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Massacre at Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosque; Random act of violence or State Sanctioned Terrorism
By iNewp Citizen Journalist
Published: June 7, 2010
The Holy Quran says; “If God did not repel some people by means of others, there would surely have been destroyed cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated” (22:41). In a true Islamic state, the minorities enjoy freedom to practice and preach their religion without fearing for their lives. It is the state’s responsibility to not only protect the lives and mosques of its Muslim constituents but also protect the places of worship of other faiths.
This is not the case in Pakistan, which claims to be an Islamic state and was founded 63 years ago on the basic principles of equality and freedom for all. Instead, it is a country whose name and the word “terrorism” are today often mentioned in the same sentence. Today, Pakistan has laws written in its books which prohibit a large group of Muslims from practicing their faith and they are made to endure a life full of fear and hardships due to their belief on the Messiah of the later days as prophesied by Islam’s prophet, Mohammad (May peace be with him).
In 1974, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, then President of Pakistan, proclaimed Ahmadis “non Muslims” but allowed them to practice their religion. To further satisfy the unabated appetite of fanatics in the country, in 1984, the government of General Zia ul Haq further tightened the law and with one ordinance snatched the basic human rights from Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Furthermore, they tried to break the spirits of Ahmadi Muslims by taking away their identity and barred them from using the word “Muslim” for themselves.
Ahmadis today are prohibited from calling their religion Islam, their places of worship mosques, making the call for prayer “Adhaan” or even making the most basic proclamation of faith which states that “God is One and Mohammad is His messenger”. In an arrogant gesture, the government tried to erase all Muslim words and phrases from Ahmadi lexicon which were built into the soul and daily life of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
While I have been greeted many times in America by non-Muslims with the words “Assalamo Alaikum” (may peace be with you), as an Ahmadi Muslim one can be thrown in jail for using the same greeting in Pakistan.
There are hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims languishing in jails for the crime of sending peace to their fellow Muslims. On a daily basis Ahmadi Muslims face discrimination in jobs, schools and military for the crime of believing in the Messiah.
This state sanctioned persecution has encouraged the fanatic elements in the Pakistani society to make the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community a constant target of threats and attacks. Target killing of community leaders and attacks on Ahmadiyya mosques have become a norm and rarely attracts attention or condemnation from the government. These fanatic elements encourage and incite masses to kill Ahmadis, in plain sight on state sanctioned events and in media. Driving through the main roads of Lahore, a culturally bustling city, one can see banners and graffiti on the walls with incendiary slogans against Ahmadis.
The brutal attacks and massacre in two Ahmadiyya mosques on May 28th are a culmination of years of government policies and an insincere, half hearted effort to control the extremist elements in Pakistan. This heinous attack by Pakistani Taliban has resulted in the death of 95 Ahmadis, while more than 150 are critically injured. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community strictly follows the policy of “Love for All, Hatred for None”. Unlike other religious groups, Ahmadis will not retaliate, they will not raise arms, and they will not come out on the streets to protest or destroy public property. Their 120 year history is filled with patience, tolerance, and non violence. These brutal attacks have however, raised some questions.
How can Ahmadis trust the motives of Pakistan government with the above track record? How can any minority feel protected in a state that has seen Ahmadis literally thrown under the bus over and over again? How can any Pakistani citizen sleep soundly at night with a corrupt government in charge? And how can we Americans trust the motives and sincerity of Pakistan as an ally in this war on terrorism?
(Cover Picture: Chaudary/AP) — Op-Ed Article Contributed By: Aziza Faruqi