Pak radical mullahs using blasphemy to persecute Ahmadis’

December 26th, 2007 - 3:38 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Dec 26 (ANI): Pakistans radical mullahs are using the country’s blasphemy laws to persecute members of a small Islamic splinter group on charges that they are not proper Muslims.
The two million-strong Ahmadiyya community, based in Rabwah in Punjab province, are always being charged for “impersonating Muslims”.
“We have people serving long jail sentences for blasphemy or for ‘posing as Muslims’,” said Shameen Ahmad Khalid, a leader of the community.
The laws mandate three years’ imprisonment for Ahmadis who dare to call themselves Muslims, call their places of worship mosques, recite the Koran or announce the azan, the call to prayer.
Twenty years ago, Rabwah residents were charged with impersonating Muslims.
Rabwahs 50,000 inhabitants have to hide their Islamic habits, keep their beards trimmed and avoid using Muslim invocations because some of these charges are still pending against them.
The word “Muslim” has been erased, on the orders of a magistrate, from an epitaph engraved on the tomb of Pakistan’s most distinguished scientist, Dr Abdus Salam.
It used to read “the First Muslim Nobel Laureate”.
Despite recent improvements in voting rights for Christians and Hindus, the Ahmadis are still disenfranchised as they are permitted to vote only as “non-Muslims”.
Pakistani popular rhymes defame Ahmadis in lurid terms and militants have stamped thousands of rupee notes imploring believers to “put them to death”.
Rabwah is surrounded by mosques whose clerics host prominent annual anti-Ahmadi rallies and bellow hateful slogans from their minarets’ loudspeakers.
In 2005, gunmen burst into an Ahmadi village mosque at prayer time and killed eight people and wounded most of the 30-strong congregation.
Several months ago, a police officer killed Mohammed Ashraf, an Ahmadi, as he ate his breakfast in a hotel. As he opened fire the officer shouted: “You are an infidel and preaching the infidel creed.”
The Ahmadis’ reverence for a prophet who lived in the 19th century offends the principle orthodox Muslim tenet that the Prophet Mohammed was the final prophet, The Telegraph reported.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (d. 1908) from Qadian formed the sect. He was a person who claimed to have fulfilled Christian and Islamic prophecies of being the Second Advent of Christ as well as the Imam Mahdi and Mujaddid of the 14th Islamic century.
Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims and claim to practice the Islam that was taught and practiced by Muhammad and his companions. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad termed his movement the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat (community) envisioning it to be a revitalisation of Islam. However, Ahmadis are not considered to be Muslims by Sunnis and Shias.
Many Ahmadis crossed into Pakistan during the Partition of India in 1947. But the Sunni mullahs turned against them and anti-Ahmadi riots broke out in 1953.
An amendment to Pakistan’s Constitution in 1974 declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims.
Late dictator Gen Zia ul-Haq promulgated anti-Ahmadi laws, which allow Ahmadis to be charged with impersonating Muslims, in the 1980s. (ANI)

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