Perilous pursuit: Interest in Ahmadiyya tenets makes citizen fear for life

LAHORE: A citizen was compelled on Tuesday to move the district and sessions court after being cautioned against perusing Ahmadiyya literature.

Petitioner Bilal Munawar told the court that some individuals had threatened to kill him after learning that he was reading Ahmadiyya texts.  Munawar said he was a faithful, law abiding, enterprising and learned citizen. The petitioner said that he hailed from a moderate Muslim family. He said his elders had pledged allegiance to Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya (JA) before converting to Islam in 1974.

Munawar said he had chanced upon some books belonging to his elders lying in his house’s store. He said he had come to acquire a great deal of knowledge about theology, freedom of speech, importance of prayer and its significance when offered alongside others by reading the books. Munawar said all the texts had been authored by one Mirza Bashirud Din Mahmood Ahmad (the second caliph of the JA).

He said his mother had counselled him to desist from reading any more Ahmadiyya literature. Munawar said she had told him to consign the books to flames saying that his parents had embraced Islam and the family had no links with the community. He told the court that he had come to discover that some of his elders, including his maternal grandfather and maternal uncle were noted orators and writers who had represented the community when it was in its formative stages. Munawar said scores of their books were still read the world over.

He said the great stature of his relatives had left an indelible mark on him and greatly stoked his interest in finding as much as he could about his elders and their accomplishments.

Munawar said this had left his mother perturbed who had reported his activities to Tahir, a local maulvi. He said Tahir had told on him to other “rabid” maulvis of the area. Munawar said Maulana Muhammad Naeem Qadri had then personally visited his house in a bid to prevent him from learning about JA founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, his teachings or Ahmadiyyat saying this would render him an infidel.

He said he had refused to accept Qadri’s counsel as it was devoid of reason. Munawar said he, as an independent citizen, had every right to learn, read, analyse and delve into comparative religion. Munawar said fanatical maulvis had turned against him on finding that he was taking great interest in Ahmadiyyat. He said they had made a habit of visiting his house time and again to coerce him. Munawar said he had also received threatening phone calls that had left him anxious and made him fear for his life.

He said he had then approached the relevant SHO and the CCPO’s office in vain to have an FIR registered against unidentified individuals. Munawar implored the court to direct police to provide him security, probe the matter and register an FIR against those who had threatened to kill him.

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