Canadian government asked to probe whether Toronto-area man involved in Pakistan mosque siege

TORONTO — An attack on a mosque in Chakwal, Pakistan, has led to calls for an investigation in Canada over allegations a Toronto-area man was part of a group that vowed “extreme measures” against the place of worship.

A mob of about 1,000 surrounded the mosque belonging to minority Ahmadiyya Muslims, according to Pakistani newspapers The Nation and Dawn, as well as social media posts, some showing video of the damage.

The incident Monday reportedly came after locals filed a petition with police claiming “infidels” were illegally occupying the building and unless action was taken “we will be forced to take extreme measures to liberate this mosque.”

One of the names near the top of the petition was Haji Malik Rashid Ahmed, whom Ahmadiyyas say is a Canadian. A news website that reports on the Ahmadiyya community, Rabwah Times, said he had spoken about the issue at mosques in the Chakwal area. A video posted by the site appears to show him talking to police in the aftermath of the attack.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, which represents Canadian Ahmadiyya Muslims, raised the issue at a meeting with Global Affairs Canada, said Asif Khan, the organization’s director of public relations.

Khan said he informed federal officials that a Canadian was possibly involved and sent them the relevant documentation. He also asked whether Global Affairs would inform the RCMP, or if his organization should do it.

“We don’t want stuff like that here,” Khan said Tuesday. While violence against religious minorities is commonplace in Pakistan, he called the conduct “un-Canadian” and said he hoped whatever laws applied would be enforced.

I know him because he comes to our mosque in Mississauga. … He’s not a violent guy. He’s not a bad person

In Pakistan, Ahmadiyyas are prohibited from “indirectly or directly posing as a Muslim,” publicly declaring or propagating their faith, building mosques or referring to them as such, and making public calls to prayer, according to Human Rights Watch.

Such intolerance, together with regular attacks, have prompted many Ahmadiyyas to resettle in such countries as Canada, but they still face a degree of stigmatization from those who do not recognize them as genuine Muslims.

The Canadian who allegedly signed the petition concerning the Ahmadiyya mosque in Chakwal has lived in Canada for at least 40 years, said Imam Syed Soharwardy, who chairs the organization that runs the Mississauga mosque the man attends.

“I know this guy very well,” he said. “I know him because he comes to our mosque in Mississauga. … He’s not a violent guy. He’s not a bad person.” Soharwardy said he did not know what had happened in Chakwal “but in Pakistan people do these things. They should not be doing it.”

On Dec. 5, the Ahmadiyya community in Chakwal wrote to the local government asking for security at mosques. The letter said Muslim scholars “from outside” had “incited to violence,” vowing “to take forcible possession” of Ahmadiyya places of worship on Dec. 12.

On Monday, the attackers threw stones and bricks, and reportedly fired shots in an unsuccessful attempt to seize the mosque from the Ahmadiyyas. Worshippers locked themselves inside until police arrived to disperse the crowd.

The government of Punjab wrote on Twitter that “a misunderstanding developed between the two groups” and that it was “vigilantly following up.” In a Twitter post, the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad commended the Punjab government “for undertaking to hold mob leaders in Chakwal to account.”

We are using cookies to give you the best experience. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in privacy settings.
AcceptPrivacy Settings


This Cookie Policy explains how Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK (AMA UK)  Limited (“company”, “we”, “us”, and “ours”) use cookies and similar technologies to recognize you when you visit our websites, including without limitation and its mobile or localized versions and related domains / sub-domains (“Websites”) and/or our mobile application (“App”). It explains what these technologies are and why we use them, as well as your rights to control our use of them.

What are cookies?

Cookies are text files containing small amounts of information which are downloaded to your computer or mobile device when you visit a website or mobile application. Cookies are then sent back to the originating site on each subsequent visit, or to another site that recognizes that cookies. You can find out more information about cookies at

Cookies are widely used in order to make sites work or to work more efficiently.

We use cookies to enhance the online experience of our visitors (for example, by remembering your visits and/or page preferences) and to better understand how our site is used. Cookies may tell us, for example, whether you have visited our site before or whether you are a new visitor.

Cookies can remain on your computer or mobile device for different periods of time. Some cookies are ‘session cookies’, meaning that they exist only while your browser is open. These are deleted automatically once you close your browser. Other cookies are ‘permanent cookies,’ meaning that they survive after your browser is closed. They can be used by the site to recognize your computer or mobile device when you open your browser and browse the Internet again.

Why do we use cookies?

We use cookies for several reasons. Some cookies are required for technical reasons in order for our Websites and/or App to operate, and we refer to these as “essential” or “strictly necessary” cookies. Other cookies also enable us to track and target the interests of our users to enhance the experience on our Websites and/or App. Third parties serve cookies through our Websites and/or App for analytics and other purposes such as Google Analytics. In particular, we use forms related cookies which when you submit data through a form such as those found on contact pages or comment forms cookies may be set to remember your user details for future correspondence.

How can you control cookies?

You have the right to choose whether or not to accept cookies and we have explained how you can exercise this right below. However, please note that if you do not accept our cookies, you may experience some inconvenience in your use of our site.

You can set or amend your web browser controls to accept or refuse cookies. As the means by which you can refuse cookies through your web browser controls vary from browser-to-browser, you should visit your browser’s help menu for more information.

How often will we update this Cookie Policy?

We may update this Cookie Policy from time to time in order to reflect, for example, changes to the cookies we use or for other operational, legal or regulatory reasons. Please, therefore, re-visit this Cookie Policy regularly to stay informed about our use of cookies and related technologies.