Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monthly Newsreport - Ahmadiyya Persecution in Pakistan - August, 2010

Two more Ahmadis murdered for their faith

Karachi and Sanghar (Sindh): Dr Najmul Hasan was murdered in Karachi on August 17, 2010 and Pir Habib ur Rehman in Sanghar on August 19, 2010. Below is a statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a Hong-Kong based NGO, on the murders :

PAKISTAN: Two more Ahmadis murdered in target killings
For Immediate Release
August 23, 2010
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: Two more Ahmadis murdered in target killings
Two more Ahmadis, Dr Najam al Hasan and Pir Habib al-Rehman have been murdered in religiously motivated killings. Once again, no one has been arrested and the likelihood of anyone being prosecuted is virtually nil.
Dr. al-Hasan was leaving his clinic in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, and had just entered his car when he was shot dead by a group of assailants, who remain unidentified. Dr al-Hasan was just 39 years old and a professor at the Dow Medical University, Karachi.
Pir Habib-al-Rehman, a resident of Sanghar city, Sindh province, was on his way to his farm when two masked assailants approached his vehicle and shot him twice. One of the shots fired struck his head. He was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. Pir Habib al–Rehman was a US citizen and had been in Pakistan on personal business. He is the second US citizen in two years to be killed for being an Ahmadi. In 2006 Pir Habib’s brother Dr. Pir Mujeeb al-Rehman, was also killed for being an Ahmadi Muslim in Sanghar city. Previously in September, 2008, Dr. Abdul Mannan Siddiqi, also a US citizen, was brutally killed in Mirpurkhas.
Since the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX in 1984, 20 Ahmadi doctors have been killed in sectarian attacks, ten of whom were murdered in Sindh province. Dr. Najam al-Hasan becomes the second Ahmadi to be killed in Karachi this year because of his religion. Such violence is a result of the continuing hatred that is spread throughout Pakistan against Ahmadiyya Muslims.
Violent assaults against Ahmadis are carried out in the name of religion and all too often they are premeditated and well organized. It is most unfortunate that certain parts of the media in Pakistan are being used to incite the sentiments of people against Ahmadis and inflame the already raging fire of sectarianism in the country. It is unacceptable that some of the main media and press is aiding the fundamentalist and extremist agenda by openly declaring Ahmadis to be Wajibul Qatl (must be murdered) which is leading to the deaths of innocent Pakistanis. The fundamentalists encourage these deaths by claiming that the killers will be entitled to place in heaven.
The recent attacks on Ahmadis in Lahore have shown that it is open season for extremist and fundamentalist mullahs to spill their venom against Ahmadis which has resulted in the persecution of Ahmadis in various cities and towns of Pakistan. This lack of law and order is resulting in increasing agitation and lawlessness in Pakistan which does not bode well for the country moving forward.
It is also deplorable to learn that during the current national emergency (flooding) Ahmadi victims have been denied aid and have been turned away from shelters. In view of the fact that the government of Pakistan has been asking for millions of dollars in international aid they have a duty to explain this to the funding countries. The aid is being provided for all Pakistanis and this includes the extremists, fundamentalists, Ahmadis and Christians alike. The AHRC calls on the government of Pakistan to end this inhumane and barbaric treatment.
The AHRC urges the authorities in Pakistan to safeguard the security and dignity of all its citizens irrespective of race, religion or creed. In particular it is the Ahmadis who have been denied basic fundamental human rights and whose tormentors and killers are never brought to justice.
In the case of the recent killings the government of Pakistan must show its sincerity to the world and the countries funding the aid by ensuring that minority groups will receive the same degree of aid that the majority are receiving. The killers of Dr. Najam-al-Hasan and Pir Habib al–Rehman must be brought to justice.
# # #
About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organization monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Posted on 2010-08-23

Discrimination against Ahmadi flood-victims

August 21, 2010: A report on this subject published in the daily Dawn of August 21, 2010 is reproduced below:

LAHORE, Aug 20: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday expressed concern at the murder of two Ahmadis in the last three days and reports of denial of shelter to members of the Ahmadiyya community displaced by massive floods in south Punjab.
In a press statement, HRCP called upon the government to take urgent measures to ensure there is no discrimination on the basis of belief and that assistance and protection are not denied to a community that faces specific threats.
“The unrelenting targeted killing of members of the Ahmadiyya community by extremists is a poor reflection on the state’s obligation to protect the lives of all subjects. This week, the murder of an Ahmadi in Sanghar and another, a doctor, in Karachi only highlights the impunity the perpetrators of such heinous crimes enjoy. Only bringing the culprits to justice and promoting tolerance in society will bring an end to these senseless killings and give Ahmadis confidence that they can lead peaceful lives as equal citizens of Pakistan.
“HRCP is shocked by reports that government officials and local clerics have refused to provide shelter to around 500 flood-affected Ahmadi families from Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur districts.
“The commission has noted with concern reports of lack of provision of relief goods to flood-affected Ahmadi families, expulsion of displaced Ahmadis from a government school in Dera Ghazi Khan and rented lodgings elsewhere in southern Punjab after clerics’ pressure as well as issuance of edicts by clerics that affected Ahmadis must not be provided help.“HRCP reiterates the urgent need for distribution of relief goods and extension of other support to the affected people without any discrimination on the basis of faith or gender. The fact that Ahmadis are a vulnerable community on account of their religious beliefs must lead to specific assistance and protection measures for them, including protection of lives and property.
“The extensive scale of displacement and destruction by massive floods has understandably stretched the resources of the government to their very limits. However, it is hoped that whatever little is available from any source will be distributed among those in need without discrimination on the basis of religious belief. It would be a greater tragedy than the devastation caused by the floods if people cannot find enough humanity and compassion in their hearts to rise above personal biases to help fellow human beings that are in desperate need of help.”

The Express Tribune, a subsidiary of the International Herald Tribune, published its version of the same story on August 18, 2010, entitled, The politics of relief: Aliens in their own land.

The Asian Human Rights Commission also took note of the incident and in its statement released on August 21, 2010, called “on the government of Pakistan to end this inhumane and barbaric treatment.

Attempt to kill Ahmadi accused in police custody

Mirpur Khas, Sindh; August 13, 2010: Rana Khalil Ahmad and Mr. Rashid Iqbal of Kunri were falsely charged under PPC 295-C, 295-A and 9-ATA with FIR No. 86 at the Police Station Kunri on September 22, 2008. They were arrested and subjected to torture by security personnel. A more detailed account is available in our annual report for 2009 in Chapter 2C: A heart-rending story.

Bail was granted to them eventually by the High Court on June 3, 2009 after being rejected by the lower courts. Their case is now under trial in the Anti-terrorism court, Mirpur Khas. They had to relocate from Kunri in the face of threats. They appear regularly before the court in Mirpur Khas.

There was a heavy police presence at the court on August 13, 2010 for a regular hearing. The police told them to remain inside the court premises for their security. The police had recently taken in custody two suspects who disclosed that their aim was to kill these Ahmadis. They also divulged that their colleagues would accomplish this task, if necessary. In view of this the court gave August 23 as the new date of hearing. The police then escorted these two Ahmadis to the district boundary. The Ahmadiyya community is trying to move their case to Karachi because of safety concerns.

The Police arrested another member of a Jihadi group. One of the detained was involved in the murder of Dr. Abdul Manan Siddiqui who was the district president of Ahmadiyya community in Mirpur Khas. He has been identified by the driver of Dr. Siddiqui, who fortunately survived that attack.

This incident is reminiscent of the murder of two Christian brothers in Faisalabad who were killed outside a courthouse by fanatics belonging to an outlawed Islamic terrorist group. This case has caused international uproar about Pakistan’s continuous failure to protect its minorities.

In one of its reports a few years ago, Amnesty International pointed out that most of the blasphemy cases registered are “motivated not by the blasphemous actions of the accused, but by hostility towards members of minority communities, compounded by personal enmity, professional jealousy or economic rivalry

Ahmadi escapes a death plot

Mirpur Khas, Sindh; August 16, 2010: Mr. Nasir Ahmad Wahla received a phone call at 9:25 p.m. from an unknown person telling him that a grenade had been placed by the main gate of his residence. The caller threatened to blow his house by rocket fire if he would not arrange two million rupees within a week. Mr. Wahla informed the police also who isolated the grenade in custody, and a bomb disposal team defused it.

The Frontier Post of August 18, 2010 reported the story in some detail.

Robbery and kidnapping

Faisalabad; March 9, 2010: Mr. Ishaq Ahmad and Mr. Iqbal Ahmad are two Ahmadi brothers who live in Madina Town, Faisalabad. Burglars forced entry to their home in the late hours of March 9, 2010. They stole 25 tolas of gold and one hundred and twenty thousand rupees in cash after a thorough search of their home. The robbers also stole their Toyota car and kidnapped one child of each brother and told them to arrange ten million rupees ransom to free their children. During the robbery they also asked information about the Ahmadiyya community. After a few days the children, Bilal Ahmad and Sheraz Ahmad, were set free after two and a half million rupees were paid as ransom.

The police took firm action and arrested four suspects. An anti-terrorism court sentenced them to death, confiscation of their property, imprisonment of 13 years and a fine of hundred thousand rupees to each of them, on August 23, 2010.

Two Ahmadis beaten up

Larkana, Sindh; August 5, 2010: The Ahmadis of Larkana face severe hostility at the hands of extremists. Mr. Yasir Butt Abro, a vicious opponent of the community, lives next door to the house of Ahmadi missionary. He runs a cinema too. He misses no opportunity to create trouble for the community. He is following the foot-steps of his late father, Muhammad Ishaq Abro, who annexed the Ahmadiyya missionary house forcibly in 1988 by demolishing its wall. It was recovered with great difficulty in 2001. Now, his son is very active against the Ahmadiyya community.

On August 5, 2010, water accumulated in front of his house due to heavy rains. His house is at a lower level than the missionary’s. He started abusing the Ahmadiyya community over this, and fired gun shots in the air to harass the Ahmadis. Later he called some members of the community to his house under the pretence of wanting to settle the argument. Mr. Raees Ahmad Butt went to his house. When he reached there he was beaten up by Mr. Abro. Mr. Butt had to flee in order to save his life. The incident was reported to the police. Mr. Abro went into hiding when the police came to inquire.

Mr. Raees Ahmad Butt along with his son, Mr. Nasir Ahmad Butt were returning home after informing the police when Abro and his gang attacked them. They used sticks and iron bars to beat them. The victims received injuries on their heads. They again appeared at the police station and had an FIR registered. Later they went to the hospital for treatment. Luckily they survived the violent attack.

Ahmadis under threat

Press report: The Daily Express, Faisalabad published the following story on August 1, 2010 (Translation):

Qadianis, foreigners, embassies and leadership of Mutahiddah at risk of attacks
Bahawalpur (staff reporter): In view of the threat of attack on Qadianis, foreigners, embassies and leadership of Mutahiddah (MQM), orders have been issued to declare high alert on security. A circular has been issued by the Home Department of the Punjab Government to the I.G.; all RPOs and CPOs conveying that, according to confidential reports, the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan has tasked Abu Adil Mujahid, a terrorist to attack a few major targets in the country, and has appointed him the Commander. Foreigners and embassies may also be targets; the MQM leadership and their public meetings will be targeted by Abu Ahmad Mujahid, the Commander. The security alert has been raised to high in view of the situation.

Freedom of worship restricted

Rabwah; August 12, 2010: The daily Pakistan published the following story on August 12, 2010 (Translation):

Chenab Nagar: Jamaat Ahmadiyya decides to worship at home in the face of terrorism
Chenab Nagar (Staff reporter): Thousands of Ahmadis will undertake worship at home, rather than their places of worship at Isha time during Ramadan on account of the threat of terrorist attacks and non-availability of security by the state agencies. The senior leadership of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan has directed all its members in Rabwah to offer their night (Isha) prayers at home rather than nearby mosques. However, the community spokesman has not issued any press release or made a statement on this subject.

The above report is correct to the extent that Ahmadis are not offering their traditional Taraveeh prayers in congregation in their mosques in Rabwah for security concerns. This situation is the result of the unbridled hate campaign undertaken by the mulla and permitted by the authorities.

Denial of funeral rights

Bhimber (Azad Kashmir); August 11, 2010: Raja Farman Ali, an elderly Ahmadi died in Bhimber on August 11, 2010. He joined Ahmadiyyat in 1945.

Almost a decade ago, his two sons also became Ahmadis, but they could not cope with the opposition, so they recanted. However, their father remained steadfast in his faith.

At the time of Mr. Ali’s death, the Ahmadiyya community intended to give him an Ahmadi burial, however his sons refused the entitled burial to the deceased, and forbade Ahmadis from joining the funeral.

Mr. Ali, an Ahmadi, was buried by a few non-Ahmadis, and Ahmadis were made to stay away.

Rabwah suffers from poor sewage

The daily Lahore Post published a story on August 20, 2010 about the bad sewage system in Rabwah. Its translation is given below:

Bad system of sewage in Chenab Nagar; rain water
stagnates in lower parts of the city.
Four feet of water in Muhallah Bashirabad after spell of current rains
Chenab Nagar (Special correspondent): The rain water of the eastern part of the city accumulated in the lower areas of Bashirabad due to poor sewage system in the city. Four feet of water stagnates in approaches to Bashirabad. Vehicles and motorcycles are nearly submerged and stalled. There is no alternate route to Bashirabad. Children, elders and women face great hardship in moving about. The official insensitivity is glaring. The Chenab Nagar municipality is not serious about attending to the civic problems even after collecting millions in revenue. No arrangements were made to drain the sewage even after the complaints. Mr. Abdur Razzaq Bhatti, a well-known social worker of Muhallah Bashirabad, stated that the youth had been working on self-help basis, and tried to drain out the stagnant water. The municipality did not bring over a turbine to drain out the water, even after numerous reminders. He said that it is essential to take immediate notice of this and find lasting solutions to problems of residents.

Severe environmental damage to Rabwah suburbs

Rabwah: Rabwah and its neighboring city Chiniot are located on the right and left bank of the river Chenab respectively. Anyone who crosses the river by road or train during the day will not miss the great beauty and majesty of the natural spectacle of the river and the range of great hills that are eons old. These hills have been under persistent attack by a mafia which has dynamited this heritage into near oblivion, with the connivance and support of some officials.

There is now some faint light at the end of this long tunnel. The daily Dawn has published the following story on this topic, on August 5, 2010 referring to ‘Chiniot’ hills (no objection, so long as this heritage is saved):

Stone crushers eating up Chiniot hills
By Aurangzeb Malik
CHINIOT, Aug 4: The government needs to take action to stop stone crushing machines eating up the ancient mountains along the River Chenab in Chiniot.
The chain of mountains is going to be diminished as mountain stones have been consumed unchecked for commercial purposes for the last many decades.
In 2007, a blast in such a mountain resulted in the appearance of a cave from a mountain. The cave, local residents say, had ancient stone statues and other items. Before archaeologists could study them, a big stone rolled down and capped the cave entrance.
In 2007, the Punjab Information, Culture and Youth Affairs Department declared these hill historical sites under the Special Premises under Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance, 1985.
A landlord, Col Asim Ali Shah (retired), offered his adjacent land to establish a museum and Archeological Department offices. Mines Department contractors, however, continue to crush stones.
Seeing inaction of the Punjab government, some residents wrote to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani seeking his help to stop contractors from crushing the stones.
The Prime Minister’s Secretariat issued a directive on May 9, 2010, to the culture division secretary with subject ‘Chiniot rock art at the mercy of stone crushers’ directing him to take necessary action to safeguard the visual heritage of the country. No action, however, has been taken.
Recently, the Lahore High Court, on a writ petition, stayed the stone crushing ordering the administration to ensure halt of blasting and preserve the cultural heritage.
Ahmad Ali, a resident of the mountainous range, said he had seen some statues inside the cave.
DCO Dr Irshad Ahmad says he had asked the police and revenue authorities to stop this stone crushing work.

Ahmadis behind bars

Three Ahmadis; Mr. Basharat, Mr. Nasir Ahmad and Mr. Muhammad Idrees along with 7 others of Chak Sikandar were arrested in September 2003 on a false charge of murdering a cleric. The police, after due investigation found no evidence against the accused. Yet they faced a ‘complaint trial’ for a crime they did not commit. Based on the unreliable testimony of the two alleged ‘eye-witnesses’ (who were discredited in court), seven of the accused were acquitted, but on the same evidence these three innocent Ahmadis were sentenced to death. They are being held on death row at a prison in Jehlum, while their appeal lies with the Lahore High Court. They are now in the seventh year of their incarceration. Their appeal to the Lahore High Court is registered as Criminal Appeal No. 616/2005 dated 26 April 2005.

From the Press

Unknown persons shoot and kill Dr Najmul Hasan (Ahmadi) in Orangi Town (Karachi)
The daily Nawa-e-Waqt, Lahore; August 18, 2010
Target killing of Ahmadis continues. Pir Habib ur Rehman murdered in Sanghar (Sindh)
The daily Post, Lahore; August 18, 2010
Bomb recovered from Ahmadi’s house. Harrasment and fear spread out when unknown persons threw hand grenade in the house of Ahmadi state Nasimabad, near Kunri (in Sindh).
The Frontier Post, Lahore; August 18, 2010
Nankana: 10 Qadianis turn Muslim
The daily Rahe Talash, Lahore; August 24, 2010
Chenab Nagar: Man photographing sensitive locations set free without due inquiry
The suspect claimed to be from the Sindh Police; SHO Muhammad Afzal set him free
The daily Din; Lahore August 29, 2010
Government to review laws against minorities — Zardari
The daily Dawn, Lahore; August 11, 2010
Parliament doesn’t have unfettered powers: CJ
The daily Dawn, Lahore; August 17, 2010
Parties using religion face ban (in Bangladesh)
The Daily Star, Bangladesh; July 29, 2010
Washington: President Barack Obama on Friday forcefully endorsed allowing a mosque near the site of the destroyed World Trade Center, saying the country’s founding principles demanded no less.
The daily Dawn, Lahore; August 14, 2010
Qadianis dream of an Israel-type state in Pakistan — Mufti Zahid Mahmud (of MTKN)
The daily Pakistan, Lahore; August 7, 2010
3,433 killed in 215 suicide hits since Lal Masjid action
The daily News, Lahore; August 3, 2010
Ex MNA among 20 die in Wana suicide hit (outside a mosque)
The daily Nation, Lahore; August 24, 2010
Jamaat Islami is hypocrite both in dogma and actionJUI
The daily Dawn, Lahore; August 1, 2010
Intercity movement of 30 ulema banned
The daily Dawn, Lahore; August 9, 2010
PML-Q leader Sher Afgan Niazi said that those who got killed inside the Lal Masjid in Islamabad in 2007 were all terrorists and not innocent people. He said no one later claimed that their sons and daughters were missing.
Quoted in daily Islam through The Friday Times; August 6, 2010
JI flays Rehman over banned outfit
Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Syed Munawwar Hasan has condemned Interior Minister Rehman Maliks statement about not permitting the US-banned Islamic groups from carrying out flood relief operations.
The daily News, Lahore; August 21, 2010
Declare all the Hafiz Qur’an ‘pass’, otherwise face explosion: terrorists threaten the Lahore Board
In case any boy or girl fails the Hafiz Qur’an test in the Intermediate Exam, we shall undertake frightening explosions
The daily Ausaf; Lahore, August 22, 2010
Pakistan’s worst-ever disaster
The number of people affected by the flood (13.8 million) is more than the combined total of those hit by tsunami (2004) and quakes in Kashmir (in 2005) and Haiti (in 2010).
The daily Dawn, Lahore; August 10, 2010
Worst-ever floods rob millions of shelter
The daily Dawn, Lahore; August 22, 2010
(Pak) Official given £6000 from public funds to join golf club (in UK)
The daily Dawn, Lahore; August 1, 2010
Gujrat: Murderer of blasphemer wife set free. Iftikhar’s release materializes through intervention of mulla Pir Jawad and Bashir Butt.
The daily Ausaf, Lahore; August 1, 2010
Civil society campaigns Jinnah’s Pakistan in Lahore by secular, democratic forces
The daily Dawn, Lahore; August 12, 2010
Strike cripples Karachi
The daily News, Lahore; August 4, 2010
Constabulary loses chief in suicide attack
The daily Dawn, Lahore; August 5, 2010
People should rise in revolt and bring about change — Altaf Hussain (MQM)
The daily Jinnah, Lahore; August 29, 2010


Opiate of the masses
Pakistan should take a leaf out of its old wing, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), where its Supreme Court has struck down the bulk of the controversial 5th Amendment by reinstating a ban of Islamic political parties. Bangladesh’s original constitution was secular in nature but following a coup in 1975, the constitution was amended and given a religious tinge. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that she was “not in favour of banning any political party”. This may have more to do with the fact that the Jamaat-e-Islami is a large political party with some clout. Earlier, the Bangladesh High Court had outlawed punishments handed down in fatwas (religious edicts), after a series of cases of Muslim women being beaten and caned. Not only that, the Bangladesh government has also banned books by Maulana Maududi because they ‘encourage terrorism and militancy’. It is time that Pakistan follows in the footsteps of Bangladesh, also a Muslim country but which is paving a path towards the traditions laid down by its founding fathers.
John Locke introduced the idea of separating the church from the state back in the 17th century and since then many countries have adopted this secular, democratic model. In Pakistan, there is a misconception about secularism being ‘anti-religion’ when it is actually ‘religion-neutral’. If we are to make this country a progressive state, we must get rid of obscurantist and reactionary ideas so as to imbibe religious tolerance amongst our ranks and make Pakistan a state that can hold its head up high in today’s world.
(Editorial in the Daily Times, Lahore, August 2, 2010)
Pakistan’s human cockroaches
Truth is, there is only one way to get change, and it is not hanging the people who killed these boys (in Sialkot). It is raising your voice to contradict people who advocate death for others, no matter who they are speaking of. To internalize that murder of any kind, for anyone is wrong. Sounds easy? Well just try it.
Fasi Zaka in The Express Tribune; August 24, 2010
Quaid’s view of minorities
Quite a few groups and individuals wish to resurrect what they describe as Jinnah’s Pakistan. The argument in support of the effort is that decades of disregard for the Quaid-e-Azam’s vision of Pakistan has landed the country into one crisis after another and its future cannot be guaranteed without a return to its foundational premises.
I.A. Rehman in the Dawn of August 14, 2010
The meaning of August 11
Pakistan’s long list of mistakes carries one clear message: Jinnah had it right, to begin with. A stable and prosperous Pakistan can only be built through the development of a secular society and creation of a welfare state. Pakistan can become a great nation of the world as envisaged by Jinnah only by becoming Jinnah’s Pakistan.
Jamil Omar in The News of August 11, 2010
Afghan war
Here in Pakistan, those willing to countenance American failure should also pause and think about the potential consequences. In the 1990s there was no TTP, no insurgency inside Pakistan, no war being fought in the tribal areas. We need to recognize that a radical Islamist configuration in Afghanistan could pose an existential threat to this country.
Editorial in the Dawn; August 9, 2010
The people…
We have had horrible instances of relief being denied to Ahmadies in Punjab or Hindus being turned away from water coolers at relief camps in Sindh. Relief workers report instances where food has been doled out on the basis of clan, caste or political affiliation.
Kamila Hayat in the News of August 26, 2010
No ground for tolerance
In a landmark vote on August 3, 2010, New York City’s Landmark Preservation committee voted 9-0 to allow the building of a mosque just two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks. The mosque will be inaugurated next year on the 10th anniversary of the attacks as a symbol of religious tolerance.
Aiyon Bhutta in the News of August 22, 2010
I do not see an early end to this drive (of terrorism). The entire Urdu Bazaar (of Lahore) is stocked with books that promote violent mischief in the name of religion. Take a look at the book-shops of Urdu Bazaar and have a look at books that apparently deal with religion and preach Islam; in fact all these are dedicated to the task of mutilating the face of Islam. Not only that, listen occasionally to the eloquent speeches of Islamist clerics. If you are conversant with the real Islamic teachings, your blood will boil over the mischief mongering of these mullas – the authorities are well-aware of all this.
Ataul Haq Qasmi in the daily Jang of May 31, 2010


Indonesian Religion Minister Wants Ahmadiyah Sect Disbanded

VOA News
Indonesian Religion Minister Wants Ahmadiyah Sect Disbanded
Brian Padden | Jakarta31 August 2010
Members of Indonesian hard-line Islamic groups shout slogans during a rally in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, demanding the government disband Ahmadiyah, 5 Mar 2009 (file photo)Photo: AP
Members of Indonesian hard-line Islamic groups shout slogans during a rally in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, demanding the government disband Ahmadiyah, 5 Mar 2009 (file photo)

The Indonesian minister of Religious Affairs wants the Jamaah Ahmadiyah religious group to be disbanded in the country. Human rights groups and some religious organizations said such action would be a violation of both human rights and the constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion.

Suryadharma Ali, the Religious Affairs minister, has said that the Jamaah Ahmadiyah sect should to be broken up because its followers violated regulations and are not Muslim.

The Ahmadiyah sect, which has 200,000 followers across the country, breaks with mainstream Islam because its followers do not believe the Prophet Muhammad was the final prophet. In 2008, the Indonesian government banned the group from propagating the faith. The Religious Affairs minister says Ahmadiyah has defied this restriction and should now be banned.

Syafi’i Anwar with the International Center for Islam and Pluralism said the minister’s call to restrict the religion contradicts the values and laws he should be upholding. “This is definitely against human rights, against religious freedom, against our constitution and against our Islamic principles.”

He said Ahmadiyah has been a sanctioned religion by the government since 1954 and its members should enjoy the same protection under the law as other religions.

Some Muslims, however, contend Ahmadiyah is not a separate religion, but a deviate sect of Islam, and therefore does not enjoy the same constitutional protection.

In the past few months there have been attacks on Ahmadiyah mosques by fundamentalist Islamic groups. At a hearing in the House of Representatives on Monday, the Religious Affairs minister said Ahmadiyah should be disbanded to prevent further problems.

Anwar said the attacks happened because the government, particularly President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, refuses to speak out against the violence and for religious freedom.

“President SBY makes a serious mistake,” said Anwar. “Why? Because he doesn’t take any firm position. If he just say that, you know, order the police (to arrest) those who attack Ahmadiyah or any other non-Muslim groups, I think the police will follow.”

The president thus far has refused to comment, so the minister of Religious Affairs’ statement is the clearest indication of where the government stands on this issue.

While Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, the government is secular and the constitution guarantees freedom of religion. The country has seen sporadic violence, though, between different religious groups over the past decade.

Ahmadiyah to pray, stay calm over banning issue

Tue, 08/31/2010
2:30 PM

Ahmadiyah to pray, stay calm over banning issue
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesian followers of the Jemaah Ahmadiyah faith will pray and be patient in response to their possible disbanding by the government, discussions on which will be conducted after the Idul Fitri celebrations.

“We are a legal institution. Therefore, there are rules to dissolving our institution. If the government is committed to banning [Ahmadiyah], we hope it will be done by legal means,” Ahmadiyah spokesman Zafrullah Ahmad told kompas.com Tuesday.

He said the Ahmadis have always forborne any violence against their group, which has existed in Indonesia since 1925.

“Our imam [leader] tells us to stay calm and pray when we are attacked. However, we are concerned about those who intend to harm us. The government must do something to protect its people, because the nation will carry the burden [if it allows such violence against minority groups],” he added.

On Monday evening, the Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali called for the banning of the Jamaah Ahmadiyah faith – who claims to be Muslim – as followers violated regulations and were not Muslim.

The group has about 200,000 followers across the country.

Religious Affairs Minister’s remarks on Ahmadiyah deplored

Tue, 08/31/2010
12:51 PM

Religious Affairs Minister’s remarks on Ahmadiyah deplored
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Activist of the National Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Usman Hamid deplored on Tuesday a statement by Minister of Religious Affair Suryadharma Ali that the Jamaah Ahmadiyah faith – who claim to be Muslim – had to be broken up as followers violated regulations and were not Muslims.

Suryadharma was criticized for not being able to show his good statesmanship.

“He thought as if it were a simple problem,” Usman said in Jakarta as quoted by kompas.com. He expressed fear that the minister’s improper statement would spark fresh attacks against Ahmadiyah followers by certain irresponsible groups.

According to Usman, Suryadharma should have emulated late president Soekarno in connection with the existence of Ahmadiyah.

Soekarno did not agree with the Ahmadiyah group, but he still admitted it as one of the nation’s children, Usman said.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ahmadiyah must be disbanded: Minister

Mon, 08/30/2010
9:57 PM

Ahmadiyah must be disbanded: Minister
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government must dissolve Ahmadiyah because its teachings are against a joint ministerial decree, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali said.

“Ahmadiyah must be dispersed because its existence may grow more troublesome,” Suryadharma said Tuesday after attending a meeting at the House of Representatives, as quoted by tempointeraktif.com.

The decree clearly states that Ahmadiyah must not be widely spread because it deviates from Islamic teaching — it does not even believe the Koran is the last Holy Book, among other things, he said.

“The sect does not believe that Muhammad SAW was the last Prophet, which is against Islam.

If such understanding is considered religious freedom, then I call it excessive freedom,” Suryadharma said.

The government will make preparations to disband Ahmadiyah after Idul Fitri, he said.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The secular ideal

Daily Dawn, Pakistan
The secular ideal
By Irfan Husain
Saturday, 28 Aug, 2010
As we have seen over the last 63 years since the inception of the state, religion has been used to divide and alienate one section of society from another. So whatever the chief justice might feel, a genuine debate on secularism is long overdue. - File Photo.
As we have seen over the last 63 years since the inception of the state, religion has been used to divide and alienate one section of society from another. So whatever the chief justice might feel, a genuine debate on secularism is long overdue. — File Photo.

Recently, a reader — clearly more concerned with Pakistan’s welfare than mine — suggested that I set up a political party with the avowed goal of establishing a secular dispensation in the country.

I explained to him why this idea was quite unworkable: apart from my lack of political qualifications or ambitions, secularism is anathema to large numbers of Pakistanis who simply do not understand the concept. When this correspondence took place recently, I did not have the benefit of the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s wisdom on the matter. He was quoted recently as implying that if the National Assembly decided to declare secularism as Pakistan’s polity instead of Islam, this would be unacceptable. While this was a personal view expressed during a hearing on the 18th Amendment to the constitution, it does cast a bleak light on the larger question of the role of the Supreme Court, as well as its position vis-à-vis parliament.

As a forthright editorial in this newspaper asked: “The question is really, should the Supreme Court appropriate for itself the responsibility of determining under what system the Pakistani people want to live, as expressed by their elected representatives? Is the SC a guardian of the document, the constitution, which enshrines how Pakistanis want to organise their state … or is it an institution which determines how the state should be organised? The two are very different matters: the first places the SC as a referee, the second as a determinant of the structural design of the Pakistani state.”

This divergence of views is yet another example of the confusion that has continued to exist over the meaning of the secularist ideal. For decades now, most Pakistanis have laboured under the misconception that the term means ladeeniat, or irreligiosity. This is close enough to atheism to make politicians run for cover if the term is applied to them. The reality, of course, is very different.

After centuries of bloody warfare among various sects of Christianity in Europe, the idea of separating the church from the state came to be accepted, and was enshrined in most constitutions in the West. This did not mean that people stopped going to pray or lost their faith in God. What it did mean was that the law was no longer based on the tenets of Christianity, but reflected a manmade code of conduct.

Has this sea change made the people living under a secular dispensation more lawless? Not according to numerous surveys that measure law and order and the quality of life : countries like Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, and other western societies fare far better than nations who base their laws on religious or ideological dogma. The difficulty in implementing a faith-based code lies in its rigidity. Thus, for communists, Marx’s edicts, pronounced in the middle of the 19th century, had the force of timeless, unchanging law. This is equally true for those who seek to enforce a code that held sway centuries ago in today’s completely transformed world.

Another problem is that under religious law, minorities inevitably get short shrift. Despite the rhetoric about them being treated as equal citizens, the reality is very different. Consider the newspaper reports about a group of Ahmadis trapped in the floods in Punjab being denied relief goods by the administration, as well as by the local maulvi, as an example of the actual position minorities have been relegated to.

Turkey is a good example of a secular state where a mildly Islamic government has been elected repeatedly. There is no contradiction between the religious beliefs of the members of the ruling AK Party and the secular foundations of the Turkish state. While there has been some friction with the generals of the powerful military, the country has made great progress over the last decade. Millions of Turks observe the tenets of Islam without feeling they would enjoy more freedom of belief in a theocracy.

Somehow, many Pakistanis have come to believe that they are better Muslims than those living elsewhere. This arrogant attitude belies a deep insecurity that is the hallmark of recent converts. They forget that ultimately, it is for the Maker to decide who is a good Muslim and who is not. Indeed, we have allowed clerics to hijack a religion in which there are supposed to be no mediators between the believer and his God. This group of professional ulema has branded secularism as heresy in a bid to retain its lock on all matters relating to the faith. They have also used their monopoly on Islam to grab political power; indeed, this is their true goal.

Whatever they might say, I have many friends, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, who are firm believers in the teachings of the religions they were born in, and yet adhere closely to the principles of secularism. The truth is that while Europe has been largely cleansed of the terrible cancer of sectarian wars, many Muslim countries remain locked in conflict.

Unfortunately for Pakistan, Jinnah died before he could mould the new state in his secular vision. His successors were too weak and too willing to compromise with the religious right to assert the principles of Pakistan’s founding father. An increasingly assertive Jamaat-i-Islami spearheaded the drive to Islamise the country, and apart from the periods under Ayub Khan and Bhutto, there has been a steady shift towards fundamentalism. And even these two were not above using Islam when it suited them. Things have got so bad that secularism is now considered a term of abuse.

Currently, there is no debate on the direction the country should take. Almost by default, large numbers of Pakistanis assume that because the Indian subcontinent was partitioned to make a homeland for Muslims, we should automatically become a theocracy. Nothing could be further from the goal of the creators of Pakistan.

As we have seen over the last 63 years since the inception of the state, religion has been used to divide and alienate one section of society from another. So whatever the chief justice might feel, a genuine debate on secularism is long overdue.

©2010 DAWN Media Group. All rights reserved

The other Pakistani crisis

Posted on Thu, Aug. 26, 2010Philadelphia Inquirer, USA
Worldview: The other Pakistani crisis
Intolerance and violence threaten to tear the country to pieces.
Trudy Rubin
By Trudy Rubin
Inquirer Opinion Columnist
A shocking e-mail on Monday informed me of a Philadelphian murdered in Pakistan.

Habib Peer, 60, was a hardworking Pakistani American who had raised three children and run two businesses in the city. He considered himself a devout Muslim and was a leader in his Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Last week, he was shot dead by masked men in the southern Pakistani city of Sanghar, where he was helping the family of his brother - who had been murdered four years before.

Both brothers were killed by militants who believe the Ahmadis are apostates. Since 1974, Pakistan’s constitution has labeled its two to four million Ahmadis “non-Muslim” because their beliefs contradict traditional Islam. (They follow a 19th-century mystic they believe was the messiah predicted by the prophet Muhammad.) In no Muslim country is the repression of Ahmadis so severe or so officially sanctioned as in Pakistan.

Peer’s death, however, exposes a crisis affecting all Pakistanis. It reflects a struggle for the soul of the country as daunting as the physical struggle to survive this month’s devastating floods.

Pakistan faces a Herculean challenge in coping with flood damage, and Muslim militants are eager to take advantage. As Pakistan’s leaders now recognize, these militants present a huge threat to their (nuclear-armed) state.

A recent security assessment by Pakistan’s military spy agency concluded, for the first time, that the biggest threat to national security comes from Islamic militants, not India. Some of these militants are probably providing shelter for al-Qaeda’s leadership, including Osama bin Laden, and the Pakistani army is targeting some groups.

Yet there are other jihadis dedicated to sectarian murder that are not on the military’s hit list. Some of these militants were originally trained by Pakistani security services to fight against India in the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Sipah-e-Sahaba, for example, openly calls for the slaying of Shiite Muslims, who make up about 10 to 15 percent of the population; it continues to operate freely. The Pakistani elite largely stays silent, and sectarian violence grows.

In April, I visited a Shiite friend in Karachi who was nearly killed in December, when a suicide bomber blew up 43 people during the Shiite religious celebration of Ashura. Her back and thighs were penetrated by large shards of metal from the bomb, which went off five feet from her; her brother and sister-in-law were killed.

Militants have also been attacking Sufi shrines, which they consider irreligious, although Sufi saints and shrines are highly regarded in South Asia. Pakistani Christians are attacked, too. Fueled by young graduates of radical religious schools, sectarian and ethnic violence is tearing at the social fabric of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city.

Yet Pakistan’s leaders rarely stand up to religious fanatics who target fellow Pakistanis. When it comes to Ahmadis, the state practically cheers the violence on.

On May 28, gunmen struck at two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, killing 93 people. After this outrage, the powerful Pakistani politician Nawaz Sharif (whose party has shown sympathy for militants) had the decency to insist that his Ahmadi “brothers and sisters” are an “asset to the country.” He was denounced by religious parties and clerics around the country.

Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who envisioned an inclusive and tolerant state, must be turning in his grave.

As Pakistanis begin to recover from the floods, they must decide what kind of country they want to live in. Their only Nobel Prize winner, physicist Abdus Salam, was an Ahmadi; when the physics faculty at Quaid-i-Azam University invited him to lecture in 1979, it was thwarted by a religious student group that threatened violence. Is this the country Pakistanis want?

The endless sectarian killings show - contrary to legions of Pakistani conspiracy theorists - that the country is besieged not by the West, but by Muslim militants who use violence.

In the Peer case, militants killed members of a community that opposes religious wars and bloodshed. Will Pakistan’s leaders have the courage to denounce these and other sectarian murders? Will they change the laws that expose Ahmadis to blasphemy charges and death?

To recover from the physical challenge of the flood, Pakistanis will have to pull together in spirit, not pit different communities against one another. The rest of the world can help Pakistan with rebuilding, but only Pakistanis can make their country whole.

Should The Mayawati Government Remove Ahamadiyya Sect From Syllabus

NewsBlaze, USA
Published: August 28, 2010
Op-Ed Contributor
Should The Mayawati Government Remove Ahamadiyya Sect From Syllabus

By Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
Muslim Juhala Threatens Mayawati Government Over Ahmadiya Issue

The mullahs and maulvis in Uttar Pradesh and some other self-styled Muslim leaders have threatened the Uttar Pradesh Mayawati government of dire consequences unless a chapter on the Ahmadiya Islamic sect is removed from the Social Study book of standard Xth.

These maulanas, reverentially called ulama (scholars), although most of them are completely ignorant of the world around them, should rather be called Juhala (ignoramuses). They have warned Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati of country-wide protests, if this section of the book is not immediately removed.

The maulanas may have actually struck gold in the form of this mention of Ahmadiyas as an Islamic sect in the Uttar Pradesh social science book. They have long been on the lookout for an emotional issue on which to create more disturbances in the country and mint money. The Babri demolition not only robbed the Sangh Pariwar of an issue to befool Hindus with; it also made the maulanas jobless.

Kafirs, Murtids galore, deserve their throats being slit

A few questions these Juhala should be asked. How is it that you all get so excited, if even a nincompoop like Chander Mohan claims to have embraced Islam, even if it is clear, right from the beginning that he is merely out to cheat his wife as well as his mistress? A wave of jubilation runs through the community almost world-wide even if one silly conversion takes place, even if it is done under compulsion which is totally opposed to Islamic teachings.

On the other hand, practically every Muslim “scholar” is eager to denounce virtually every Muslim sect other than his own as Kafir or murtid and out of Islam.

Now I ask why should the Mayawati government merely exclude Ahmadiyas from the text books? Why not Shias? Why not Wahhabis? Why not Sunnis? Why not Bareilwis? Why not Deobandis? Why not Sufis? And so on. They are all kafirs in the eyes of one or the other sect.

If no one knows what Islam is all about, why teach Islam at all?

Ask all these Juhala, mentioned in our report, who are asking for Ahmadiyas to be excluded from the text books, ask them the question posed by the former chief justice of Pakistan Supreme Court Justice Munir. Chief Justice Munir was investigating the widespread riots against the Ahmadiyas in 1953, and asked the Juhala of every sect in his country: Who is a Muslim? How would you define Islam? No two Juhala, he reported, in his report [available on this site in full], even from the same sect agreed on any definition of a Muslim.

So the real question before the Mayawati government would be: If no one knows what Islam is all about, why teach Islam at all? Excluding Islam itself from the text books should be the safest option.

Sultan Shahin
Sultan Shahin is the Editor at NewAgeIslam.Com

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

U.S. citizen slain over his religion in his native Pakistan

Philadelphia Inquirer, USA
Posted on Wed, Aug. 25, 2010
U.S. citizen slain over his religion in his native Pakistan

By David O’Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer
Pir Habibur Rehman

When Habib Peer closed his Germantown newsstand last year and moved back to Pakistan, his passport made no note of his religion.

Since 1990 he had been a resident and citizen of the United States, where being an Ahmadiyya Muslim is no offense. But in his homeland, Peer’s faith made him a target, his family said.

On Thursday, as he drove with a young nephew through the southern city of Sanghar, two motorbikes approached his car. One of the masked drivers fired a handgun twice through the open window, instantly killing the 60-year-old Peer.

His nephew, 13, survived to describe the assassination. “That’s just how [the boy’s] father died,” recalled Mujeeb Chaudhary, Peer’s brother-in-law and a Philadelphia pharmacist.

“It was a targeted killing, only because of his religion.”

Four years earlier, Peer’s brother, Pasha, a physician who cared for the poor of Sanghar, was shot twice in the head as he left his clinic one evening. His killer ran off and was never found.

Widowed the year his brother died, Peer had moved back to Pakistan to care for Pasha’s widow, whom he married, and to help raise his brother’s children.

Ahmadis follow the Indian mystic Mirza Gulam Ahmad, who in 1887 announced that he was the messiah, or Mahdi, predicted in early Islamic writings as one who would purify Islam near the end of time.

Nearly all Muslims view Ahmad as a heretic, and his followers as inauthentic Muslims. Although tolerated in some Muslim nations, they are especially disdained in Pakistan, whose constitution and passports identify Ahmadis as non-Muslim.

That nation’s four million Ahmadis are forbidden by law to publicly practice their religion, and they can be jailed for blasphemy if they greet Sunni or Shiite Muslims with the traditional “salaam alaykum” or wear Muslim garb.

Mainstream mullahs and imams denounce Ahmadis, with some blaming their presence for the floods ravaging Pakistan. “Some [leaders] even tell their people it is their duty to kill us,” said Chaudhary, who came to the United States in 1972 and is president of the 450-member Philadelphia-area Ahmadiyya community.

The failure of the Pakistani government to suppress such virulent talk, he said, is tantamount to “state-sponsored terrorism.”

Chaudhary added, “The authorities made very little effort for Pasha, and they will do the same for Habib.”

Nadeem Kiani, press attache at the Pakistani embassy in Washington, denied on Tuesday that his government fosters a climate of hostility toward religious minorities, including Ahmadis.

Pir Habibur Rehman“Yes, they are considered a religious minority,” he said, “but they have complete protection and all the constitutional rights.”

Kiani said he was not familiar with Peer’s murder, but said “if any person is murdered, there are legal ways for the family to prosecute the person accused,” although “these can take time.”

Nicole Thompson, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said Tuesday that the Obama administration was “in constant engagement with the government of Pakistan on issues of religious freedom.”

Teresita Schaffer, former U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, said Tuesday that the Ahmadiyya community’s cause “is far down on [the State Department’s] list,” though recent violence against Ahmadis is among the worst that nation has seen since its founding in the 1940s.

Schaffer cited the May grenade and assault-weapon attacks by the Pakistani Taliban on two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore that left 78 worshippers dead and dozens severely wounded.

Ahmadis, she said, “are a very controversial part of the community… . The people willing to raise their voices in their defense are few.”

In 2002, the House of Representatives issued a bipartisan resolution calling on Pakistan to repeal the second amendment of its constitution, declaring Ahmadis non-Muslim, and its blasphemy laws.

Since then, the Pakistani government has only toughened its blasphemy laws, Chaudhary said.

On Friday, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan released a statement expressing dismay over Peer’s murder and that of another Ahmadi in Karachi earlier in the week.

The commission wrote that it also was concerned by reports of denial of shelter to Ahmadis displaced by massive floods in south Punjab.

Although some Muslims are upset by the resistance to a proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, Chaudhary said he welcomed such debate as “proof of America’s freedom of speech and freedom to practice religion.”

In March, he said, the Philadelphia-area Ahmadi community plans to break ground for a new mosque, with dome and minaret, on West Glenwood Avenue near Temple University. The plan, he said, has encountered no hostility from the neighborhood.

Chaudhary said he was delighted when an employee in the city zoning office asked him, “When will you have your jumma prayers?“ - Friday services.

“Here it is easy to take for granted,” he said, “but this is the greatness of America.”

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