Pakistani Values of Religious Persecution
"Luckily I escaped. [Evading arrest in Pakistan, charged with terrorism] That's how I am safe here, thank God. It's all work of God, I believe, because had I been caught it would have been not good for my health at all."
"They [Ahmadiyya Muslims] have claimed that we attacked. It was not an attack. It was an agitation. They attacked us. The rest of what happened was a natural reaction."
"[Questioned by authorities at Pearson airport in Toronto] and they were satisfied and said that I can go. And then CSIS [the Canadian Security Intelligence Service] came and asked me questions and they said, 'Okay, no problem'."
"There was some frustration at the time [when demands were made to authorities to divest the Ahmidiyya of their mosque] and also quite a few people from close-by communities started coming because they learned about the incident."
"I mean what do you expect from a large crowd? They will sit tight and get shot at and stones throwed at them and wrong type of words used against them? There are elements, they will do something and they did it. Some of them who are youngsters tried to climb the [mosque retaining] wall. But none of the Ahmadis got hurt at all, not even a scratch."
"This is an incident where the government is trying to protect the minorities and working against the majority That's why we all are punished."
Rashid Ahmed, Mississauga, Ontario
"Rest assured, we have rule of law in Pakistan and all those individuals who are responsible for the incident [December 12 mosque attack] will be taken to task with the due process of law."
Nadeem Kiani, press secretary, Pakistan High Commission, in Canada
This fine, upstanding Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin has lived in Canada for the last 40 years. Through immigration, Canada has a sizeable Pakistan-Canadian population. There is also a good-sized population of Ahmidiyya Muslims living in Canada, where they migrated to avoid the kind of persecution they have lived under in Pakistan. In Pakistan, Ahmidiyya are looked upon as
apostates, they are forbidden to call themselves Muslims, and they must not, by law, pray in mosques.
"They should not have anything to do with mosques and they cannot be called Muslims", said Mr. Ahmed upon enquiry in Canada why he had organized a 'protest' against the Ahmidiyya while on a visit to Pakistan. "Why are they occupying a mosque which is built for Muslims by Muslims? This is aggression", he averred. He informed an enquiring journalist that the procession he organized was meant to pass alongside the Ahmidiyya mosque, when it turned into a protest.
In Canada, Pakistani-Canadians insist on their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for Canadians, given full equality under the law. A Pakistani-Canadian woman insisted on her right to wear a niqab, leaving only her eyes visible, during a citizenship ceremony. A Pakistani-Canadian newly-elected Member of Parliament feels entitled to produce a motion to Parliament for the condemnation of "Islamophobia". The very people who wrap themselves in the protection that Canada affords all its citizens practise bigotry against others while demanding recognition of their exceptionalism.
Mr. Ahmed had previously arranged for a petition which 580 villagers from Dulmial, roughly 150 kilometres south of Islamabad had signed, to be addressed to local authorities. The petition spoke of "extreme measures" should police fail to take action to clear the mosque of Ahmidiyyas. The first name signed on the petition was that of Mr. Ahmed, the visitor from Canada. This is a mosque said to have been built in the 1800s, and which had been "occupied" since 1996 by the Muslim Ahmidiyya sect. An unresolved court dispute over ownership of the mosque rankles villagers.
Safwan Choudhry, speaking for Ontario's Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at, view Mr. Ahmed and his escape from justice in Pakistan where he was busy persecuting members of his sect, with fear and trepidation, appalled that the man could travel abroad, incite to violence, then return unpunished to Canada. Mr. Choudhry is urging Canadian authorities to undertake an investigation into the fact that a mob of a thousand launched a violent attack upon the minority Ahmidiyya community in Dulmial.
The Canadian High Commission in Islamabad had posted a comment on Twitter, commending the Punhab government "for undertaking to hold mob leaders in Chakwal to account". But that it was a Pakistani-Canadian who felt free to organize and incite the mob does not appear to have entered the equation of justice and the rule of law. A rather peculiar situation in Pakistan where minority religions are given little protection under the law, leading religious bigots to feel free to persecute and demean Christian, Shiites and Ahmadiyya communities.
At the point where the 'procession' of a thousand villagers came abreast of the mosque they demanded of the police that the building be sealed and the Ahmidiyyas be ousted. The police made no move to accommodate the mob's demands. At this juncture, claims Ahmed, the Ahmidiyyas taunted the protesters, inciting them to begin scaling the mosque walls. An Ahmidiyya man suffered a fatal heart attack within the mosque as the protesters forced their way into the building.
Ahmed describes fires set by the Ahmidiyyas, torching their documents and furniture before exiting. Video footage, on the other hand, shows protesters looting the mosque and throwing items into piles, then setting them aflame. The Dawn newspaper in Pakistan reported Ahmed to be the "main suspect" in the incident where a charge sheet was made against 61 suspects by a Joint Investigation Team. The Senate Committee on Human Rights, reported Dawn, had recommended the Government of Pakistan seek Ahmed's extradition from Canada.
On the website of a group allied with a Mississauga mosque attended by Ahmed, there are descriptions of those of the Ahmidiyya faith as "evil", representing an effort "by anti-Islam forces to disunite Muslims". Mr. Choudhry looks to Canadian authorities to mount a "measured response", inclusive of taking action against people who "bring values that are both un-Canadian and dangerous to those living in Canada."
Haji Malik Rashid Ahmed "The Qadianis (Ahmadis) are using the Mosque as their worship place which is illegal under the law, We request that you free the Mosque from the Infidels and save Muslim interests by saving the Mosque from these Infidels, If these steps are not taken we will be forced to take extreme measures in order to liberate this Mosque."