Ahamadi Killed Now Even in Scotland
As if it was not enough for the Ahmadis being forced to leave Pakistan in a huge number, they are starting to get killed even overseas. According to the Daily Mail UK, Daily Independent UK, Daily Record UK and BBC News, on March 24, 2016, an Ahmadi shopkeeper, 40-year-old Asad Shah was found stabbed and fatally wounded near his store in the Shawlands area of Glasgow, Scotland. He was later pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. Hours before his murder, Mr. Shah had posted Easter greetings on his Facebook page: “Very happy Easter especially to my beloved Christian nation! Bismillah let’s follow the real footsteps of beloved Holy Jesus Christ (PBUH) and get the real success in both worlds.”
A 32-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the murder.
The murderer had already left for Glasgow before Mr. Asad posted Easter greetings on Facebook; Mr. Asad’s YouTube video where he preached on religious issues and spoke against extremism are cited to be the real reason behind his murder.
Khatme Nabuwatt, an organization that has taken upon itself to guard the ideology of finality of prophet hood, has congratulated all Muslims on Asad’s murder. Its Facebook page contains a gloating message on the cold blooded murder, saying “Congratulations to all Muslims.” The closed Facebook group is strongly against the Ahmadi sect of Islam. The social media page has more than 13,000 members and incites sectarian hatred.
Mr. Asad’s murder is believed to be the first major anti-Ahmadi incident in the UK, and has sparked fears Islamic sectarianism is spreading. Asad’s family are also receiving threats and have been advised by the police not to disclose their location.
A few days before Asad Shah’s murder, the Imam of the Grand Central Mosque in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest mosque, belonging to the majority Sunni sect of Islam, was caught posting a message on the internet praising the Muslim extremist who murdered Pakistani governor Salman Taseer for opposing blasphemy laws. A prominent figure, the mufti was followed and respected by many Muslims of the area. Such religious zealotry has cost many innocents their lives, yet the Islamic state of Pakistan refuses to acknowledge its role in curbing sectarian violence.
The Ahmadis seem to fuel the hatred against them. Pakistan’s orthodox clergy, branding its own version of Islam, calls for killing them. Amongst their demands presented to the media, is a demand that “all Ahmadis should be expelled from the country and that all Ahmadis working in government departments should be terminated from service”.
Years of institutionalized discrimination against the Ahmadiya community and its persistent vilification have led to extreme apathy, where even the mass murder of Ahmadis in Lahore on May 28, 2010 failed to elicit any kind of public outrage. The murder of an Ahmadi is in fact praised and encouraged by the so called guardians of Islam, and the murderer is extolled and revered. In a country where murderers are celebrated and Ahmadi Noble prize winner Dr. Abdus Salam is vilified, it is only natural that society’s fault lines deepen each day.
Hate crimes against the Ahmadi community spiraled out of control since the 1970s, when they were declared non-Muslims. As a result, the community’s headquarters moved from Pakistan to Britain in the 1980s, and is currently based in Morden, south London.
The murder of Asad Shah in a western state underpins the sad reality that sectarian violence is no longer confined to conservative states; it has now spread its tentacles to countries allowing asylum and a safe refuge to the beleaguered community. The murder was indeed a message to the Ahmadi community that they are not safe wherever in the world they may be.
Pakistani authorities have so far shown no political interest in curbing the activities of these groups. The hate speech in Pakistani media against the Ahmadis for instance, largely goes unnoticed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). The trend of violence is deliberately allowed to spiral out of control, making it difficult for the beleaguered Ahmadis to live in Pakistan. The violence has now become imminent in foreign western countries as well, due to the negligence of the Pakistani authorities who continue to allow religious zealots to spew hatred.
The utter disregard of rule of law and complete impunity to law enforcement agencies is a recipe for disaster for Pakistan’s minority, who despite having the constitutional guarantee of state protection are left to fend for themselves. Since its inception, Pakistan has been battling a religious existential fight with itself. A country attained in the name of religion is yet to establish the definition of a Muslim. A Sunni Muslim Punjabi male is what best confirms to the state ideology and orthodox theology. No longer a silent spectator in systematic and continuous religious persecution, the state has now become an active abettor. The judiciary also appears complacent and meek in the face religious fundamentalism and orthodox clergy who are bent on enforcing and implementing the firebrand version of Wahabbism (a religious movement to restore Islam to its original form).
Ahmadis Disenfranchised Again
The ECP has mandated that Ahmadi votes should be entered separately in the register under the notation ‘FOR AHMADIS’ during the local government elections.The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community announced its disassociation from the 2015 local body elections after this announcement. The Community has protested and communicated their outrage to the government and the ECP in the form of letters and in formal meetings about the usurpation of their right to vote on the basis of religion. However, the government has not responded positively.
Ahmadis in Pakistan are thereby deprived of their fundamental democratic right to vote. It is strange that Muslim, Sikhs, Hindus, and Christians are included in one electoral roll and only Ahmadis have to register in a separate list. Ahmadis can only vote if they accept being non-Muslim and disassociate themselves from their beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The government’s always seeks to appease Islamic fundamentalists and extremists by taking unconstitutional action against the Ahmadiyya Community to show that the government is very much Islamist.
The Ahmadiyya Community was declared non-Muslim in Pakistan in 1974. Furthermore, in 1984, an ordinance was promulgated to criminalize their attempt to pass of as Muslims or engage in Islamic worship or practices, or use Islamic terminology everyday life, to the extent that Ahmadis could not greet anyone using the Islamic salutation of Assalmoálikum, i.e. peace be upon you.
The ECP has specially added a column of religion in the voter registration form, though general elections are held on a joint electorate basis. Ahmadis have to sign a declaration showing their disconnection with the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in order to register themselves as voters. Moreover, only one general voters list was prepared for the joint electorate, but in 2002 and 2008 a separate list was prepared only for Ahmadis, the latter under notification dated January 17, 2007 (No. F1 (6) / 2001 – Cord).
According to this notification, names of all Pakistani citizens, whether they are Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, or other religious minorities, are entered in one single list, while only Ahmadis are entered in a separate list. Religious hatred and discrimination is thus overt. It is an open attempt to single out and marginalise a particular religious group, the Ahmadis, from the national mainstream, and make them toothless politically.
This discrimination contradicts the rights guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan. Moreover, it is against the spirit of the joint electorate and in clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
General Musharraf in 2002, instead of introducing a Joint Electoral System, required voters to sign a declaration concerning belief about the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophet-hood of Muhammad (PBUH) and those who refused to sign the certificate were to be deleted from the joint electoral rolls and added to a supplementary list of voters as non-Muslims. This form includes a warning that violation will be punished with imprisonment.
These devious and unacceptable procedures have usurped the fundamental civic rights of Ahmadis and for decades now they cannot stand as candidates for any election, national, provincial, or even district. Ahmadis have no representation even in the town councils of their own town Rabwah, where they make up 95 per cent of the population.
The irony is that Article 20 of Pakistan’s Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and Pakistan is also a signatory to the UN Charter of Human Rights, which makes it obligatory for the government to safeguard the fundamental rights of all without any discrimination based on religion, faith, or belief.
On July 27, 2014, a crowd of around 150 fanatics attacked a small, peaceful community of 17 Ahmadi families living in Arafat Colony, on the outskirts of Gujranwala district, Punjab. As a result of the attack, eight houses were burned down.
Three Ahmadis in one of the houses succumbed to the flames. All the three were female, and two were young children.
Not only have the federal and provincial governments failed to provide security for the community, no move has been made to arrest the local mosque leader who delivered a hate speech, calling for the murder of Ahmadis.
Those killed in the attack include Bashiran, a 55-year-old woman, Kainat, an eight-month-old baby girl, and Hira, a seven-year-old girl.
Another Ahmadi woman, seven months pregnant, suffered a miscarriage and lost her baby. Eight others have been badly burnt and are in hospital.
A storage building and several vehicles have also been attacked over the alleged blasphemy.
Local Muslim clergy have been engaged in spreading propaganda to incite people to kill Ahmadis. Such anti-Ahmadiyya attacks are fuelled, in part, by Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which targets Ahmadis and negates their rights to freedom of faith and religion.
According to unconfirmed reports, Ahmadi, Saqib, son of Ahmad Din, allegedly shared on Facebook a blasphemous picture of Khane Kaaba with Ejaz, the son of a mosque leader. This was apparently the spark that ultimately led to the attack.
Then to fan the flames against Ahmadis, Ejaz claimed that Ahmadis had fired shots from the house of a local doctor, injuring Ejaz and another person. The two who claimed to have been injured in the shooting were, however, themselves involved in burning and attacking the houses of Ahmadis.
The mosque leader, Mailvi Zakariya of Jama Masjid Siddiquiya, delivered a fiery speech that incited the people of Maderassa to attack Ahmadis homes.
Fire trucks responding to the arson attacks had to turn back due to the gathered mob, and the local police prevented anybody from intervening to stop the fires. A large contingent of police was present, but they were unwilling to stop the violent mob.
As things stand in the country now, particularly in Punjab, a blasphemy charge, however unfounded, makes such cold-blooded killings somehow less repulsive. The people who were killed were not even indirectly accused of the blasphemy charge. Their only fault was that they were Ahmadi. Torching women and children in their house simply because of their faith represents brutalisation and barbarism stooping to new lows. That the mob was dancing for the TV camera after torching the houses of people who were not even accused of blasphemy proves that the whole episode had nothing to do with blasphemy but was aimed at further vitimising an already persecuted community.
Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law does not clearly define blasphemy, but states that the offence is punishable by death. Anyone can file a blasphemy case – claiming his or her religious feelings have been hurt. The accused are often lynched, and lawyers and judges defending or acquitting them have been attacked. Rights groups say the blasphemy law has been used to seize money and property.
For further details into attacks on Ahmadis in the recent past see PAKISTAN: The houses of Ahmadis are under attack and the police are providing protection to the attackers and PAKISTAN: Appeasement policy towards religious intolerance leads to murder of a governor.
The number of blasphemy accusations in Pakistan is rising, according to a 2012 study by the Center for Research and Security Studies, an Islamabad-based think-tank.
In 2001, there was only one such complaint, but in 2011 there were as many as 80. Figures are yet unavailable but it appears 2014 will be a record year. In May 2014, 68 lawyers were charged with blasphemy for using the name ‘Umar’ in protest slogans against a police official of the same name. In the same month, prominent human rights lawyer Rashid Rehman, who was defending a university professor accused of blasphemy, was shot and killed after being threatened in court by other lawyers.
The government must stop the policy of appeasing fundamentalists.
Action must be taken against the Gujranwala police as well, as they deliberately refused to intervene as the mob looted and burned the Ahmadi homes. T
The law against the use of loudspeakers from the mosques needs to be enforced; such loudspeakers are being used to broadcast religious and sectarian hatred throughout society.
Muhhamad Shoaib Adil, editor of the Monthly Naya Zamana magazine and publisher of Naya Zamana publications in Lahore, was taken into custody on June 12, 2013 in the evening following the raid of his offices by more than a dozen militants from the religious extremist group Khatm-e-Nabuwat and several policemen from the Civil Lines police station in Lahore. During this raid all his books and publications have been confiscated.
The Muslim fundamentalist group had arrived on motor bikes, led by one Muhammad Hasan Muawiya, and had coerced the police to arrest Mr. Adil on charges of Blasphemy. The leader of the group, Muawiyya is an infamous extremist who operates in the city of Lahore, he maintains close connections with the provincial government officers and it is learnt that the police too are generally in support of his actions and is even known to follow his orders.
Police raided Mr. Adil’s publication house on the information provided to them by Mauwiyya that blasphemous material is being published at the Naya Zamana publication house, which are derogatory to Prophet of Islam. The police was unable to find any such blasphemous material.
However, the extremist groups searched the office and confiscated many books including a book based an auto biography of a retired judge of Lahore high court titled ‘Adalat-e-Aalia tak ka safar’, a book based on translation of PhD thesis on the works of Dr. Abdul Salam, a Noble laureate of Physics, a book on judicial inquiry of Justice Munir, books on poetry, fiction, philosophy and natural sciences, some which have been which were gifted to as a routine to printers and publishers.
Following the raid and his custody by the police, Mr. Adil had been taken to the police station in a police van and more than two dozen extremists were following on motor bikes under the leadership of Muawiyya. At the Civil Lines police station, all printed material had been checked again in the presence of religious militants where they found that the autobiography of retired judge, justice Islam Bhatti, was published in 2007 was Blasphemous although the publication had no reference whatsoever to the Ahmadi sect. The book speaks of Justice Bhatti’s career as a lawyer and a judge at the Lahore High Court. Although police have refused to institute a Blasphemy case the militants had insisted that the autobiography is written by an Ahmadi therefore Mr. Adil be charged for Blasphemy. Likewise another publication, based on translation of PhD thesis on the works of Dr. Abdul Salam, a Noble laureate of Physics, a book on judicial inquiry of Justice Munir, published in 1954 but as the copy rights was finished in 2004 it was re-printed in 2006, and many other books on poetry, fiction, philosophy and natural sciences, which were gifted to as a routine to printers and publishersThe police have refused these demands.
It is learnt that during this time a crowd of about more than 300 persons had gathered outside the police station and called for Mr. Adil’s release so that they can punish him in their fashion. The efforts to subdue the crowds by Senior police officers have failed with the crowds refusing to leave the area. According to reports, the crowds have remained, surrounding the police station and once they have dispersed Police have released Mr. Adil in the early hours of the next morning.
Following Mr Adil’s release, extremists groups have gathered near the police station and staged a protest for two days calling an inquiry against the police officers for releasing Mr Adil without charges and called for Mr Adil to be punished with death.
Following Mr Adil’s ordeal with the religious extremist, he has left Lahore with his family and is in hiding, fearing for his life since the Khat-e-Nabuwwat’s announcement to all its branches across the country that Mr Adil be killed if found. They have distributed his photographs, and his office is under constant vigilance by these extremists. Further, the extremists have declared that Justice Bhatti’s assistant, Ahmed Tahir Mirza, who compiled the autobiography, also as a blasphemer and extremists are on the lookout for him too.
Another activist of Khatme Nabuwat, Qari Rafiq has filed a petition against Mr Adil, in the Additional Session Court to for charges of blasphemy under section 295-C of Pakistan Penal Code accusing him of posing as a Muslim despite being an Ahmadi . The session court had fixed the date of next hearing for the 18 June 2014 and has issued notice to the police for the reply of questions raised by the petitioner. According to sources on the date of the said hearing on 18 June, police had not been present in court, as they could not find any evidence about Mr Adil being an Qadiani or an Ahmadi. The petitioner, Qari Rafiq has been involved in the past in forcefully grabbing land belonging to Christians on false allegations of them desecration the Quranic versus.
The Urdu monthly magazine, Naya Zamana, is popular in Punjab province for its liberal and progressive writing. It is also popular among religious minority groups, the Christians, the Hindus, Ahmadis and Shia sects as it gives more coverage to the persecution of religious minorities.
Further, the main perpetrator, Hasan Muawiyya, the leader of the extremist group to be a close friend of provincial law minister who provides him impunity. His elder brother, Allama Tahir Ashrafi, is the Islamic religious leader and chief of Council of Ulemas (religious leaders) who claims he has no control over his younger sibling. Several attempts by even religious leaders to approach Khatme Nabuwaat in order to settle the issue have failed. The leaders of the Khatme Nabuwatt extremist groups have warned that it is too late and that the call to kill his has been communicated country wide and there is no stopping it.
Further references can be accessed at http://www.humanrights.asia/news/forwarded-news/AHRC-FPR-008-2013?searchterm=hasan+muawiya
Due to the rise in religious extremism in Pakistan, the lives of many moderates who believe in rationality and pluralism and of those who advocate human rights and the rights of minorities are under constant and serious threat.
Pakistan is today categorized amongst the failed States because of its indifferent attitude towards religious minorities. It is incapable of providing safety and security for its citizens and its irresponsible enforcement of blasphemy laws, which are grossly abused.
Freedom of expression is now so limited in Pakistan due to the various laws, including the blasphemy laws and the Official Secret Act of 1923 which generated intolerance in the society at every level. The only group that benefits from this Act is the terrorists and the state intelligence agencies. Therefore the government must follow Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which has already been ratified by Pakistan. This Article provides space for the freedom of expression and a society based on tolerance.
The Muslim pressure groups are so strong that the police always follow the dictate of these bigots who show their power through the illegal misuse of mosques loudspeakers. The mosques, by law, are not allowed to use loudspeakers for any other purpose than calling (Azan) for prayers but there is no political will to stop them using the loudspeakers for any purpose they chose.
The blasphemy law now stands as a tool of oppression in hands of those who refuse to wait for the process of law. They are sitting in judgment and executing punishment to innocent people. This demonstrates that state structure is crumbling and there is no rule of law.
The whole society has been made hostage at the hands of these religious extremist. These religious extremists are militarized and lethally armed and trained for total destruction and annihilation. They are spread all over, in different tiers of government and in our neighborhoods as well. Their net work is very strong and wide. The number of maddrassas and militia training centers are grown beyond proportions.
The law is supposed to be enforced and administered by the courts of law. But in the case of accusation of blasphemy, the law stops to operate. The fundamental right that every citizen shall have equal protection of law and shall be accorded due process of law as enshrined in our constitution is completely defeated because the religious fundamentalists take law in their own hands and start administering punishment to such an accused without according him an opportunity of trial. They impose punishment by killing him publically or in jail and also torch their houses and worship places.
The religious minority group of Ahmadis is under constant threat of religious hate crimes and no serious efforts have been initiated by the government to provide protection the community. This is a pity. The Ahmadis may or may not be Muslims. This is besides the point. The question is if they have any rights under the laws of Pakistan or are they to be treated in the same fashion as the Jews in the Nazi period and should thus be sent to the concentration camps.
The people of Pakistan should never forget if they permit this to happen then the same thing may happen to other communities too, starting with the Shias and then the other minority sectarian groups even within the Sunni sect.
In the latest incident a member of the Ahmadiyya community was murdered after receiving death threats from an extremist group whom the Ahmadiya community says is patronized by thePunjab provincial government.
Mr. Naseem Ahmad Butt, 55, was shot dead by four men as he lay sleeping inside his house in Muzaffar Colony, Faisalabad. According to his brother Khalid Pervez Butt, at about 1am, the attackers entered by climbing over the walls. “The boys were between 20 and 25 years old. Three of them kept a watch on the door as one kicked my brother. When he was awake, the killer said “You are Ahmadi and liable to be killed”.
The attacker then shot Naseem in the chest while another bullet ruptured his kidney. A car and a bicycle were used in the attack, Khalid said. Naseem, was a worker at a power loom factory and leaves behind his widow, four daughters and a son. His first cousin, Naseer Butt, was also killed in 2010 when he was passing through a crowded market place in the same Faisalabad city. Police have made no effort to trace his killers and the case has been declared as a blind murder.
In a hate campaign a band religious group is openly issuing pamphlets calling on citizens to kill people from the Ahmadiyya community. This should be done in the open and crowded market places as a Jihad (holy war). Killing, beating and punishing them would be rewarded by God.
The All Pakistan Student Khatme Nabowat Federation has also issued pamphlets against the Ahmadiya; the information department of Aalmi Majlis-e-Khatm-eNabowat Shafaat-e- Muhammadi with their phone numbers and email address has also issued similar pamphlets.
In the hate crimes against the Ahmadiyya community more than 111 Ahmadis have been killed in target killings since 1984 when an ordinance against Ahmadis were issued by a military dictator. In May 2010, more than 88 people were killed in Lahore when gunmen opened fire at two separate places of worship and, one year on, no progress has been made by investigators.
There is no question as to the identities of the religious extremists who are calling for a Jihad against the Ahmadiyya community as they openly express their hate speeches from the public address systems of their mosques.
The provincial government of the Punjabhas been implicit in assisting the Jihad and makes no effort to conceal the fact that they openly support the extremist. Once again the government of President Zadari knowing that one of their provincial governments is openly supporting the Jihad against the Ahmadiyya community has done nothing.
The federal government must intervene with all haste to rein in the extremists and seriously question a provincial government that encourages violence against the people ofPakistan regardless of their religious faith or ethnicity.
A British doctor is languishing in a Pakistani prison accused of “posing as a Muslim” after being videoed reading aloud from the Quran. The 72-year-old medical practitioner was arrested on charges of blasphemy, for reciting Quran. He belongs to the Ahmadi community. The police quickly arrested him and sent him to prison.
The British media have a great deal of space to his arrest and demanded that the British government contact the Pakistan government for his release. As usual the government of Pakistan is hesitant to release his due to fear of reprisals from religious fundamentalist groups.
Dr. Masood Ahmad (72), is a member of the minority Ahmadi sect, who is declared non-Muslim under the terms of the country’s constitution and subject to widespread discrimination, violence and abuse. Dr Ahmad was arrested from Lahore, on Dec 15, 2013, after two persons from a Muslim fundamentalist group secretly filmed him reading a translation of a verse from the Quran. The accusers posed as patients at a clinic run by Dr Ahmad and after receiving medication stayed to ask religious questions. They questioned him about his faith and used mobile phones to secretly record him reading a verse from the Quran.
Dr. Ahmad returned to Pakistan in 1982 to open a pharmacy after working in London. His family members fear the country’s strict blasphemy laws are being used to persecute the widower and strip him of his pharmacy. The Muslim fundamentalists are exerting pressure on the provincial government and judges to convict anyone accused of blasphemy. Dr Ahmad was arrested when a mob, including local clerics, gathered outside a police station demanding that the doctor face charges.
The lawyers have filed three different bail applications and on the one bail application the fundamentalists occupied the court premises and shouted slogans and threatened the doctor’s lawyers and the judge. On the hearing of two bail applications the lawyers of the victim were absent. Doctor Ahmad is in the prison and there are chances that he would be killed in custody as the religious groups are inciting the prisoners to deal with the Ahmadi to change his religion or kill him. They believe that Ahmadis do not have any place in Islam. Religious hardliners claim there is a place in heaven waiting for anyone who murders a member of the sect.
His clinic has been illegally occupied by a Muslim leader who incited the community to punish an Ahmadi person so as to obtain possession of his property.
IN 2013, a 25-year-old hospital clerk and his father were at home in Lahore reading an Ahmadi newspaper when a crowd of mullahs broke down their door. They beat the two while a crowd looted their home. Then a gunman forced the pair into a car without license plates. Their kidnappers went free but the two were eventually charged with impersonating Muslims in special anti-terrorist courts designed to combat the Taliban.
The clerk was released after a month, but his father, who has not yet been convicted, has been in prison for nine months. The family has since fled their home and the man now occupying it is refusing to pay them for it.
Reuters reports that Ahmadis are also targets outside Pakistan. In Indonesia, a gruesome YouTube video recorded a mass lynching in 2011 as police looked on. Ahmadi publications are banned in Bangladesh, where a festival site was torched earlier this year. In Britain, Ahmadi buildings have been vandalised and leaflets have appeared forbidding them to enter shops and urging Muslims to kill them, British media have reported.