US ‘very concerned’ over Pakistan’s crackdown on Ahmadis

The U.S. Government criticized Pakistan on Friday for raiding the International Headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim minority in Chenab Nagar (Rabwah).

Speaking at a press briefing, U.S. State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner commented:

“We are obviously very concerned about these reports [that] the Punjab counter-terrorism police have raided the international headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Rabwah and arrested 4 individuals for publishing literature.”

erik_white_houseResponding to a question about Pakistan’s attack on Ahmadi Muslims and other minorities earlier in the day, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said:

“Countries are stronger when they respect human rights, when they respect decency and values of their own people.”

Earlier this week, Pakistan’s counter-terrorism department raided the Vatican-like Islamic city of Rabwah that houses the International Headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. The security forces brutally assaulted Ahmadi workers during the raid and arrested 4 of them on charges of blasphemy. They later charged another 5 under Pakistan’s infamous anti-Ahmadiyya laws.

U.S. State Department Spokesperson Toner also criticized Pakistan’s anti-Ahmadiyya laws:

“We have regularly noted our concerns about Pakistani laws that restrict peaceful religious expression, particularly by the Ahmadiyya community.”

Citing the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report, Toner added:

“We believe such laws are inconsistent with Pakistan’s international obligations and we would urge the Government of Pakistan to protect religious freedom and basic rights of all members of its population, including religious minorities.”

Also on Friday, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom – the bi-partisan government watchdog — also condemned the “brutal raid.” Chairman Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J. remarked:

“USCIRF condemns the brutal raid on the Ahmadiyya offices, the first such raid since Pakistan amended its constitution 42 years ago, declaring that Ahmadis are ‘non-Muslims.’ These actions flow out of Pakistan’s constitution and penal code, both of which impede religious freedom as they prevent Ahmadis from exercising their faith and even calling themselves Muslim. Pakistan’s anti-terrorism law should not be applied to the peaceful Ahmadiyya community simply because they are Ahmadis.”

In 1989 and again in 2008, Pakistani authorities charged residents of Rabwah, including women and children, for committing blasphemy by putting up public lighting displays to celebrate their Community’s centenary anniversary.

In 2012, Chenab Nagar police tortured to death a 43-year-old Ahmadi school teacher, and in 2014, a U.S. doctor, Mahdi Qamar, was shot 10 times at close range in the very same town.

Beliefs of the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam are considered heretical by mainstream Muslims and extremists have repeatedly attacked Ahmadi Muslims in Muslim-majority countries, such as Pakistan and Indonesia.

In 1974, Pakistan became the first country to declare Ahmadis “non-Muslim” by a constitutional amendment.

In 1984, Pakistan made it a criminal act for Ahmadis to “pose as Muslims” or to act in an “Islamic way.” Under current laws, Ahmadis can be jailed for possessing Quran, the Muslim holy book. Pakistani authorities have convicted Ahmadis saying the Islamic greeting of “Salam” or for having Quranic inscriptions on their wedding cards.

Ehsan Rehan
Ehsan is a Washington D.C. based reporter who covers Human Rights & Religious Freedom issues.@Ehzan

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10 Comments

  1. Aa all I just sent this to Rabwah Times (only want to share this with this group):

    Our prayers are with all those that are unjustly being persecuted, just like us Ahmadi Muslims are in Pakistan right now.

    I am an Ahmadi Muslim. Sitting in my home comfortably in America. I thank America for allowing us to live here and practice our faith freely.

    Earlier today, I took my son to school with a project to share with his class about how we celebrate Eid, which includes a model that he made of a mosque on Eid Day; the car park is full, people are hugging each other and sharing food together, everyone is happy at the mosque. This 8 year old boy made this model of the mosque based on what his eyes observed over the years of going to Ahmadi Muslim mosques. Today this showed me that my 8 year old son has more common sense than the 1,000 that have caused so much torture to innocent God-fearing people today in Pakistan. I wonder if even one of those that raided the mosque has ever listened to even one whole sermon delivered at that mosque?

    In the petition by Non-Ahmadi clerics there is a request to ‘free the mosque from these Infidels’ …my personal understanding of Islam is that only Allah (swt) has the Authority to declare one an Infidel or not! Would any Muslim out there disagree? By no means am I a scholar or cleric of Islam, but I’m curious to know If these ‘clerics’, I’m assuming they’re Muslim clerics, know what Allah (swt) hates the most? As far as I understand, it’s associating partners with Allah (swt)!! I’m also curious to know what Jamia they studied at? For surely no Jamia would teach their students to commit the biggest sin in the sight of Allah (swt) ..or would they?? After witnessing such heinous crimes against humanity time and time again, it does make me wonder! Such barbaric acts against anyone are wrong on all levels!! I can say with full confidence that such sinful acts would never be taught at any of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Jamia’s! How can I say that with such zeal and confidence? Through the actions of every Ahmadi Muslim cleric that I’ve seen or heard!! Never have I heard any Ahmadi Muslim cleric preach against the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saw)!! So blessed am I to have been born an Ahmadi Muslim!

    Im also wondering that since when does anyone have the right to ‘free’ a mosque? What exactly do Ahmadi Muslims do in a mosque? They pray to Allah the Almighty! In essence then, does this not mean that these clerics want to ‘free’ the mosque from Allah? So blessed am I to have been born an Ahmadi Muslim.

    Coming back to the wording on the petition for a moment, it says ‘…if these steps are not taken we will be forced to take extreme measures in order to liberate this mosque’ Two questions come to mind (actually many more do but I’ll narrow it down to two for now!):
    1) Who is following in the footsteps of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw), the founder of the beautiful religion of Islam? …the WHOLE WORLD is witness to the fact that it’s not the Ahmadi Muslims that are resoeting to violence and bloodshed, even after being so severely persecuted! Every Ahmadi Muslim is reminded time and time again to turn to Allah at times like this. No doubt that is what we will always do, inshallah! If through ignorance they say that the Holy Prophet (saw) fought too, let me remind them that the Holy Prophet of Islam, the Chief of all Prophets, Muhammad (saw), ONLY went to war as a last resort, even there were so many conditions laid down to be followed, and such were the conditions that many an enemy joined the fold of Islam due to the way they were treated as captives!!! Just think about that. I say with full conviction that the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) would never have allowed such foul acts!!!

    2) Why is it that these Non-Ahmadi clerics feel it necessary to try and wipe out Ahmadi Muslims?! If they are so firm that they are practicing the ‘true Islam’ they should have nothing to fear! It makes you wonder doesn’t it?

    So fortunate am I that I was born an Ahmadi Muslim, Alhamdolillah! It pains me to my core to hear of the suffering our fellow Ahmadi’s are enduring in Pakistan right now. What it does is make me pray even harder for them, for all that are being persecuted unjustly regardless of religion or race. May Allah be with them all and bless them immensely for the sacrifices they are making, Ameen.

    Isn’t it ironic that they say they are the true Muslims, yet they are the ones causing havoc!! On the other hand the Worldwide Leader of Ahmadi Muslims is telling all Ahmadi’s Muslims to turn to Allah and pray!! So while they’re out there destroying and killing under the guidance of their Leaders, Ahmadi Muslims across the globe are praying harder than ever before, under the guidance of their Worldwide Leader!! So Blessed am I that I was born an Ahmadi Muslim.

  2. Sami Shahid they did not just arrested them they tortured them and sent them to prison. Why the CTD did not show any warrant ? Illegal raid and torture on innocent peace loving citizens is not cruelty ? What is the crime of these Ahmadies ? Why the CTD or Government is not showing what hate they were spreading. Khuda ki Lathi bay aawaz hay daro us din say jab Khuda ki pakar Aay gi.

  3. Ab to narmy k din gaey ab khudae khashmageen…..
    Kaam wo dikhlae ga, jaisay hathoray se lohaar. May Allah protect all ahmadies.

  4. Our Lord, Allah Almighty is with us but there is no one to help these cruel peoples and we are happy to get the help of our Allah because he is sufficient for us. None of the Ahmadis have any any fear.

  5. Let’s hope the banana Republic headed by Nawaz Sharif listens to voice of reasoning. As a pariah state one is not surprised that Pakistan is not listening to, or, fulfilling it’s international obligations to which she is a party. Sharif would have done himself and his collaborators a world of good and save Pakistan the looming descent of Allah’s wrath for their various acts of sacrilege against innocent Ahmadi Muslims who are known worldwide as promoters of peace and living by same.

  6. Stop terrorism against ahmadayya muslim
    Other vise you will can be punished by God as God punished Nation of Hazrat Loot alaihisalam

  7. Khoda talla hamesha azmayeshy qurbanian momnu ko mozed mazbot our khoda say talaq jornay ka moqabla detta hay ghabrao nhe door allah open karny walla hay jab allah Kay lashkar kay lashkar khaliffa Kay liay zameen par sath denay Kay liay kharay kar day gaa dont for get past molla ommar jo khalefa ban gia tha ossay khoda nay jessay khatam Kia our abb be wohy khoda hay Bhatto say zolam ke dastan start hoo anjam nhe bholee yeh qoom team Kay team king our general zia ko. Be Naz ammen may qabool Kia na asman nay hwaoo may parkhchay ora diay rabe zoljlall nay hammra khoda zinda khoda hay jo bolts be hay sunta be hay kartta be hay har lamha maddad hamary abb be kary ga inshallah Be blessed of all ahmdiyeat we have one khaliffa mirza masroor Ahmad bleesd head of jmmat