Stories about ahmadi

Kill, in the name of religion

According to a recent news report, an organisation called All-Pakistan Students Khatam-e-Nabuwwat is disseminating pamphlets declaring Ahmadis as wajibul qatl (liable to be murdered) for their religious beliefs. The local police authorities, in their usual style, have swept the issue under the carpet. Pakistan is a boiling pot of sectarian strife. A history of hate Sectarian discord escalated in the 1980s and Pakistan became a proxy battle ground for the Sunni and Shia organisations, heavily funded by Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively. However, the history of sectarian violence in Pakistan goes back to the days of its inception. 1953: When Pakistan was still trying to ...

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An open letter to the Chief Justice, from a granddaughter

Did you know your grandfather Mr Chief Justice? I knew mine rather well for a man with 21 grandchildren. His name was Nasir Ahmed Chaudhry. He lived to be 90-years-old and was a retired Major-General. He was killed on May 28, 2010 in the attack on the Model Town Ahmadi “place of worship” – first wounded by a grenade and then shot repeatedly by a terrorist. These are the facts; you can read them in any number of newspaper articles. Let me tell you what the papers don’t know. My nana used to pick me up from kindergarten while I lived in ...

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A question of religion

A furore was recently raised in the United Kingdom (UK) over the voluntary religion question in the 2011 census. Humanists and secularists attacked it for being ‘fatally flawed’ because the information, according to them, can be used to influence public policy and services. For anyone living in Pakistan the outcry might seem a smidgen over the top, given the country’s strident penchant for religiously determined identity systems. Here almost every conceivable form or questionnaire comes replete with a doctrinal question. For example, anyone wanting a passport has to first declare their faith of preference. Need an ID card? Then identify yourself ...

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Gojra slaughter: Keeping the faith

While the reopening of the Bhutto case has the courts frothing and fulminating and the newspaper headlines screaming, perhaps one should give thought to another case, in which, little progress has been made in bringing justice. I speak of the Gojra case of 2009, in which hundreds of people were initially charged with murder and violence in a Christian neighbourhood in the town situated in Toba Tek Singh district. Eight Christians, including four women and a child, were burnt alive when attackers set 40 houses and a church ablaze following allegations that members of a local Christian family had desecrated ...

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Ahmadi in America: Why Shahbaz Bhatti’s death gives me hope

My life in America has been a breeze compared to the life I would have had in a Pakistani village had we stayed there after I was born. But try telling that to a misfit outsider transplanted to Texas. I happen to be an Ahmadi by birth and by practice. It is common knowledge that in Pakistan, where I still have family, anti-Ahmadi conferences take place regularly. During these conferences, audiences are taught that they have a religious duty to kill Ahmadis. As a result, some uneducated Muslims who are unable to read the Holy Quran for themselves, are misled to believe ...

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The conservatives and politics of fear

On Saturday, December 18, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, that was to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States (US) as children, failed to push through the Senate. Although at the outset, the DREAM Act had strong bipartisan support, as the mood of the country towards immigration shifted, Republican (and some Democrat) senators backtracked, terming the legislation as a backdoor amnesty for lawbreakers. These so-called lawbreakers are in fact, individuals who, through no volition of their own, entered and grew up in the US. America is the only ...

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Pakistan’s mullahpoly: My way or the highway

In Pakistan, it seems as though religious clerics have acquired a copyright over Islam, and are exercising this right in its full capacity, including its publication, adaptation, distribution and interpretation. I can safely say that most of us believe that Islam is a religion for all humanity and everyone has a right to learn and practice it. However, the custodians of Islam in this country like to follow and impose their self proclaimed rule. If “Islam Incorporated” was a company than religious fanatics would be the management. The creditors (Islamic sects) loan its goods and services; shareholders (madrassah owners) invest their ...

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Ahmadi rights: No grounds for a burial

Politics is a dirty business, be it at any level. Add religion to it and it makes a messy mix. On Sunday night, the body of an Ahmadi citizen was exhumed from a graveyard near Bhalwal, because the graveyard was a Muslim one. The police harassed the family until they acquiesced to the demand. There are only two Ahmadi families in that area, but they have lived there for decades. According to the brother of the deceased, their elders were also buried in the same graveyard. But this time around, the clerics in Sargodha decided that they did not want a ...

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A victim of the Lahore attack remembers

You read stories of violence and atrocities committed on faceless Pakistanis in your local newspapers on a daily basis. You absorb the news as detached consumers. Empathy and even hints of grief might stir your heart while reading a poignant story every once in a while, but try as you might, you will never be able to relate to the victims and those directly involved – because you were never there. It didn’t happen to you or, anyone you know. And for that, you’re almost relieved. Yet guiltily so. But what would happen, if one day, you or your loved ...

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How to fight the Taliban… with Islam

Pakistan just can’t get a break. If it is not being drowned by floods, it is being set ablaze by suicide bombers. On Friday, at least 53 people were killed and 197 injured in a suicide bombing targeting a Shia Muslim rally in Quetta. A day before, three bombs exploded at a Shia procession in Lahore, with a mounting death toll of 35 people and wounding over 170. The Taliban have taken responsibility for these attacks and boldly asserted that Shias are their targets. The argument that the Taliban use to justify their actions is simple, Shias are non-Muslims and apostates, ...

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