On June 16th 2010, Ulema of different religious parties appeared on the popular show Point Blank hosted by Mubashir Lucman of Express News for a discussion on the case of Ahmadis. The ‘scholarly’ panel launched unwarranted and slanderous attacks on the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian and his followers. Compromising all journalistic ethos, no hearing was given by Mr. Lucman to those being denounced as the infidels. Image the reaction if Sunni beliefs were analyzed by Shia Ayatollahs on Point Blank instead.
This was not a discussion between two points of view since no Ahmadi scholar was invited to rebut or reply to the pronouncements of the Ulema. Rather it was only an affirmation of the alleged heresy of Ahmadis. Contrast this with when the Ahmadiyya Jamaat’s spokesperson was brought on the same show only days earlier for expressing his community’s reaction to May 28th atrocity. The spokesman’s limited airtime was generously gifted by Mr. Lucman to the ideological opponents of the movement. So much for the notion of fair and balanced discussion.
Given a free run by their host, the panelists competed for uttering the uglier and professing the more profane. Telling half-truths and full lies, they distorted facts and abused history in a way only Mullahs know best. Given their background, they did not fail in portraying a false and misleading picture of the claims of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The only disappointment was the unbecoming conduct of Mubashir Lucman who joined in the chorus with vulgar laughs, cheap appeasement and suggestion of the divine punishment awaiting Ahmadis. It was troubling to see the depth to which Mr. Lucman has fallen.
As for the slander, some very serious and utterly false allegations were made. Among many things, the oft repeated charge that Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian was a British agent whose sole intent was sowing the seeds of dissension in Muslims through his false claims to prophethood and to strengthening the British imperial designs were made by the Mullahs. Those who know history would recall that a massive Christian missionary effort was launched in India through the blessings of the British Raj during the nineteenth century. Conversion of Muslims to Christianity en masse would have bolstered the Anglican Church and strengthened the colonial Raj.
Whether someone agrees or disagrees with the other claims of Ghulam Ahmad – of being the Messiah and Mahdi – is an altogether different issue. As amply borne out by his writings, it is absolutely undeniable that Ghulam Ahmad professed his position in relation to Prophet Muhammad (sw) only as that of a humble and lowly servant. Surely, an Ahmadi representative could have elaborated this had Mr. Lucman been kind enough.
Another glaring omission of Mr. Lucman’s guests was the fact that Ghulam Ahmad’s assertion that Jesus died a natural death was a direct hit on the core convictions of Church-going Victorian Englishmen. While these panelists quoted Ghulam Ahmad out of context to show his disrespect of the Prophets, they failed to mention that the quotations were in response to the character assassination of Prophet Muhammad (sw) by some outspoken Evangelists. They hid the fact that Ghulam Ahmad would try to demonstrate the weakness of such vicious slander by using Biblical references – not his own views – for the purpose of rebuttal.
All of this begets the question as to why would the overlords of the British empire be so stupid as to prop up this ‘imposter’ who challenges their very beliefs and thus compromises the Anglican Church’s ostensible effort in bolstering the colonial Raj? Clearly, if Mr. Lucman had been courageous enough to spare Ahmadis a few minutes of airtime, these ridiculous accusations against Mirza Ghulam Ahmad could have been dispelled.
From what anyone can gather from this particular show is that we don’t need to look afar for why sectarian tension and terrorism is engulfing our country. Those who use false religious frenzy and emotional propaganda to arouse violent passions in the public exist right here in our midst in front of our screens through the blessings of such anchors.
With laws of the land and such ‘flag bearers’ of free and independent media stacked against them, the Ahmadis can only beseech God for Divine Intervention. As for the allegations by these bigots and the deplorable submissiveness of the show’s sponsor, a Persian couplet of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad would suffice. It translates as:
If this makes me an infidel, then I am, by God, the staunchest of infidels.