Why are we as Pakistanis okay with Ahmadis getting killed?

Published: April 14, 2016
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Back when I was in school, having an Ahmadi classmate only meant engaging in childish arguments with them. Now it means fearing for their lives.

A few days ago, BBC reported that ‘Kill Ahmadis’ leaflets were found at Stockwell Green Mosque, in London. They were authored by a former head of Khatme Nabuwat, and the mosque, expectedly, denied any connection with the leaflets.

This follows the murder of an Ahmadi shopkeeper named Asad Shah in Glasgow last month, because he had allegedly ‘disrespected’ Islam and falsely claimed to be a prophet.

All this took place in England, but things in Pakistan, home to the most powerful anti-Ahmadi sentiment in the world, are even worse. While hate speech against all religious minorities in Pakistan is common, the Ahmadi community is targeted much more regularly.

Quite often, fingers are pointed at a lack of education for this reaction. Additionally, the blame is also put on religious hatred that is preached at the countless seminaries across the country. While this does not cover the entire picture, it is true.

However, how many of us belong to families and social circles that accept Ahmadis? The answer is disappointing, but not surprising.

The anti-Ahmadi sentiment is something most of us have grown up with. While our families and friends may not promote violence, there is a significant sense of internal dislike towards the Ahmadi community. Not only do we rubbish the community’s belief system quite regularly, distasteful jokes about Mirza Ghulam Ahmad are just as common.

During my primary school days, I was friends with quite a few children who belonged to the Ahmadi community. I was not even 10-years-old, but even back then; our minds were drilled to believe that their belief system was not just wrong, it deserved to be ridiculed. It was simply not a matter of debate. There were multiple instances where Ahmadi students were cornered by the teacher, almost entirely during classes for Islamic Studies. The teacher-student dynamics ensured that the student would utter a minor disagreement, but then stay quiet after being reprimanded by the teacher.

The teachers were not the only ones doing this however.

As children, we would have the most inane of religious discussions with our friends belonging to the Ahmadi community, but it all ended with one thing; you are wrong. We are not. That is it.

Back then, it never occurred to us how senseless our take on things was and how this closet aggression towards religious beliefs of the Ahmadi community was doing to children who followed that very belief system. A few years later, still in school but having a bit more capacity to comprehend these things, I noticed that the very same children we put down for their religious beliefs, now refused to engage in such discussions.

In addition to this, there were other children who preferred not to disclose they belonged to the Ahmadi community to begin with, simply because of the response they would receive, no matter how subdued it may be. Even when a student would mention that he belonged to the Ahmadi community, it would be with an element of defensiveness.

Growing up, a large number of these children and their families immigrated abroad. Back then, we thought they only did so for economic reasons. It never occurred to us that it was done because their families did not feel safe in Pakistan. As children, they had only been exposed to subtle dislike. As parents, they had been exposed to visible hatred in Higher Education institutes and workplaces. It is no wonder that by the time I entered university, there were very few students in class who claimed following the Ahmadi faith.

The reason behind this was simple; to avoid being marginalised.

Back when I was in school, having an Ahmadi classmate only meant engaging in childish arguments with them. Now it means fearing for their lives.

At some level, we have all contributed to the marginalisation of the Ahmadi community in Pakistan. Either in school as a group of foolish kid, or as adults where we choose silence over action. Marrying into an Ahmadi family, even in today’s day and age, is next to impossible as far as many of our parents are concerned. Even for the most open-minded of us all, this is a sad reality.

We have the audacity to cry hoarse over the Rohingya Muslim bloodshed, but turn a blind eye towards the mess at home. We can beat the ‘things are changing’ drum in Pakistan all we like, but the ugly truth is that treating the Ahmadi community like equals is something that we will not see in our lifetime, and each and every one of us is to blame for it.

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salman Zafar

Salman Zafar

The writer works in the Education Sector and tweets as @salmanzafar1985 (twitter.com/salmanzafar1985)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Rohan

    Why are we as Pakistanis okay with Ahmadis getting killed?
    Because of the ideology of PakistanRecommend

  • Read Below

    Most Pakistanis are Bralvhis/Shias/Deobandis/Wahhabis.

    All these sects consider Ahemedis as non-Muslims and their killing is considered OK for the glory of Islam.

    Most Pakistanis are generally OK with the killing of Hindus and Christians also, so the hate is spread evenly without any prejudice.

    Yet, the same Pakistanis want everyone outside Pakistan to love and appreciate them.Recommend

  • nosh

    Very well written article that depicts the core issue in a broad perspective. It has happened because we have donned the position of self proclaimed saviours of Islam with immense self righteousness and having the audacity to be the authority to deal punishments as horrifying as gruesome murder in the name of Islam hence tarnishing our religions image with our own hands. Recommend

  • Tariq mehmood

    A worthless piece of writing by a worthless.
    Quoting childish logic to create a literature out of nothing. Shame!!!!!
    Shame!!!!
    Recommend

  • Iqra

    ok,seriously,this argument is getting really old. Can’t you idiots get this through your thick skulls that just because Ahmedis are(and will always be) non-muslim,they are not supposed to be killed?Recommend

  • bogus

    Imam in Portland, Oregon USA came under scrutiny because he was preaching that it was OK to kill Ahmadis- he shut up after 911 when the govt started to scrutinize what was being taught in the mosque – but it’s an example of how acceptable persecution of Ahmadis has become. It’s also interesting that once the USA govt focused on this Imam he was arrested for Welfare fraud, put on “no fly” list and otherwise has remained quiet. Pakistan should take the hint.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Ahmadis were the biggest financier and supporter of TNT.Recommend

  • Nasir Jadran

    As a kid when I grew up brief part of my life under Zia’s 1984 Pakistan back then anti-Ahmadiyya sentiments among kids were non-existent. They didn’t even know who Ahmadis or Qadianis were. After reading this article and many more stories like this I can safely say that kids who grew up after our generation were deliberately lead to extremism and subsequently have an element of becoming a potential terrorist. They may not have much of a potential to become Abdus Salam but more likely to become Qadri, Pahari, Jhangvi, and Saulat Mirza. This is gross injustice to the generation of Pakistanis and someone must address this issue and cleanse the country from bigotted ideologies and constitutional amendments. Otherwise be ready to kiss Pakistan goodbye !Recommend

  • Golmal

    Talk for yourself ONLY. Do NOT generalize, and make
    theories about WHAT other sects believe. YOU being
    a Hindu should look in the mirror FIRST.Recommend

  • Ramchand

    Shall we talk about Hindutva? RSS? Shiv Sena?Recommend

  • HonkyTonk Man

    If only Pakistanis had followed Jinnah’s instructions and not let religion become the business of the state, Ahmedis would not be called non-muslims in the constitution of the country and they would not be targeted.Recommend

  • Mirza Aasauf Baig

    Who told them to start Disrespecting our Beloved Prophet?
    Why they deny versus of the Holy Quran?
    Why they do that? Why they call their leaders Prophet? Why???
    After doing all these thing why they call themselves Muslim , which they are not. Why???Recommend

  • SuperNeo™

    author is raising question on core of Pakistan..reason for which Pakistan was created,
    only for spreading hatred all over the world,to make Pakistan biggest exporter of Crime in world (what happened in england is very samll example).
    Shias, hindus, ahmedis are just name in paksitan. i’m sure even sunni will kill sunni in coming future

    if paksitan would have created for Islam ,Atrocities in Xinchan province was never over shadowed by $22 billion.Recommend

  • Pawal

    Human being is worst animal on this planet, to avenge the enmity on religious tool can use to destroy anyone. Such a wonderful creation of god and can’t stay peacefully together.Recommend

  • M.M.

    Just who are you to say” Ahamids are ( and will always be ) be ” non Muslim.” Who has given you that authority to say that. Recommend

  • Sridhar Kaushik

    When you have a nation founded on the basis of religion, these things become inevitable. Pakistani clerics are busy telling the people who is a true muslim. So, they have deemed Ahmediyas not a true muslim, whatever that means. Most of them would also say Shias are not true muslims. Violence against Shia community is not uncommon in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Desi

    Most of the religious sects in Pakistan are OK with the aspect that killing Ahmedis is for the glory of Islam, and then all these sects demand from everyone around the world that they should not be known as terrorists. How deep crap is this? No matter if it is the Ahmedis or some other NON-Muslims, first we are no one to judge any ones beliefs and most importantly killing in Islam has always been prohibited regardless of the religion. Allah save Pakistan from these illiterate mullahs.Recommend

  • qalam

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtQrB6rroZw

    please listen this reply.Our believe are as Muslim have.The Holy Prophet s.a.w.s is our beloved Prophet.The Holy Quran is our book.Recommend

  • qalam

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtQrB6rroZw
    What you have said showed that you do,nt know what ahmadi believe.Please have a look on this video to see what they believe.We have deep respect and love with our beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammad s.a.w.s.Recommend

  • qalam

    If we want peace in our country religion should be separated. Its private business of every one.Its not the job of state to tell who is Muslim or not.Every one have right to be part of any religion.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    what part of beleif system Pakistani Muslims do not understand? Religion is a beleif system. Beleif is what you beleive. Nobody can prove god exists. How can anybody say their god is better than Ahmedis?

    Its idiotic to force somebody to believe something which cannot be proved. There are many belief systems with hundreds of variants. These are all for weak people, who cannot take care of themselves and dont have self confidence.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    And Allah appointed you to save him from getting shamed?Recommend

  • Umair Rasheed

    That 17% who are disagreeing the above are the ostriches who kept bury their heads in the sand thinking nobody is looking at them. As long as these people are their, the fate of ahmadis would be the same.Recommend

  • SamSal

    Generalization wasn’t that wrong, after all.
    You being a Pakistani Muslim assumed that anyone who tries to show you mirror must be a Hindu.Recommend

  • Rakiba Khan, Mumbai

    Pakistan leadership should take the lead and make amends to constitution giving Ahmadis equal rights..This will the first step to let people know it is not ok to discriminate against them. Until then these hatred and persecutions will continue..Indian Muslims thank Jinnah that he created Pakistan so Indian Muslims can live and grow peacefully.Recommend

  • amir

    Why just stop at school or universities? Same happens at the workplace. I have faced similar situation where my promotion was stopped, to please another righteous senior manager, whom I later found out through another director, because of being an Ahmadi. And no it was not performance related. I left the company soon after that.

    My uncle working for an MNC had a manager circulating hate emails about him. When the gora boss found out, he called the manager that if anything happens or said to my uncle, he will be fired. All stopped. A strict action is required to stop this. But no one here has the courage, less they are also labelled Ahmadis.

    I still remember back in late 70’s when Holy Kabba was attacked by Saudi dissidents, I had a good friend of mine stand up in class and said that Qadianis did it.

    When some of my friends found out I was an Ahmadi, 70% stopped talking to me.

    Now I have strict instructions that my daughters will not be told about being an Ahmadi, till they are old enough to understand.Recommend

  • OSD

    I don’t understand why every negative incident in the whole wide world must be, as a rule, connected to Pakistan somehow! There is some harassment of minorities but haven’t all of us been targeted at some point by these extremists?? More Sunnis have been killed in militant attacks than the combined casualties of all minorities in Pakistan! It’s not to say that our sacrifice is bigger than yours. Stop crying and playing a victim! Become a part of moving ahead instead. That is the way to beat these extremists!Recommend

  • Pro Truth

    No its not OK to kill people and No, its not OK with Pakistanis!Recommend

  • SchadenFreude

    The Ahmadis were at the forefront of the partition of India. Now they are being out-muslimed by other muslims. Who in turn will be out-muslimed by even “better” muslims. This is what comes of making a country based on a religion.
    Watch your back. There’s always someone greener than your shade of green.Recommend

  • Rohan

    Nope because it’s irrelevant to AhmadisRecommend

  • gp65

    Yes. Please do. Please quote a single Shiv Sena person who says that Muslims are wajib-ul-qatl or deserve to be killed simply because they are Muslims.
    The population of Muslims in India went up from 9% in 1947 to 14% while the minorities I Pakistan have either been killed, forcibly converted or pushed out.Recommend

  • gp65

    If Jinnah had followed his own instruction, he would not have made a speech stating that Hindus and Muslims are two nations who cannot be yoked together. He would not have asked for a religion on the basis of religion.Recommend

  • gp65

    It is the killing of Ahmadis and the preachers who preach that it is okay to do so, that is shameful. Questioning such hatred, as this article does, is not shameful at all.Recommend

  • gp65

    “SOme” harassment of minorities?No. The constitution of Pakistan discriminates against minorities to begin with. Minorities were 20% of Pakistan at time of partition. Where are they now? Killed, forcibly converted or pushed out of the country.
    Did you know that in the 1941 census Karachi’s population was 51% Hindus and 8% Sikhs? Where are they now? After all Sind was not even partitioned.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    By your logic suicide bomber is also a victim since s/he is also killed, the bomb first targeted her/him. Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Dear Rakiba, Hope you have right Islam. I f I cannot find divine in my own breath, awareness, my kids, mom-dad and the native surrounding then I will not find it anywhere Recommend

  • HonkyTonk Man

    Well, I am glad that he did ask for a Separate country. Having said that, Pakistan was supposed to be a country for the Muslims, not a Muslim Country.Recommend

  • Lotus

    Most of the Muslim political leaders at the time of Partition opposed the creation of Pakistan,including Jamat Islami,Jamiat ul Ulema Hind (JUI),etc.But no sooner the Patition or the creation of Pakistan took place,all these leaders including Molana Maudoodi took the first train and lands in Pakistan.They had also named Quaid e Azam as Kafir e Azam.They saw the liberal style of Mr Jinnah towards religion including a Ahmadi (Sir Zafar ullah Khan) as the Foreign Minister,a Hindu as Law Minister,the author of National Anthem a Hindu (Jagan Nath),etc,which made them feel as Outclass.These mullahs also created the slogan,”Pakistan ka matlabi kiya,La ill aha illalah”,etc.While the actual translation means what is the meaning of Pakistan ,it is Land of Pure AND There is no God but Allah.It is true that discriminating against anyone,be it Ahmadi or believer of any religion is totally wrong and against the belief of the Leaders of the Freedom Movement.Lastly,killing of anyone due to his belief is never allowed in Islam,where it is categorically stated that killing of an inocent individual for his belief is like killing the entire Humanity.The Mullah’s do not know it,nor want to know or want not to preach it.God save Pakistan from these Stone Age preachers in the name of Islam!Recommend

  • LS

    So we know now that this Tariq Mehmood and the guy who up-voted him Tariq Aasasul Baig definitely hate Ahmadis including those who disagreed with the author, 59 of them so far.Recommend

  • LS

    what is holy about quran? Prophet Muhammad was illiterate trader and could NOT have written it. It was compiled a good 100 years after he died. Same with bible or any other book. All of them were compiled by people.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    It is not just true of the Pakistanis, it holds good for Muslims all over the world. It is much more evident in Pakistan because majority of the Ahmediyas live in Pakistan.

    I can hardly think of a man who spoke against the basic tenets of Islam and got to live for long after that. This is not a new phenomena, it has been going on for centuries and will continue until all that defy the pillars of faith across the world are decimated.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    What’s wrong with the caps lock?Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Muslims do not have a word called gratitude in their dictionary especially when it comes to faith, when they live in west they don’t enjoy the democracy but they exploit it hoping one day they would take that country over and make those lands exactly what their home countries are, a place where you would be free to hate those who are either non Muslims or not Muslim enough.

    Leave alone the Pakistanis, if you ever tell an Indian Muslim that despite all your complaints you have grown exponenetially in India unlike the minorities in Pakistan, the Muslims would say, “what’s the big deal you infidel, don’t you know this is our born right being the followers of perfect faith.”Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Mr Qalam, your tasting your own medicine. Good luck.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    You may try to put people to shame if they have any. Muslims will simply refuse facts, will have a good laugh over it among themselves and say what’s wrong in having others converted to Islam, never mind the means.

    Let us not blame the Muslims, they are doing exactly what they have been doing for centuries. It is the fault of the non Muslims who have never tried knowing the Muslim mindset enough.Recommend

  • Rebel

    Ahmadis are Punjabi Hindu Rajputs who converted to Islam in 13th century. If they are no longer accepted by their fellow Muslims and persecuted, they can return to their roots.Recommend

  • Hameed

    You simply refuse to get it. I would simply ask you to consider the recent carnage in Lahore on Easter, do you think that Sunnis would have been killed if there was no hate against the minorities (which was the prime motive of the attack)? Yes terrorism affects all but the source of terrorism is extremism which is directed towards particular people and has a particular ideology. And no we are not going “beat these extremists” unless we recognize that we have a problem of mentalities.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Hey Mod!! What’s “all that defy the pillars of faith “?Recommend

  • Jatt Sher

    A ‘religion’ is more of an abstract set of ideas/deities introuduced by invading Aryans on native Dravidian people to make them Shudras in backwards caste system. The most racist, hateful and backwards dogma ever : HinduismRecommend

  • Jatt Sher

    Most Indians are touchables, slightly touchables, partially touchables, maybe touchables and un-touchables and eatables. Yet they want everyone outside India to love and appreciate them.Recommend

  • Fahimuddin

    Several mistakes in speech, how stupid people made him their big oneRecommend

  • Salam.

    The absurd of this blog / article only intends to use emotions and start and argumentative debate with anger, fictional and unreliable comments.
    Declaration of Qadianiat as a different religion or belief is not new and had nothing to do with Pakistan only propaganda.
    Religious authorities of Islam unanimously declared them non-Muslims decades before existence of Pakistan.
    Pakistan assembly in 1973 gave a fair chance to prove their ideology and belief as Islamic or similar to Islam, they failed yet again at a non religious forum.

    Nobody dare to question why with difference of basic belief Qadyanis still want to be labelled as Muslim? and call their belief as Islam?
    Please stop generating hatred and frustration by accusing the majority who follow the authority of belief and keep a distance from such debates.

    Accusation of religion based discrimination must consider provocative activities and attributes of Qadyanis in Pakistan and at global forums.
    Please don’t label all as supporters of murders and discrimination for your own whim as a fashion against Islam and believing Muslims of a faith which stops murders at all levels and of all categories.

    A wrong cannot be justified, yet it cannot be used to defame masses of a belief.Recommend

  • Salam.

    The absurd of this blog / article only intends to use emotions and start and argumentative debate with anger, fictional and unreliable comments.
    Declaration of Qadianiat as a different religion or belief is not new and had nothing to do with Pakistan only propaganda.
    Religious authorities of Islam unanimously declared them non-Muslims decades before existence of Pakistan.
    Pakistan assembly in 1973 gave a fair chance to prove their ideology and belief as Islamic or similar to Islam, they failed yet again at a non religious forum.

    Nobody dare to question why with difference of basic belief Qadyanis still want to be labelled as Muslim? and call their belief as Islam?
    Please stop generating hatred and frustration by accusing the majority who follow the authority of belief and keep a distance from such debates.

    Accusation of religion based discrimination must consider provocative activities and attributes of Qadyanis in Pakistan and at global forums.
    Please don’t label all as supporters of murders and discrimination for your own whim as a fashion against Islam and believing Muslims of a faith which stops murders at all levels and of all categories.

    A wrong cannot be justified, yet it cannot be used to defame masses of a belief.Recommend