What Else Is Persecution?

COMMENT: What else is persecution? —Salma B Ahmad  Courtesy Daily Times

Ahmedis have always been a soft target for persecution. Time and again they have been arrested for greeting someone with an Assalam-o-Alaikum, reciting the kalima or reading the Holy Quran

I took my first breath as an infant in a country whose government and people had already declared me and my community to be heretics. As a child, I did not realise the implications of the draconian laws of 1974 and 1984 that Pakistan, my country, had imposed on us. The state had forbidden us to even profess and defend our beliefs without any reason.

With age as I learned more about our society, I started to observe the injustice done to Ahmedis. I still remember that the subject of Pakistan Studies was a constant obstacle in our path to learn about true history. It was frustrating to read about the efforts of Sir Syed, Allama Iqbal, Liaqat Ali Khan, with no mention of the Ahmediyya Jamaat’s contributions to Pakistan.

The textbooks did not elaborate that it was Mir Dard — an Ahmedi missionary in London — who convinced Jinnah to return to India to restart his campaign for the rights of Muslims back in the 1930s. They did not mention Sir Zafarullah Khan who authored the Lahore resolution, became our country’s foreign minister and got the Kashmir resolution passed at the UN. They did not mention Dr Abdus Salam — a Pakistani scientist — who was our country’s first Nobel Prize winner and a leading physicist of the 20th century. They did not name a host of Ahmedi generals and soldiers who fought gallantly in the army in the 1965 and 1971 wars. Moreover, our Pakistan Studies books had no reference to the anti-Ahmedi laws that were ordained in 1974 and 1984.

As a student, I knew about these injustices because I grew up in an Ahmedi household. Sadly, while my friends knew that I was an Ahmedi, they did not know our role in the establishment and prosperity of Pakistan. They were even oblivious of the anti-Ahmedi laws.

Ahmedis have always been a soft target for persecution. Time and again they have been arrested for greeting someone with an Assalam-o-Alaikum, reciting the kalima or reading the Holy Quran. Their properties and ‘mosques’ have been confiscated and they have been denied high ranks in services. Several Ahmedis from different walks of life have also been murdered brutally as a result of fatwas given by the mullahs and some media persons. The list of persecution goes on.

May 28 was a culmination of the hatred and intolerance that was and is still being fostered by the so-called ulema. These ulema continue to preach hate in their madrassas, even after the Ahmedi massacre, and readily distribute hate literature.

When Nawaz Sharif dared to profess solidarity with the Ahmedis recently, the sentiments of these very ulema got hurt. But then it is not unusual for them to get hurt easily. After all, they are just too sensitive.

As BBC Urdu reported, leaders of 13 religious parties got together to condemn Nawaz Sharif’s statement and demanded from him to clarify his status regarding Ahmedis (message intended: denounce them or face our wrath). People may not know this, but some ulema have asked Muslims to renew their nikah and declare themselves Muslim again by reciting the kalima if they had attended the funerals of the Ahmedis.

Such is the mindset of the ulema who declare themselves to be true Muslims! Yet, these true Muslims violate the Quranic injunction: “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256), which clearly allows all of us to practise our respective faiths in peace.

There is ample evidence of the illogical and child-like tantrums of these mullahs to incite hate against Ahmedis. These bigots do not refrain from their fiery rhetoric and wajib-ul-qatal fatwas at every opportunity to promote their vested interests at the expense of Pakistan and Islam.

Our country is facing a critical situation. I hope that unlike 1974 and 1984, this time the government would refrain from appeasing the mullahs and courageously fight the war against hate and intolerance.

The writer is a freelance columnist based in Blacksburg, Virginia

17 Comments

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17 responses to “What Else Is Persecution?

  1. Nusrat Pasha

    Salma B. Ahmad:

    “…….The textbooks did not elaborate that…….”

    Thank you. A brilliant article indeed. The bias and bigotry is at many levels – school textbooks, curriculum, the media and minds. There are many inconvenient details that textbooks and media have deliberately chosen not to elaborate.

    Many Pakistani Ahmadis, remain unsung heroes solely because of their commitment to their religious beliefs. It may be useful to present some of the names of Pakistani Ahmadis, whose meritorious services to Pakistan have most conveniently been forgotten:

    1. Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan: Pakistani Ahmadi – Quaid-e Azam’s most trusted lieutenant and 1st Foreign Minister of Pakistan. Subsequently, became President of UN General Assembly and President International Court of Justice.

    2. Prof. Dr. Abdus Salam: Pakistani Ahmadi – Nobel Laureate in Physics

    3. Lt Gen Akhtar Hussain Malik: Pakistani Ahmadi – Successfully led the Pakistan Army on the Kashmir front during the ‘65 war.

    4. Lt Gen Abdul Ali: Pakistani Ahmadi – Successfully defended Pakistan during the ‘65 war on the Sialkot sector.

    5. Maj Gen Iftikhar Janjua: Pakistani Ahmadi – Led the Pakistan Army on the Kashmir front in ‘71 war and was killed in action. The “only” general of the Pakistan Army, to die “in combat”.

    6. Qazi Muhammad Aslam: Pakistani Ahmadi – Educationist of emminence and known for his profound commitment to education.

    7. M M Ahmad: Pakistani Ahmadi – Financial expert of international fame. Served his country in several capacities. Also served as a Director of the World Bank.

    Which textbook, which author, which channel or which anchor could muster enough moral courage, needed to bring these facts to light?

  2. Raza

    I completely agree with the author

  3. navanavonmilita

    Pardon my French

    If the truth be told, as my good sister, Salma, has done, very simply and elegantly in her anguished tone, mountains of hatred and discrination in nations so divided, disrupted and demonised by the world as Pakistan, can survive the tough competition in the real world where competition is a new mantra. Brotherhood, cooperation, coexistence and comaradery are the keywords to success.

    Inshallah!

    http://navanavonmilita.wordpress.com/

    …and I am Sid Harth

  4. swapnavasavdutta

    I think people who are pleading on behalf of ahmadis are missing the point.
    Pakistani awam has made up their mind, Ahmadias are not muslims, just like they had made
    up their mind, they do not want to live with Hindus unless and until they have their safeguards.
    No amount of proof and argument will help.
    IMHO.

  5. Correction. It is not “Mir” Dard, but Imam AR Dard who had numerous meetings in London with Jinnah to persuade him to go back to India.

    Mir Dard was a famous Urdu Sufi poet and a pioneer of Urdu Language in 17th Century India.

  6. Israr

    @Nusrat Pasha,

    I would have appreciated more if you could added ‘Pakistani Ahmadi Musim’ following their names. Why you start to alienate yourself.

  7. Israr

    *correction: Mulsim

  8. Salma B Ahmad

    @Lutf: I agree. Thank you for making the correction. It was Imam Abdur Rahim Dard the Ahmedi missionary in London who on the instruction of Hazrat Mirza Mahmood Ahmad, the Second Kalifa of Jamaat Ahmadiyya met Jinnah and convinced him to return. Jinnah’s words after the meeting were ‘the eloquent persuasion of Imam left me no escape’.

  9. Straight Shooter

    Dear Ms. Salma Ahmad:

    Let me be very blunt and let me shoot straight.

    1) I’m ashamed of being born in a country, which is always in the news for last few years, and its name is Pakistan. I think its name should be “Qatilistan”.

    2) Daily life of Ahmadis, both Qadiani-Ahmadis and Lahori-Ahmadis, in Pakistan has become a CRIME. Performance of their daily obligatory religious duties is a crime in Pakistan. Their social interaction is a crime in Pakistan.

    3) Regarding Mr. Abdul Rahim Dard, I DISAGREE WITH YOU. Because when we see little deep into the matter we see that Qadiani Missionary Abdul Rahim Dard did NOT consider non-Qadiani Muslims in India as Muslims. (Reference: Lord Headley while answering a set of questions posed to him, wrote in “Islam, The Guide to Modern Religious Thought” – Islamic Review, June 1929, pg 201-204, Vol XVII, No. 6, pub. The Mosque, Woking, England.). So there was no point in doing efforts for Muslims.

  10. yasserlatifhamdani

    Straight shooter please leave this website. We don’t want your type here. Go join kashifiat.wordpress.com. Maybe he’ll help you get Lahori Jamaat back into the fold of Islam.

  11. Syed

    @Straight Shooter
    Before you accept Yasir’ advice, I can’t believe that
    we have hammered this one fact a hundred times over yet this straight fact cant shoot through you:
    We ‘Qadiyani’ Ahmadis do consider ALL non-Ahmadi Muslims to be Muslims.

  12. Bin Ismail

    @Straight Shooter (June 26, 2010 at 8:05 am)

    “…..Regarding Mr. Abdul Rahim Dard, I DISAGREE WITH YOU…..”

    You disagree with the Ahmadis on many scores. A.R. Dard would hardly contribute to the quantum of your disagreement.

    While you disagree with the worthy author, with reference to A.R.Dard, it seems that Jinnah is agreement with her. Jinnah had virtually given up on politics in India. A.R.Dard convinced him to go back. Before departing from Britain for India, Jinnah admitted before a gathering of well-wishers, “the eloquent persuasion of the Imam left me no escape”.

  13. Bin Ismail

    Erratum: “…Jinnah is [in] agreement with her…”. Sorry for the typo errors.

  14. OMLK

    Niether straight shooter nor Kashifiat can help anyone (let alone Lahori Ahamdis) get into or out of the fold of Islam. This prerogative lies with Allah, and it is with Allah that Lahori Ahamdis have made their peace. The religio-political pygmies are irrelevent.

  15. ishfaq

    Click on the link below to see an article of mine “Lets not create Frankensteins” on the anti-ahmediya campaign by religious extremists in Bangladesh.

    http://www.thedailystar.net/suppliments/2005/indp2005/indp03.htm

  16. Bin Ismail

    @ishfaq (June 26, 2010 at 11:55 am)

    Very well written indeed. Perhaps a tiny correction could be made. Dr. Abdus Salam is buried in Rabwah, Pakistan.

    Regards.

  17. ishfaq

    Bin Ismail,

    Thanks for the correction. Regards.

    Ishfaq