by Usman Ahmed
I have with me, at the time of writing, a number of bumper stickers, leaflets and pamphlets regarding Ahmadis (or Qadianis as they are more derogatively referred to). According to the material at my disposal Ahmadis are traitors, criminals and the very worst kind of heretics. One leaflet is telling me in the most hideously bold type that even if Ahmadis flee to the moon it is the obligation of all Muslims to hunt them down and make their life as miserable there as it has been made on earth. Of course, it fails to mention how this costly venture might be undertaken or tackle the logistical problem of how hundreds and thousands of zealous Muslims, pitchforks, dandas and other fiendish accoutrements in hand, might actually get there. But hey! Forget the feasibility issues, surely it is worth going all the way to the moon to…wait…to…well I don’t know what exactly but I am sure it will be fun once the party gets started– although I suppose not so much fun if you’re an Ahmadi.
Another piece veritably screams out that any Muslim guilty of drinking a product of the Shezan Company (God forbid that ever happen) will forever burn in the fire of hell. Oh, and just to exacerbate the torment, so will their families. Well there you have it folks – hell, fire, brimstone and eternal damnation all neatly packaged up in a 250 ml liter carton of mango juice. Genius! But what if someone were to eat a tasty tidbit from one their numerous bakeries or dare to purchase a Mercedes automobile – what then? Will Satan’s minions drag them away from their chocolate cupcake or will they be driven to the underworld in expertly crafted German luxury by Lucifer himself? Unfortunately the erudite authorities who produced these wonderfully informative publications again fail to shed much light on these highly important questions. Nevertheless, so proud are they of their efforts, that they have gone out of their way to print the name of their reputable institution and phone number (0301 7083722 if anyone is interested) in order to leave no element of doubt as to who is responsible for these wonderfully incoherent and trite blatherings.
Surely this begs the question of whether such things are an incitement of religious hatred. Do they not disturb the peace, create a ‘law and order situation’ or impinge on the rights of others? Or to put it more succinctly are they not criminal acts? If so, then why are the perpetrators of these crimes so brazenly allowed to flout the laws? After the May 28 terror attacks on two Ahmadi mosques (I refuse to call them abadat ghas) sweets were distributed in many parts of Pakistan celebrating this wonderfully ‘heroic’ deed, the government and the political elites fell over themselves trying to ignore the fact that the tragedy had even occurred and certain media outlets decided to give air time to clerics so that they could pronounce to the world that Ahmadis are wajabal qatal. And so this barbaric crime was tolerated and in some quarters even eulogized. What has since been the fallout? The extremists and hate-mongers were emboldened and continued to wreak their particular brand of havoc and destruction. Except that the next time their victims were not Ahmadis – but other ‘Muslims’ -worshipping at the Darbar of Hadrat Data Ganj Buksh and more recently at Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s Mazar in Karachi. Whereas our society needs to, in one sense, become more tolerant of others – it also need to adopt a zero tolerance policy regarding fanatics and bigots. Literature published against Ahmadis and indeed other groups might seem trivial to some but it is just another symptom of the problems that are tearing Pakistan apart. It is high time that the true traitors and criminals were brought to justice.