TARGETING MINORITIES IN THE HOLY MONTH OF RABIUL AWWAL.
It is no coincidence that an Ahmadi place of worship has been attacked in the sacred month of Rabiul Awwal, the month Islam’s Prophet was born. But Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s decision to rename Quaid-e-Azam University’s National Center for Physics after Ahmadi Nobel Laureate Dr. Abdus Salam had nothing to do with the holy month. The renaming does not violate the Constitution of Pakistan, which apostatizes Dr. Salam’s community; it was nevertheless an act of humanity and righting of a wrong done to Dr. Salam merely for being born a Muslim before being forced out of his religion under a constitutional amendment. That Second Amendment to Pakistan’s Constitution remains the biggest hurdle to the observance of human rights in Pakistan.
In Punjab’s Chakwal city, a 1,000-strong mob of Muslims attacked a place of worship—which can’t be called “mosque” because the Penal Code punishes doing so with imprisonment—of Ahmadis for reasons the Punjab government is not willing to make public. On the Internet, however, Facebook reports say a cleric had arrived from Canada to arouse the Chakwal mob into punishing the “apostate” for being an affront to Islam’s Prophet in the month of his birth. Another report claims local clerics had been asking the Ahmadi community to relinquish land being used by their place of worship and resorted to violence when they could not get their way. This is all sadly indicative of ongoing abuse against the Ahmadi community.
The day after Prime Minister Sharif renamed the Physics Department in Islamabad, a senior journalist wrote a column decrying the timing of the decision, clearly hinting at an intentional “insult.” Pakistan’s media is vulnerable to jihadi and semi-jihadi organizations, requiring periodic condemnatory statements against the Ahmadi community for fear of being attacked.
Despite their non-Muslim status in Pakistan, Ahmadis remain Muslims outside the country. Given the increasing radicalization of the expatriate Pakistani community, this fact is resented by the pious living abroad. In March, a Muslim man in Scotland murdered an Ahmadi shopkeeper over his alleged “disrespect” to Islam. To the murderer, this act of crime seems sufficient to win him a place in Paradise.