“The laws mandate three years’ imprisonment for Ahmadis who dare to call themselves Muslims, call their places of worship mosques, recite the Koran or announce the azan, the call to prayer.”
Such is the degree of offense these clerics take at the Ahmadiyya community’s belief in the existence of valid revelations after Muhammad. If only they were half so repulsed instead by the idea of open-ended jihad warfare, the draconian punishments of Sharia law, and the persecution of non-believers. Of course, since those come from the Qur’an and the example of Muhammad himself, attempts at reform would leave them vulnerable to charges of bid’a, or innovation, something for which they now persecute the Ahmadis.
“Pakistan clerics persecute ‘non Muslims’,” by Isambard Wilkinson for The Telegraph:
Hardline clerics are using Pakistan’s blasphemy laws to persecute members of a small Islamic splinter group they say are not proper Muslims.
The two million-strong Ahmadiyya community, based in Rabwah in the Punjab, risks charges of “impersonating Muslims” under the country’s controversial religious laws.
Shameen Ahmad Khalid, a community leader, said: “We have people serving long jail sentences for blasphemy or for ‘posing as Muslims’.”
The laws mandate three years’ imprisonment for Ahmadis who dare to call themselves Muslims, call their places of worship mosques, recite the Koran or announce the azan, the call to prayer.
Twenty years ago, the people of Rabwah were charged with impersonating Muslims.
Since the charges are still outstanding, the town’s 50,000 inhabitants have to hide their Islamic habits, keep their beards trimmed and avoid using Muslim invocations.
The word “Muslim” has been erased, on the orders of a magistrate, from an epitaph engraved on the tomb of Pakistan’s most distinguished scientist, Dr Abdus Salam.
It used to read “the First Muslim Nobel Laureate”.
The religious laws are used by hardline clerics to persecute minority groups.
Despite recent improvements in voting rights for Christians and Hindus, Ahmadis are effectively still disenfranchised as they are permitted to vote only as “non-Muslims”.
Pakistani popular rhymes defame Ahmadis in lurid terms and militants have stamped thousands of rupee notes imploring believers to “put them to death”.
Several months ago, a police officer killed Mohammed Ashraf, an Ahmadi, as he ate his breakfast in a hotel. As he opened fire the officer shouted: “You are an infidel and preaching the infidel creed.”
The Ahmadis’ reverence for a prophet who lived in the 19th century offends the principle orthodox Muslim tenet that the Prophet Mohammed was the final prophet.