Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pakistan: Ahmadis Fighting for the Right to Live | Aamir Qureshi / AFP

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The attacks “show the continued lack of protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms offered by the Pakistani government to the Ahmadis.”

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int'l Desk
Source/Credit: AFP / Newsweek Pakistan
By Aamir Qureshi | Nov 28 2015

Pakistan’s Ahmadis face persecution, threats from local mobs and the state.

“Are these the people with bullets who took my papa away?” two-year-old Sabiha Ahmad asked her mother anxiously when AFP visited her family, members of Pakistan’s persecuted Ahmadi minority, who are currently living in hiding.

The toddler’s family has had little contact with anyone since they were forced to flee for their lives on Nov. 20 when hundreds of people torched a factory in Jhelum after rumors spread workers were burning copies of the Quran.

Sabiha’s father Asif Shahzad was one of the Ahmadi employees—a minority group who are legally declared non-Muslims in Pakistan in 1974—and that night the mob took him away.

“I begged them for the life of my wife and children and they freed them only after taking me to burn in the factory’s boiler,” he told AFP this week from where his family is hiding. “It was my good luck that some kind-hearted Muslims helped me to escape,” he said.

Pakistan: The fire of intolerance -- Ahmadis flee Jhelum after mob violence | Khuldune Shahid

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“Some people from the mob were arrested, others ran away. But the police couldn’t stop them from torching the factory building and the residences.”

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int'l Desk
Source/Credit: The Friday Times
By Khuldune Shahid  | November 27, 2015

On November 20, Qamar Ahmed Tahir – the head of security at a chipboard factory in Jhelum – was arrested over allegations of burning the Quran. Qamar, like the owner of the factory, is an Ahmadi by faith. The news of the arrest spread, resulting in an enraged mob torching the factory late at night, with workers – many of whom were Ahmadis – inside.

“Everyone was going about their usual routine in the evening, when two workers spread the rumour about the alleged burning of Quran’s pages,” said an Ahmadi worker in the factory who has left the town along with his family following the incident.

“The security head was arrested by the police, and announcements were made in mosques: ‘Qadianis (a derogatory term for Ahmadis) have burnt the Quran and it is time to renew your faith’,” he said. “The mob broke into the factory and torched everything it could find, including our residences within the factory premises. The fire has destroyed almost 70% of the factory and eight vehicles parked inside were also severely damaged. The owner’s residence, adjacent to the factory, was also destroyed.”

Perspective: I am ashamed by this Ahmadi clause at a university in Lahore | Abbis Haider

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“A university is a secular institute where an individual’s ability to contribute to academics and research is gauged through his knowledge and academic excellence not through his religion, caste or creed,”

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int'l Desk
Source/Credit: The Express Tribune
By Abbis Haider | November 27, 2015

A month ago, I got a very disturbing call at 8pm. One of the best engineering professors at a leading American university told me, in a flabbergasted tone, that something is troubling him and is related to Pakistan.

“I have not seen such overt discrimination ever in my life,” he said.

A few days before the distressed phone call, he and I had an interesting conversation regarding basic human rights when my column on pluralistic ramifications of Sufism and its association to the land of the subcontinent was published in a local newspaper in the US.

He appreciated that I had tried to highlight the mystic culture of Pakistan, and the liberal and humanistic tangents that embody it. He said he was glad to hear that the Pakistani Muslim youth of today was showing an interest in the subject.

Perspective: Manufacturing intolerance | Waqar Gillani

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Mob violence after provocative announcements from local mosques on allegations of blasphemy… Sounds familiar? It’s a factory in Jhelum this time

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Source/Credit: The News on Sunday
By Waqar Gillani | November 29, 2015

Five days after the torching down of the chipboard factory and looting of workers’ houses and offices, about four kilometres from Jhelum on G.T. Road, by a violent mob, the smoke was still billowing from its warehouse and fire-fighting vehicles were still at work.

On November 20, some workers of the chipboard factory, owned by a local from the Ahmadi community, alleged that the factory’s security officer Qamar Ahmad Tahir (also an Ahmadi) had burnt copies of the Holy Quran in the furnace.

According to the First Information Report (FIR), complainant Basharat Husain, a driver with the factory for almost four years, saw that paper trash packed in sacks came on a vehicle and the security in-charge ordered two workers to burn it in the furnace. While it was being thrown in the furnace, the workers noticed Quranic pages in it. The situation led to an argument and the police had to be called in. Following which the FIR was lodged.

Perspective: The pariahs of Pakistan | Farrukh Khan Pitafi

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During the discussion, it struck me that we were all focusing on difficulties faced by Hindus, Christians, even Zoroastrians, and yet nobody had even spared a thought for Ahmadis.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int'l Desk
Source/Credit: The Express Tribune
By Farrukh Khan Pitafi | November 27, 2015

Ishtiaq Ahmed, author of hundreds of children’s books, died this month. What struck me after hearing the news was the sheer number of admirers I came across on social media that day, some of them hyper-conservative and some ultra-liberal. I didn’t know so many people even knew his works. I came across his novels in the late 1980s when I was trying to improve my written Urdu. A schoolmate, in a small town where my father was then stationed, gave me two of his books in exchange for the first few volumes of The Hardy Boys series. The late author had some interesting plot devices, which usually helped him in maintaining a loyal readership. But then he also laced his works with an unhealthy dose of paranoia, pseudo-history and geography, and a remarkable disdain for religious minorities. Chief among those who were at the receiving end of his disdain was the Ahmadi community, which in his infinite wisdom he preferred to call Jabani. In his world of intricate conspiracies, all non-Muslim countries, including America, Israel, Britain, Soviet Union, India, were all out to get us and Jabanis were their most useful tools.

Jhelum — insult to human dignity

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I will never forget my friend’s words over the phone: “they burnt our home”. Say that to yourself a few times — Humara ghar jala diya.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The News on Sunday
By Waqqas Mir | November 29, 2015

How we aid and abet violence through our silence and our language

The mob, we are told, was calling for them to be burnt alive. Thousands of people broke open the gates to enter their home and did their best to kill the parents of my friend. The couple managed by the skin of their teeth to make it out alive. A business built up over decades and providing many families a source of income was also torched.

This was Jhelum, till last week a place of happy memories but now a painful reminder of the bigtory that plagues this society.

The mob acted after allegations of blasphemy were made. As is usually the case, the allegations were vague with no initial evidentiary backing. But mobs don’t care about that. How dare a bunch of Ahmadi citizens prosper in Pakistan? Something had to be done. A lesson needed to be taught to the community. Hence, a home, a factory and a mosque was vandalised and reclaimed in the name of purity.

Canada: Local Ahmadiyya Muslims Celebrate Guru Nanak Devji’s Birthday

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Imam Khokhar stressed that Guru ji’s message was for all of humanity. He emphasized that Guru Nanak Dev has a very special place and respect in the Muslim community.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Link Paper Canada
By Balwant Sanghera | November 28th, 2015

DELTA – This month, Sikhs around the globe are celebrating the birth (Parkash Divas) of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikh faith. Not only that, a number of other communities will also be paying tribute to the “Yug Pursh”, Man of God, Guru Nanak. In order to pay a fitting tribute to Guru Ji, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama ‘at  of BC  celebrated his  547th birthday at their spacious Baitur Rahman Mosque on River Road in Delta on Sunday, November 22.

More than 400 people from diverse backgrounds took the time to join in this celebration. India Cultural Centre of Canada’s Gurdwara Nanak Niwas was honoured to be a part of this unique effort. The Punjabi media-both electronic and print-also did a commendable job in promoting this event. It was great to see a lot of young people involved in this process.

Pakistan: Owner of Christian Gawahi TV channel lodges blasphemy complaint in Karachi

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Sarfraz Williams who owns the 'Gawahi' channel told PTI that after much efforts the police registered a blasphemy case yesterday, four days after the office was burnt down.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int'l Desk
Source/Credit: Zee News
By PTI | November 28, 2015

Karachi: The owner of a Christian web-based television channel has got a blasphemy case registered against unidentified persons after his office here was gutted in a fire.

The two-room office of the "Gawahi" web television channel, which preached Christianity, was located in Akhtar Colony which has a large minority population mostly belonging to the lower income group.

The channel's office was destroyed in a mysterious fire earlier this week.

Sarfraz Williams who owns the 'Gawahi' channel told PTI that after much efforts the police registered a blasphemy case yesterday, four days after the office was burnt down.

"We have been getting threatening phone calls and messages and we suspect the office was set on fire by some people who didn't want the channel to continue working," Williams said.

Perspective: The unmistakable hypocrisy | Mehr Tarar

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In solidarity with the ‘fellow Pakistanis’, many on Twitter expressed their dismay in the usual bland tsk-tsk’ing over the persecution of minorities, but there was no #IStandWithAhmadis hashtag.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int'l Desk
Source/Credit: The Express Tribune
By Mehr Tarar | November 26, 2015

November 23, 2015: New Delhi, India; Ramnath Goenka Express Excellence in Journalism Awards; Aamir Khan in conversation with Anant Goeka, Indian Express. As the outrage over the Indian superstar’s alleged ‘disloyalty’ and ‘ingratitude’ to his motherland, and his ‘intolerable’ audacity to speak up about the “growing intolerance” in India snowballed into ugliness on social and mainstream media, the reactions were myriad. And most of them disproportionate to the scope of statements made by Khan, one of the ambassadors of the Incredible India campaign, who while showing concern over certain manifestations of intolerance in the recent past, deemed his wife’s idea to leave India “disastrous”. The how-dare-he-when-India-has-given-him-so-much outrage culminated in protests outside his house, burning of his effigies, and the coup de grace, a police complaint against him at a police station in Delhi.

In solidarity with the ‘fellow Muslim’ Aamir Khan, many Pakistanis on Twitter made the hashtag #IStandWithAamirKhan become one of the top trends in Pakistan.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Perspective: The Qur'an Would Condemn ISIS, not Support it | Damir Rafi

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The Qur'an repeats phrases such as there is no compulsion in religion [2:257], thus making it abundantly clear that to target or kill peaceful innocent people from a different faith or way or life, is not only contrary to, but in fact the antithesis of what Islam actually teaches.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: The Huffington Post UK
By Damir Rafi | November 25, 2015

The Qur'an repeats phrases such as there is no compulsion in religion [2:257]

A 2008 report conducted by MI5 concluded that the majority of 'Islamic terrorists' are in fact not Islamic at all. In fact a large number of them neither practise their faith regularly nor have any real idea what it teaches. The report goes further to suggest that there actually exists evidence that 'a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation.'

To many people this may come as a shock. Aiming to provide a stronger religious identity to a potential religious extremist appears counter-intuitive, foolish even. However those who understand and follow what Islam really teaches are in fact amongst the last people on earth that would ever commit such a senseless act of violence as was recently committed in Paris.

Sri Lanka: Quran Sinhala Translation gifted to Commissioner of Elections office

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The Jama’at delegation visited the Elections Secretariat and delivered a copy of the Holy Qur’an Sinhala Translation to the office of the Commissioner of Elections Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch |
Source/Credit: AMJ Sri Lanka
By Staff Report | November 26, 2015

A two member Ahmadiyya Muslim delegation comprising of Ahmadiyya Chief Missionary Sri Lanka, Moulavi A.B. Musthaq Ahmad and National Director, Faith Outreach, A. Abdul Aziz, visited the Elections Secretariat and delivered a copy of the Holy Qur’an Sinhala Translation to the office of the Commissioner of Elections Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Sri Lanka launched the Sinhala Translation along with original Arabic text of the Muslim holy scriptures, the Holy Quran, at National Education & Book Fair in Colombo last July.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim delegation also visited University Grants Commission (UGC) in Colombo and met with UGC Chairman Prof. Mohan De Silva who commended the efforts put in by the community for the Sinhala Translation.

Pakistan: Mullahs continue destruction of Ahmadi Muslim Mosques and properties

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It is becoming impossible for Ahmadis to continue their daily life, jobs, and business as secure citizens of Pakistan. In light of all this, they are fleeing to any haven outside the country to save their lives and that of their children.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int'l Desk
Source/Credit: Asian Human Rights Commission
By AHRC Statement | November 28, 2015

The world had hardly come to terms with the shock and horror of the burning down of a chipboard factory by an enraged mob led by misanthropic mullahs when news has emerged of another attack. This time an Ahmadi Muslim mosque in Kala Gujram, not far from the chipboard factory, has been targeted.

The local law enforcement agencies completely failed to control or disperse the crowd and protect the lives and properties of the Ahmadis. On the other hand, the police acted cruelly and arrested a senior member of the Ahmadiyya Community in Jhelum. The perpetrators intended to burn alive all Ahmadis onsite.

According to information gathered from Siasat Pakistan, an enraged mob set an Ahmadi place of worship on fire in Punjab's Jhelum District on Saturday, November 21, following Friday night's arson attack on the chipboard factory.

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