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Persecution of Ahmadi Muslims Report Shows Denial of Religious Freedom, Human Rights in Pakistan, Other Countries

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Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) supports the universal human rights of freedom of religion for all. But for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, such freedom is regularly under attack especially in Pakistan and among other areas of the world, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Egypt, Gambia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom.

R.E.A.L. has previously reported on terrorist attacks on Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as terrorist killings in the United Kingdom and official institutionalized attacks on Ahmadi Muslim freedom of religion in  Indonesia.

In Pakistan, such institutionalized hatred and denial of religious freedom of Ahmadi Muslims is part of Pakistan law and government practice.   This includes the  anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX  of 1984 “to prohibit the Qadiani group, Lahori group and Ahmadis from indulging [what the the Pakistan government calls] anti-Islamic activities.”  This Ordinance XX  effectively prevents Ahmadi Muslims from preaching or professing their Muslim beliefs.  In Pakistan,  Ahmadi Muslims are denied the right  to profess the Islamic creed publicly or call their places of worship mosques.  In addition to such institutionalized persecution in Pakistan, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community is a target by anti-human rights extremists who have committed terrorist attacks on their mosques during prayers killing 100 worshipers, attacks on Ahmadi Muslims throughout Pakistan, and use of Pakistan’s “blasphemy law” to target and officially persecute Ahmadi Muslims.

Terrorist Attack on Pakistani Mosques Leaves Muslims Injured (Photo: K.M. Chuadary / AP)

Pakistan – Terrorist Attack on Ahmadi Mosque in 2010 left nearly 100 dead and another 100 injured (Photo: K.M. Chuadary / AP)

An annual report is issued on the stark persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Pakistan, titled “A Report on Persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan.” The latest such report, for the year 2015, shows the extreme and institutionalized persecution against Ahmadi Muslims.  The report, published in English and in Urdu,

In May 2016, the Persecution of Ahmadis group has stated: “Pakistan is increasingly descending into chaos and becoming a place where members of Ahmadiyya community are increasingly marginalized. It has become very difficult for Ahmadis to live and practice their faith in peace. There is an organised campaign underway to deprive the members of community of their basic rights, such as right to worship and work or take education. The hate mongers seem to have an extensive support network and funding to publish hate material and organised conferences and events to spew hatred. There was a significant increase in hate propaganda against the community. The government agencies responsible for implementing the laws are being manipulated by opponents of the community. Instead of upholding the law, they continue to cave into the demands of extremists.”

In the annual report, there is a discussion of forced ban on Ahmadiyya literature, as well as the growing proliferation of violent anti-Ahmadi literature such as the “sale of the ‘Tohfa Qadianiat’ written by Maulvi Yusuf Ludhianwi, in which he requires the readers ‘not to leave a single Qadiani alive on earth’.”  The report also states: “Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat Peshawar issued a pamphlet which states: ‘It is Jihad to shoot such people (Ahmadis) in the open.’ ”

This annual report also describes the killing of Ahmadi Muslims for their faith.   It states: “Ahmadis have been murdered for their faith since the promulgation of Ordinance XX. Till now hundreds have been killed, and not even 5% of the killers have faced justice. People are told by mullas that Ahmadis are Wajib ul Qatl ‘must be killed’. All this encourages
criminals to attempt murder. ” In 2015, this included known reports of two Ahmadi Muslims for their faith in Lahore and in DJ Khan.

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Pakistan: Ahmadi Muslims Murdered for their Faith in 2015 per annual report – Mr. Ikram Ullah and Mr. Nauman Najam

In Lahore, the report describes the murder of a 21 year old man, Nauman Najam.  It states an:  “Ahmadi youth, Mr Nauman Najam was shot dead in Karachi at about 8 p.m. in his shop by unidentified killers. Earlier in 1974 anti-Ahmadi riots in Gujranwala, three of his elders, the grandfather and two uncles were killed on one day by the mob.”  The report also quoted an Ahmadiyya head office press release: “He was a decent and law-abiding citizen who was liked by everyone who knew him. His life stands in stark contrast to the cowardice of sectarian hate-mongers. His killers clearly came with one motive and that was to kill him because of his faith, as he had no animosity with anyone or had any political association. The spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at in Pakistan Saleemuddin said, ‘This death because of a callous attack on an innocent man is saddening but not surprising as with discriminatory laws present in Pakistan every Ahmadi’s life is in danger. It has been highlighted many times that the situation for Ahmadis in Pakistan is worsening with every passing day, and during last year 11 Ahmadis were killed because of their faith. Hate mongering and hate crimes against Ahmadis show no signs of abating. On the other hand the government has made tall claims to curb hate speech but on the ground hate material is openly published and distributed with impunity. ‘”

In DJ Khan, the report describes the murder of a 37 year old man, Taunsa Sharif.  It states “Mr. Ikram Ullah, a 37 years old Ahmadi was murdered in his medical store. Four unidentified men came on two motorcycles, stopped in front of his store and opened fire at him. Several bullets hit him including one in the head, and he died on the spot. The killers raised slogans at the spot and cheered that they had dispatched an infidel to hell. The bereaved family includes one widow, one daughter aged 5 years and a son aged 18 months. Mr. Ikram Ullah was an active member of the local Ahmadiyya community. He was a very noble person who had no personal vendetta with anyone. It is relevant that almost a month earlier some terrorists attempted, unsuccessfully, to attack Ahmadi worshippers in the local mosque. This resulted in injuries to a constable on duty. The police arrested some suspects in follow-up sweeps. A criminal case was registered against the attackers. Mr. Ikramullah was an important witness for the prosecution. Spokesman of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan, Mr. Saleemuddin strongly condemned this tragic incident and expressed his grief and sorrow. He said that continuous hateful propaganda against Ahmadis all over the country is the primary reason of such incidents. He said that according to the National Action Plan effective action was to be taken against all promoters of hate, but mullas freely indulge in hateful and vicious propaganda against Ahmadis in rallies that are authorized by the administration. He demanded early arrest of the killers of Mr. Ikram Ullah and the delivery of justice.”

The annual report states of a mob attack against Ahmadi Muslims in Jhelum: “One of the most high profile cases of the year was the mob attack on an Ahmadi owned chip-board factory in Jhelum. Though sparked after an allegation of defiling the Quran, according to press reports the attack was pre-planned. Ahmadi residents of the factory and in surrounding vicinity were forced to flee from their homes and were lucky to escape with their lives.”

The annual report describes ongoing attacks on Ahmadi mosques.  The report states that “One Ahmadiyya mosque was demolished, two were sealed, one disfigured and another one forcibly occupied temporarily and its furnishings set ablaze.” “Ahmadiyya mosques remained a priority on the hit-list of religious extremists. The authorities in Punjab shared ‘the piety’ attributed to defiling Ahmadi places of worship. In Panchnand, District Chakwal, authorities themselves razed the minarets and the arch of the local Ahmadi mosque. A civil judge in Gujrat ruled that a mosque that was in Ahmadis’ use, possession and care for almost half a century should be handed over to non-Ahmadis. In Jhelum, after the devastating attack on Ahmadi-owned factory, when calm returned, the mullas decided to take over a near-by Ahmadiyya mosque the next day. They not only occupied it in the presence of LEAs but also set on fire its furnishings.”

This report shows the continuing rampant and institutionalized persecution against Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan, in contradiction to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), signed by Pakistan.

Pakistan is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) ratified as of June 23, 2010, as well as a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Religious oppression of minorities in Pakistan is in direct contradiction to its international agreement of ICCPR Article 18, which includes “1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

But when it comes to Ahmadi Muslims, Pakistan directly violates such basic human rights and religious freedom, which it has agreed to protect. While Ahmadi Muslims once had religious leadership in Pakistan, they were forced to move their religious leadership to the United Kingdom.  Now in 2016, we have seen that Pakistan migrants to the United Kingdom are threatened even there.

Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) calls for human rights groups and those committed to our shared human rights to recognize this attack on the Ahmadiyya Muslim community’s religious freedom as a blatant and vicious attack on their universal human rights, and to call for Pakistan and all of the countries associated with the persecution of such Ahmadi Muslims to protect and preserve such universal human rights of freedom of religion that are a right for all of our fellow human beings.