In Pakistan’s Lahore, terrorist attacks on two minority Muslim mosques have reportedly left 98 killed. The attacks are suspected to be the actions of the religious extremist Taliban organization, which used a combination of grenades, guns, and suicide bomb vests to attack worshipers during Friday Muslim prayers at two mosques by the minority Ahmadi Muslim sect, which represent 4 million Pakistani Muslims. The attacks took place at the in Garhi Shahu and Model Town mosques, while thousands were attending worship services. Dawn reported that at the Garhi Shahu mosque, terrorists exploded two suicide vests inside the entrance, injuring nearly 100 worshipers. Multiple reports stated that the terrorists also took Muslim worshipers hostage during the attacks on the two mosques. GEO Pakistan reported that the terrorist attacks took place while people where praying. The Ahmadi Muslims have received threats over the past year, but this did not deter them from exercising their universal human right of freedom of religion and freedom of worship. The Punjab province, where Lahore is the capital, is also a haven for many of the Taliban organizations. The Pakistan Interior Minister indicated today that the Pakistan Taliban and similar organizations were being suspected for the mosque attacks in Lahore on May 28, 2010.
The Ahmadi minority Muslims face discrimination throughout Pakistan according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which states that they face “the most severe legal restrictions and officially-sanctioned discrimination” (2009 USCIRF Report page 6). In 1974, the Pakistan government declared that the Ahmadi minority Muslims were “non-Muslims,” and in 1984, the Ahmadi Muslims were banned from proselytizing and identifying themselves as Muslims.
Once again, this demonstrates the importance of consistently defending freedom of religion and freedom of worship for all people around the world — without exception.
Raw Video of Police Response to Terrorist Attack on Mosques in Lahore:
Other Media reports:
— The Statesman: Punjab Taliban responsible for mosque attacks: Captured terrorist
— GEO Pakistan: Lahore attacks leave over 80 dead
— CNN: Death toll rises to 98 in Pakistan attacks
— CNN: At least 80 killed in Lahore attacks
— LA Times: 76 dead in attacks on Pakistan mosques
— AFP: US condemns violence against minority sect in Pakistan
— Dawn: Attackers target Lahore’s Ahmadi worshippers; 70 dead
— Times of India: Taliban militants attack Lahore mosques, kill 70
— BBC: Soft target for militants in Lahore
— Time Magazine: Sectarian Attacks on Lahore Mosques Kill More than 80
— The Express Tribune: Ahmadis under attack
— U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2009 Report on Pakistan
— Additional R.E.A.L. Postings on Pakistan