Five Pakistani Ahmadis held in Libya

Five Pakistani members of the Ahmedi sect are being held on suspicion of trying to convert Libyans. A Libyan, who is reported to have been converted, has also been arrested.

Pakistani officials indicate the arrests took place on New Year’s Eve in the Tripoli suburb of Gurgi. The five Pakistanis are reported as Abdus Sami, supposedly the head of the Ahmadiyya community in Libya and two sets of brothers, Haris and Jawad Ahmad, who are said to have come to Libya aound 2006, and two others named only as Noor and Imran.

The Libyan has been named as Muadh Al-Goul. Another Libyan is reportedly being sought.

Pakistani officials report that four of the five are being held at Abu Sleem prison and that consular access has been granted to them. The location of a fifth is unknown at present.

The movement was founded in the 19th century in India as an offshoot of Islam and regards itself as a reform movement. But it is seen as heretical by main mainstream Sunnis. Today, Pakistan is home to the world’s largest Ahmedi community, some two to three million, but they have been legally classified there as non-Muslim and have been the target of terrorist attacks.

It is not known if or when the five Pakistanis will be charged or tried. Families have reportedly been told there is a possibility they will be deported once they provide details about whom they converted.