiyyas as the deviant sect. On January 14, 2010, he was quoted by Daily Ausaf as stating, "Qadianis (Ahmadiyas) are rebels of the country and the millat (Islamic society)." On September 7, 2010, Daily Nawa-i-Waqt, a competitor of the Daily Ausaf in obscurantism, quoted Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, a maulvi in Faisalabad District, declaring, "The penalty of death for apostasy should be imposed (on the Ahmadiyyas)."
Historically, the Pakistani establishment has played a pivotal role in creating challenges for the country's minorities. The militarization of Pakistan, the instrumentalisation of Islam for politics, and the radicalization of an already weak civil society has inflicted cumulative wrongs on minority communities. It is within this broad trend that the political history of Pakistan gives a startling account of the marginalization of the Ahmadiyya community who, on September 6, 1974, were declared a 'non-Muslim minority' by the Pakistan National Assembly.
For more than five decades, Ahmadis, who differ with other Muslims over the finality of Prophet Muhammad as the last monotheist Prophet, have endured discrimination and violent persecution; their identity criminalized, mosques brought down to rubble and graves desecrated. The campaign started early after Independence, when the clerics wanted the regime to declare Ahmadis a non-Muslim minority and to remove Pakistan's first Foreign Minister, the Ahmadi Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, from the cabinet for adopting Articles 18 and 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948), providing for the freedom of conscience and freedom to change one's religion. Khan had then argued that these articles were compatible with and recognized under Islamic Law (Shari'ah), and declared the adoption of the provisions of the UDHR as an "epoch making event." Article 18 of UDHR influenced Article 20 of the then Pakistan Constitution, which read:
Subject to law, public order and morality: --(a) every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion; (b) every religious denomination and every sect thereof shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.
Article 20 remained unpopular not only among the ulema but also among the politico-military leadership of Pakistan. The process to dilute its provisions was, in fact, initiated by an elected political leader, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, in 1974. Later, in an attempt to consolidate selective elements of the Shari'ah within Pakistan's legal structure, President Zia-ul-Haq issued an ordinance to amend the Objectives Resolution of 1949, which placated the Muslim clerics and established the principal of religious conformity in Pakistan. Under this resolution Pakistan was to be modeled on the ideology and democratic faith of Islam and all rules and regulations were to be framed in consonance with Islam, allowing a greater role to the ulema, who felt emboldened by this recognition. Thereafter, five Criminal Ordinances explicitly or principally targeting religious minorities were passed by the Parliament in 1984. The five ordinances included a law against blasphemy; a law punishing the defiling of the Qur'an; a prohibition against insulting the wives, family or companions of the Prophet of Islam; and two laws specifically restricting the activities of Ahmadis. General Zia-ul-Haq issued the last two laws as part of Martial Law Ordinance XX, on April 26, 1984, suppressing the activities of religious minorities, specifically Ahmadis, by prohibiting them from "directly or indirectly posing as a Muslims."
The persecution of Ahmadiyyas was legalized and given further encouragement with the passage of the Criminal Law Act of 1986, later referred to as the 'Blasphemy Law', which impacted directly on the Ahmadi community because of their belief in the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The passing of several Amendments and Criminal Acts, both under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's regime (1974 Ordinance) and General Zia-ul-Haq's rule, have thus challenged and undermined Article 20, though this continues to exist nominally in the Constitution.
Thus, Khan's support for Article 20 made him unpopular among the upholders of fundamentalist Islam, who were not only against other non-Muslim minorities but also rose against other Muslim sects, including the Ahmadiyyas - also known as the members of a "fake Muslim community."
By early May 1949, a radical Muslim movement, the Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam (Ahrar), opposing the right to religious freedom, initiated an anti-Ahmadi agitation. Increasingly, Muslim fundamentalists became hostile to Ahmadiyyas and it was Maulana Abu Ala Maududi, the head of the revivalist Jama'at-e-Islami (JeI), who sought to unify Muslims in Pakistan under the common cause of excommunicating the Ahmadis. The then ruling Muslim League stood in opposition to Maududi's idea of excommunicating the Ahmadis. The Government's opposition led to a violent anti-Ahmadiyya movement, in 1953, resulting in the death of over 200 Ahmadis. It was after the 1953 riots that the religious fundamentalists used Ahrar propaganda as a basis to launch and sustain anti-Ahmadi campaigns. The next two decades led to the progressive reformation of Pakistani laws in accordance with selective elements of the Shari'ah, and the National Assembly approved a new Constitution in 1973, which was deeply influenced by the orthodox clergy. In 1974, a new wave of anti-Ahmadi disturbances spread across the country. It was at this juncture that the ulema pressurized the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Government to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims. Under Bhutto's leadership, the Pakistan Parliament introduced Articles 260(3)(a) and (b) to the Constitution, which was later put into effect on September 6, 1974, explicitly depriving Ahmadis of their Islamic identity. The Amended Article 260 read:
[(3) In the Constitution and all enactments and other legal instruments, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context
(a) "Muslim" means a person who believes in the unity and oneness of Almighty Allah, in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last of the prophets, and does not believe in, or recognize as a prophet or religious reformer, any person who claimed or claims to be a prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Muhammad (peace be upon him); and
(b) "non-Muslim" means a person who is not a Muslim and includes a person belonging to the Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Parsi community, a person of the Quadiani Group or the Lahori Group who call themselves 'Ahmadis' or by any other name or a Bahai, and a person belonging to any of the Scheduled Castes.]
The anti-Ahmadiyya movement during Pakistan's formative years was enormously influential in shaping the growth of violent sectarianism in Pakistan. Conspicuously, there is either benign neglect by the State or, more often, active collusion, in incidents targeting the Ahmadis and other religious minorities.
The Ahmadis can only look to worse times ahead, with a proliferation of hate literature published by a multiplicity of extremist formations, and open incitement to greater violence against what are regarded by the extremists as 'deviant sects'. A notice issued by Baruz Jama'at al-Mubarak after the May 28, 2010 bombing at Garhi Sahu, declared, Lahore ki zameen Ahmadiyyo ke khoon se nahayegi, Yeh khoon rang laayega aur babar ghubaar hoga (Lahore will witness the bloodshed of Ahmadis, this bloodbath will bring the community to dust). With a progressively radicalized and intolerant society, various extremist majoritarian religious formations contending to establish their 'true' Islamic credentials, discriminatory laws, and state agencies that throw their weight behind majoritarian extremism, there is little hope of any relief to the country's beleaguered minorities.
Ambreen Agha is a Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi.
Source: Eurasia Review
I am thankful to Shamim Mozaffar for expressing his abhorrence for all that is done by certain Ulema and the politicians in the name of Islam. (Jazak’Allah).Apart from giving a distorted version of Islam – that stands for surrender and peace - and its teachings, the Pakistani Ulema by openly inciting violence against a peaceful community have done a great disservice to the cause of Islam. It is not for them or for that matter the state to abrogate to them the right to define others’ faith. It is only for Allah to judge who is a Muslim or who is not.
The Ahmadi Muslims wholeheartedly believe in the holy prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] as khatam-un-nabiyyin, the seal of all the prophets. No beliefs of theirs contrary to the holy Quran or the teachings of the holy Prophet (peace be upon him).
Dear Mr. Sharma,
When I wrote, I had no idea that I would end up in a discussion with you nor did I want it. Frankly I do not know the population of Hindus who migrated to India in those years that you mentioned. If you can substantiate what you are saying with reference, it would be an objective discussion. What I know for a fact is that I have not seen or read the kind of conversion in Pakistan that you have mentioned. People have migrated from India to Pakistan and vice versa and continued to do so many years after the independence. Many Muslims came to Pakistan not because they were being forced to convert in 50's and 60's. Same thing is true of Hindus who migrated from Pakistan to India. I am only talking of natural migration that occurred when two countries came into existence as independent. Members of both communities who migrated felt they would have a better life in the country of their choice.
Pakistanis in general are not obsessed with religion as you think nor do I believe Hindus in general are. It is your choice that you do not want to have a tag of a religion. For many it is very natural to have a code of life. Belonging to one religion does not and should not mean not having respect and understanding for other religions. No religion including mine teaches that.
I have written as much as I can to explain my position and that of Pakistan. You may choose to reply. I would no longer comment but would respect your opinion.
Dear Mr. Mozaffar,
Some friends are so obsessed with religion that they cannot see beyond such identities. Only by name one does not become a Hindu and, hence, treating me as a Hindu is a grave mistake. I am only a human-being and do not need any religion for my survival. Having said that I will ask only one question: what was the percentage of Hindus in Pakistan in 1946, 1948, 1952, 1969, 1977, 1988, 1999 and now in 2011. Did all the missing Hindus migrate to India or, some of them became Muslims? I hope a day will come when there will be independent researches on the subject.
Data of those who migrated to India would be available with Indian authorities also. Even then the numbers do not make up. There have been large scale conversions either voluntary or, out of desperation. All poor persons could not bear the second class treatment (& discrimination) and got converted to live in peace and with dignity. Please go through the list of Hindu pilgrims who come to India for Ziarat every year in Jatthas. Most of the Jattha members from Punjab province have Muslim names to escape day to day harassment.
After all, being secular does not mean that one should refute the harsh realities of living in a country obsessed with religion
A small correction in my previous article, please read as one billion Hindus. The error is regretted.
I read with interest and sympathy the article by Mr. Ashok Sharma. "Interest" because Mr. Ashok looked at the problem from a different angle and "sympathy" because his observation is not a factual one lacking objectivity. With all ills that Pakistani society has due to a tiny percentage of fanatics making headlines, there is no example of forced conversion of minorities either at the state level or by any religious organizations. Muslim fanatics in Pakistan exist. Who can deny that? They are noticed because of their acts. But the people massacred by them are almost 99% Muslims. I have not seen Hindus treated in the way Mr. Ashok observed. My response would lose objectivity if I present similar and even more serious examples of other countries and their treatment of minorities at the state level and hence I would not do that.I would request him to criticise Pakistan as hard as he wants to but his criticism should be based on realities of ground. I, as a person of Pakistani origin, is more worried and concerned and less ashamed of what has happened to Pakistan at the hands of some misdirected armed gangs of people who do such acts in the name of Islam. They may call themselves Muslims but their act is unislamic.Can I ask Mr. Ashok to have a second look at his observation? He would do himself a favour. He would become a part the majority of a hundred billion proud Hindus who I am sure do not make subjective analysis and observation.
Ashok Sharma is soooo wrong. Ahmadi Muslims have everywhere to go. Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan are sorely persecuted under the draconian laws of Pakistan. In neighboring India, in Qadian, District Gurdaspur, The Punjab. Every year the Ahmadi Muslim Community holds its Annual Convention with the approval of the Indian Government, to the dismay and anger of the Mullahs in India as well as in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Ahmadi Muslims are equally persecuted in Bangladesh, Indonesia, to a lesser degree in Sri Lanka and Malaysia and of course in most Arab countries because Pakistan declared Ahmadi Muslims to be non-Muslims by law.After the Spanish Inquisition, this is probably the first known constitutionally drafted laws of any nation which have declared and entire religious community en masse to be out of the pale of a particular religion, in this case ISLAM, although Islam through the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) does not permit anyone professing to be a Muslim to be declared otherwise by anyone.So if fact by passing the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX , the Government of Pakistan and the Mullahs have gone against Allah and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and just don’t seem to care about the consequences.Ahmadi Muslims are found in no less than 200 countries of the world. No doubt when and if the situation demands, then Ahmadis would have to migrate en masse from Pakistan to other suitable peaceful countries, to pursue their lives according to their beliefs without hindrance.The basic difference between Ahmadi Muslims and mainstream Sunni Muslims is that, Ahmadi Muslims have accepted Mirza GhulamAhmad Al Qadiani (AS) as the Promised messiah and Imam Mahdi and the entire Sunni Muslim world is awaiting not one, but rather two individuals. Likewise, this would meanthat Ahmadi Muslims believe that Jesus son of Mary (AS) has died a natural death and buried in Sri Nagar, Kashmir. They also believe that the Mi'raj of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did not take place bodily rather it was a spiritual event.
The Ahmadi Muslim Community affirms faith in the Khatamun Nubuwwat of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).The entire Muslims world is clamoring for KHILAFAT and the Ahmadiyya Muslims Community is the only “Al Jama’ah” from within the AhleSunna Wal Jama’ah that has as its spiritual head “ Khalifatul Masih”.
The biggest problem is that the Ahmadiyas have nowhere to go. Hindus could go to India if they wanted to live as Hindus or, get converted to Islam to stay in Pakistan. Christians can get some support from the Western countries if not immigrant visas. Ahmadias have only one aternative, i.e., to become Sunnis if they want to lead a peaceful life in Pakistan. They have no country to emigrate so easily and no country to support them internationally. Either they should convert to Sunni Islam or, try to migrate to other countries to lead a normal life. Merely declaring themselves as non-Muslims is also not going to help them as they will still remain second class citizens as non-Muslims. Becoming non-religious or, totally secular is also not an option. When in Rome, do as the Romans do !
I read the whole article by Ms. Ambereen Agha. I abhor what mainstream Muslims are doing to them. When Quran says “there is no compulsion in religion", who are we to question their belief and worse hurt them for that? What Ulemas and politicians are doing is unislamic.
Muslims by definition are those who believe in oneness of God and in the finality of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). Other requirements supplementing this are five pillars of Islam namely faith, prayer, zakat, fasting and hajj (note no jihad) as well as belief in the chain of prophets culminating in Muhammad (pbuh). That is broadly the definition of a Muslim.
What is puzzling to me is why Qadiania wish to call themselves a Muslim and their place of worship a masjid. Isn't that insulting to them? It is like a Hindu calling himself a Muslim and mandir a masjid. He would never do that. Same is true of a Jew, Christian, Sikh, Parsi and so on. Qadianis should question this definition as much as Muslims do. If Muslims simply question that, I see a logic behind that, remembering that mainstream Muslims never question the use of word Muslim for Sunni, Shia, Bohri, Ismailia etc regardless of big difference among their understanding of Islam.
Isn't that a valid question that demands an answer?