Guns, batons and stones in hand, an angry mob of 1000 religious fanatics attacked a mosque belonging to the minority Ahmadiyya community in Central Pakistan on the same day as Pakistanis celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad. Not a single Pakistani political leader, from liberal to conservative has yet condemned this attack. The procession in Chakwal made its way to the mosque shouting slogans, pushing and shoving each other in efforts to break into the mosque and hurt the Ahmadi’s inside. As per police, two officials of a mosque, named Abdul Mateen and Abdul Rasheed, and other clerics from abroad had a final meeting that the procession on the Prophet’s birthday will pass by the Ahmadi mosque and it should be ceased. The planning had started more than a month before and was evident on social media.
On December 2nd, during a Friday prayer congregation, a Canadian cleric from Mississauga, Haji Malik Rashid addressed the gathering inciting violent measures to be taken against Ahmadis on the day of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. This was a well-planned and coordinated attack. The cleric Rashid traveled to Pakistan, created a petition that was signed by 500 people, and submitted it to the local police saying they should ‘save the mosque from these infidels’. The letter claims that the Mosque is a disputed property since 1860 and it should be returned. The letter also said that if police failed to act, extreme measures will be taken.
In response to the threat, a local missionary of Chakwal, Zahid Hameed wrote a letter to the Chief minister of Punjab and to the DPO of Chakwal citing concerns of an imminent attack and asking for security. However, none was provided. Even when the police were called on the scene, they were unable to control the mob because of weak deployment, and had the Ahmadiyya Muslims to evacuate the mosque to calm the tension. The army arrived on scene and took control of the mosque but it is unclear what the future is for the mosque and the land.
The 40 members Ahmadi Muslims who were inside, locked themselves in, but one person aged 65 died of a heart failure while two were injured. The attackers eventually stormed inside, burned carpets and mosque furniture, and looted the mosque. Missionary Hameed mentions in his letter to the CM of Punjab that there are reports of more threats of attacks in other villages where Ahmadi Muslims reside. The reason behind the attack is a dispute over the property where the mosque is located and surrounding area.n or the past 100 years, it has been the mosque of Ahmadi Muslims. But, 10 years ago, a case was filed against the Ahmadiyya community that because Pakistani law has declared them as non-Muslims, the land should be handed over to them. Not just the mosque, but the shops as well in surrounding area.
The Ahmadiyya community is peaceful community found in 1889 with followers exceeding tens of millions. In 1974, the then President General Zia introduced and enforced the anti-Ahmadiyya ordinance stopping Ahmadis from preaching or professing their beliefs. This institutionalized hatred and animosity towards Ahmadis makes it easy for Pakistani religious heretics or anyone to publish hate material against them, call for the murder of Ahmadis on television shows, and allow for persecution with little to no repercussion. The government turns a blind eye every time there is an attack on the Ahmadis and innocent lives are lost, children orphaned.
Ahmadis have never retaliated with violence. While the situation is unclear as to the mosque and dispute over the land, there are threats of more attacks. What is frightening, is that such a hate monger and radical extremist resides in Canada. If he can give such sermons instigating and arousing hatred against minorities in Pakistan, he may as well be doing the same in Canada.
by Mehreen Khan
Some reports of the event in media
A comprehensive storify on this event by Naeem Sabir
Responses to This Saddening Event
“There is an alarming high rate of increase in state sponsored terrorism yet a deafening silence among the public. This is because albeit Pakistan is a democracy – Ahmadi Muslims being a minority, are not granted their basic rights. Furthermore, due to the prevailing hatred, even journalists are afraid to cover these horrendous stories – burying the events as soon as they happen. These event don’t reach the general public let alone actions are taken. However, being Ahmadi Muslims, we follow the true teachings of Islam. We follow the example of Our Beloved Prophet (sa) by showing resilience and turning only to God for help. We promote nothing but peace, love and submission to Allah. I strongly condemn these actions. They are inhumane, horrendous and promote violence.”
“The recent attack in Pakistan is yet another incident for the people to brutally treat Ahmadi Muslims as if they are not people, let alone Muslims themselves. Ahmadis, under the guidance of the Caliph, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad do not take action with violence but with love and prayer instead. This attack is a reflection of how the Ahmadi people are treated in Pakistan which is not acceptable in any way. The government in Pakistan has a duty to protect its people and keep peace in their land. Once Pakistan realizes there is no need for such harsh discrimination, there will be freedom from violence and people can and will live in harmony.”
“State sponsored Ahmadi persecution is increasing alarmingly in Pakistan–while the police turn a blind eye. It is the only country in the world that is constitutionally persecuting a minority for practicing Islam. Incited by Mullah’s, mobs take to the street, looting, and killing innocent Ahamdi’s. Many people do not know about Ahmadi persecution because we do not take to the street to protest, rather as a peaceful community under our Caliph, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad we face adversity with love. Today, self-proclaimed Muslims kill us because they are threatened by our teachings. We teach love, tolerance, and above all, the fear of God. By persecuting Ahmadi Muslims they think they will be able to stop our progress, but time and time again we have shown what a resilient community we are. I hope to see swift condemnation of these recent attacks by politicians, journalists and humanitarians alike.”
“Islam has never taught to be violent or gory. Only when there is severe brutality, action must be taken to fight back, but when innocent people do not do any harm then what is the reason to inflict pain?”
“Why does Pakistan call itself a Democratic country? There is so much discrimination towards Ahmadi’s in a Muslim country where religion teaches love and peace. It’s not even about Democracy, it’s about killing. In what country are you allowed to kill innocent people? The attack that happened just yesterday in Chakwal, Pakistan is absolutely horrendous. Not only did they attack Ahmadi’s, but they attacked a ‘place of worship’ for Muslims; a mosque. And what does the police do about it? Nothing.”