Traditional Muslim-on-Muslim Dysfunction
"I know this guy very well. I know him because he comes to our mosque in Mississauga. ... He's not a violent guy. He's not a bad person."
"But in Pakistan people do these things. They should not be doing it."
Imam Syed Soharwardy, chair, Mississauga mosque
In Chakwal, Pakistan, an estimated thousand enraged Sunni Muslim Pakistanis attacked a mosque representing minority Ahmadiyya Muslims. A petition was filed with police by locals who had made the claim that "infidels" had taken possession of the building, and "we will be forced to take extreme measures to liberate this mosque" if official action was not taken. The name of Haji Malik Rashid Ahmed, a Pakistani-Canadian who has lived in Canada for 40 years was the lead name on the petition.
According to a website operated by the Ahmadiyya community, this man had urged action at mosques around Chakwal. The issue of a Canadian spurring an attack against Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan was brought to the attention of Global Affairs Canada (formerly Foreign Affairs Canada) by concerned members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at Canada, representing Canadian Ahmadiyya Muslims, in hopes that officials would take note and possibly take action.
Ahmadiyya Muslims are peaceful, inclusive and proud Canadians. It is illegal for them to suffer any kind of discrimination in Canada; their equality rights are guaranteed under the Constitution. But in Pakistan Ahmadiyya Muslims are prohibited by law from "indirectly or directly posing as a Muslim", from publicly propagating or making any manner of declaration relating to ther faith, from building mosques, or from referring to their mosques as such, or from public calls to prayer.
They have also suffered violence from Muslims who consider them to be apostates from Islam whose deserving fate is "wajib ul qatl" (required to be killed). A week ago, because of a sense of the growing threat gathering against them, the Ahmadiyya community in Chakwal had written to their local government requesting that security be posted at their mosques. They had, in their letter, conveyed the information that Muslim scholars "from outside" had "incited to violence" with the intention "to take forcible possession" of Ahmadiyya places of worship on December 12.
And this appears, on Monday, to describe the intention of the attackers who threw stones and bricks, firing shots in an effort to forcibly take possession of the Ahmadiyya mosque. The Ahmadiyya Muslims who were in the mosque at the time locked themselves within until police eventually arrived, dispersing the attackers. Without, we can see, making any arrests. Since, obviously, the Pakistani mainstream Sunni Muslims were only engaged in what the law outlawing the Ahmadiyya as legitimate Muslims, provokes them to do.
The government of Punjab, no doubt embarrassed that the event had received international attention, wrote on Twitter that "a misunderstanding developed between the two groups", and that the authorities were "vigilantly following up". While the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad went out of its way to cravenly diplomatically sooth the situation by commending the government of Punjab "for undertaking to hold mob leaders in Chakwal to account".
How will Canada hold a Pakistani-Canadian to account? It wasn't that long ago that another Pakistani insisted on her right to wear a niqab covering her face on the solemn occasion of a citizenship ceremony granting her citizenship. Simply put, those people who are not prepared to accept and honour Canadian values of equality and mutual respect are not suitable candidates for Canadian citizenship.