Caving in to pressure: Ahmadi place of worship demolished

Published: September 4, 2011

Destruction came in the wake of local demonstrations, minority community lodges peaceful protest. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LODHRAN: 

The municipal administration has razed to the ground an under-construction Ahmadi place of worship in Jannat Wala, a village on the outskirts of Lodhran, after clerics staged protests.

Construction was suspended after labourers working at the site received death threats and some were forced to flee the village to save their lives. Muslim clerics pressurised the district government to take action when they came to know about the new place of worship. They organised processions against the government in surrounding villages and protested against what they deemed to be its ‘unwillingness to check the propagation of the Ahmadi religion.’

The government, however, denies that the destruction had anything to do with anti-Ahmadi sentiment in the community. The Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) razed the building on the orders of DCO Lodhran, Ghulam Fareed. More than 60% construction on the double storey building had been completed when it was torn down.

“The construction was not authorised nor was the building’s design approved by TMA which is why we have demolished it,” Fareed told The Express Tribune. “There is no other reason.”

It was declared as a store according to the DCO. Amir, a member of the Ahmadiya community, said they were not even given time to approach the courts. TMA officials said they had failed to follow the legal procedure which prompted the action.

Members of the Ahmadi community said they had protested peacefully before the DCO. This was confirmed by Maqbool Khalid, a journalist. Most of them refuse to come on record due to fear of death threats and live in fear of Ahle-Sunnat wal Jamaat members. They have been living in Adaa Zakheera, Kahroar Pakka, Dunyapur, Lodhran and Qutubpur. They have six places worship in the area.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2011.

Reader Comments (41)

  • Shaesta
    Sep 4, 2011 - 4:51PM

    Religion should be separate from the state.

    Recommend

  • AnisAqeel
    Sep 4, 2011 - 6:58PM

    And we say Islam is a peaceful religion and Pakistan is an Islamic country! Such a distorted Islam may not be suitable anywhere in the world. Ahmadis are most misunderstood sect and don’t harm anyone rather are practicing better Islam even if they are termed as ‘Kafirs’.
    Majority of the molvis and fanatics need to be performing Hajj on Government expense and be sent on a couple of big ships to wash their sins and act on an obligatory duty, that’s the only remedy to save left over Pakistan in one piece.

    Recommend

  • Asif rai khan
    Sep 4, 2011 - 7:21PM

    I totally disagree with shaesta.I would request her to read quran and sunnah carefully .The theory of state being separate from religion was put forward by the christians and u can well see its consequences in the west .Did nt the prophet set up a muslim state in medina and did nt the four rightly guided caliphs follow the same model .We ,muslims ,believe that sovereignty belongs to ALLAH alone and the muslim rulers should rule the masses according to the principles laid down in quran and sunnah .The ahamdis have long ago been decalred kafirs and if they want to worship they are welcome to do it in the four confines of their houses.Majority of pakistanis are muslims and as thus we cannot allow these people to build places of worship openly and mislead the innocent people away from their religion .

    Recommend

  • Alert
    Sep 4, 2011 - 8:45PM

    “Muslim clerics pressurised the district government to take action when they came to know about the new place of worship. They organised processions against the government in surrounding villages and protested against what they deemed to be its ‘unwillingness to check the propagation of the Ahmadi religion.’”

    Anyone see the irony here?

    Recommend

  • Rafiq A. Tschannen
    Sep 4, 2011 - 9:32PM

    The so-called ‘Ahmadi places of worship’ are in fact Mosques of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. It is unfortunate that the international media, which should not be bound to the Marshall Law Ordinance of the late General Zia ul Haq of Pakistan, do not call an Ahmadiyya Mosque and Ahmadiyya Mosque. (Subsequent Presidents of Pakistan were all unable to remove this Marshall Law Ordinance dating back to 1984. Governments have come and gone, but this infamous ordinance continues its existance).

    Recommend

  • Sep 4, 2011 - 9:40PM

    Shameful act of religious fanaticsRecommend

  • Amaar
    Sep 4, 2011 - 10:16PM

    Do you trust the govt officials who are in perpetual fear of mullahs?

    Recommend

  • Kallu Mama
    Sep 4, 2011 - 10:29PM

    @Shaesta:
    mere lip service from the silent masses , registering their presence only on web, why dont you people come to the streets , never heard that in Pakistan 100 people took out a morcha for separating religion from state

    wake up before iit is tooo late

    Recommend

  • Sep 4, 2011 - 11:31PM

    Such sad and painful events make our head hang in shame. This sort of religious persecution,spreading hatred against Ahmadis and inciting their killing is, in fact, given legal cover, through the 2nd amendment in the constitution, something never happened anywhere, any-time in human history. Hence such demolitions and their killing continues,as one more Ahmadi is killed on Sept.4,in Faisalabad, where two Ahmadi cloth-merchants were put to death only last month.And it was here only last month that printed appeals were circulated(with cell phone numbers)in which majority was incited to kill prominent members of the Ahmadiyya community. All these insane, inhuman anti-social criminal sort of ‘doings’are being carreid out openly and in the full knowledge of local, provincial and national level of administration. But alas, no one shows even slightest interest in these requests and appeals from Ahmadis.

    Recommend

  • Lone Star
    Sep 5, 2011 - 12:20AM

    I think ‘Pakistani Islam’ doesn’t give any rights to any minorities. Unfortunately we don’t have a single leader who could challenge these fanatics who are ruining this country in the name of Islam, which is supposedly a peaceful religion.

    Recommend

  • T R Khan
    Sep 5, 2011 - 12:41AM

    Natural population growth of Ahmadis requires new mosques. This is not propagation, why can’t the majority see this?

    Recommend

  • Sadia
    Sep 5, 2011 - 1:01AM

    It’s very sad

    Recommend

  • rehm
    Sep 5, 2011 - 2:08AM

    @Asif rai khan:
    “The ahamdis have long ago been decalred kafirs and if they want to worship they are welcome to do it in the four confines of their houses.Majority of pakistanis are muslims and as thus we cannot allow these people to build places of worship openly and mislead the innocent people away from their religion.”

    So by this logic they should not allow any mosques to be built in non-Muslim majority countries. Any Muslims should pray within the 4 corners of their homes in India, USA, UK etc.? What a flawed logic? Even if you refuse to recognize their place of worship as mosques – at least let them pray in peace. How does their prayer harm anyone else?

    Recommend

  • MS - Mariya
    Sep 5, 2011 - 2:38AM

    When..what time is the protest against the evil clerics who tore down the building? Come out on streets before its too late.

    Recommend

  • lord garth
    Sep 5, 2011 - 3:21AM

    The problem is that in Pakistan, the govt does have a major role in religion (and religion has a role in the govt)

    the 2nd amendment to the Pakistan constitution (1974) says,

    “A person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of The Prophethood of MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), the last of the Prophets or claims to be a Prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), or recognizes such a claimant as a Prophet or religious reformer, is not a Muslim for the purposes of the Constitution or law.”

    Thus, in Pakistan, an Ahmadi mosque is not a mosque

    this is the kind of constitution that reinforces a culture of intimidation, discrimination, corruption and violence.

    Recommend

  • Stupid Alert
    Sep 5, 2011 - 5:29AM

    @Asif rai khan: I dont usually go out of my way to post a comment on these articles but I must say, everything you said was so STUPID, that I feel sorry for anyone who actually read your entire comment.

    Recommend

  • T Khan
    Sep 5, 2011 - 8:05AM

    @Asif rai khan:
    Why is it that the Islam that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) brought to the world and which historically spread because of its beauty and peaceful nature has become so fragile in the Muslim world of today that an Ahmadi’s prayers in his own masjid can shake it from its core and make the ‘true Muslims’ turn towards the faith of a ‘declared non Muslims’???
    Why is it that the Islam of the ‘true Muslims’ of today is being seen by the world as the religion of terror and extremism with no relation to peace???
    These matters of religion and faith, sir, rest with Allah not the Mullah.
    If the faith and beliefs of the Muslims today can be and are shaken by the faith of peaceful Ahmadies then may be, may be Muslims need to have another look at themselves and the Ahmadies.Recommend

  • b
    Sep 5, 2011 - 8:38AM

    i think you mean ‘mosque’

    Recommend

  • Sep 5, 2011 - 9:54AM

    @Asif rai khan:

    When Ground Zero mosque was criticized in USA, these Asif kind of people termed it as “murder of justice” and “discrimination against Islam” and look at his logic here in case of Ahamddiya Community!

    USA and West has Christians and they don’t believe in prophet (SAW) so should West put an embargo over the construction of mosques in its territory? There you want all rights to be given to Muslim and here in your own countries you are not even ready to give the right to live to other communities!!!

    I strongly protest the terror-sponsoring statement of Asif Rai and his circular and stupid logic!Recommend

  • Aslam Mahaboob
    Sep 5, 2011 - 10:05AM

    @Asif rai khan: Thank you for being very frank about your opinion. But you seem to have forgotten our Quaid-i-Azam message ” You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. “

    Recommend

  • MAD
    Sep 5, 2011 - 10:45AM

    “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

    (Quaid-e-Azam’s Speech August 11 1947)

    I am not an Ahmedi and neither do I have any particular fondness for them. I too question their claim of being Muslims but the above words of our founding father are binding on us all. There rights must be respected.

    Recommend

  • KolachiMom
    Sep 5, 2011 - 11:13AM

    Why even publish this story if the publication doesn’t have the guts to call it a mosque in the title? Really ET? How disappointing.

    Recommend

  • Naveed
    Sep 5, 2011 - 11:26AM

    the comments on this news article strongly suggests that the literate masses have finally decided to move away from the rigid and extreme stance of the religious fanatics. hopefully in a decade or so we would be enlightened enough to transform into a better and a more secular society. people like Asif needs to be snubbed at all forums. non-Muslims always had the freedom to build their worship places synagogues or churches in a Muslim society. Recommend

  • Syed Ali
    Sep 5, 2011 - 12:20PM

    The news item is titled wrong. Its not demolishment of ” Ahmadi” place of worship, an impression that Owais Raza of ET has tried to create. It does mention that place of worship was illegal and was not approved for religious service. Then wahts the cry? Its like a driver who gets caught on highway by the cop for driving at 75 miles per hour and objects why he has been caught while others are driving at 80 miles per hour. Wake up ET. Every body knows that you get money from US and have sympathetic view of Qadinis/Ahmadis. Shame on your bias. Will not be surprised if these comments are not published.

    Recommend

  • Atts
    Sep 5, 2011 - 1:26PM

    @Kallu Mama: allow me to quote your words back to you “mere lip service from the silent masses, registering their presence only on web” if they were silent they would not be on the web also
    & apparently you have never heard of the power of web/social media….. how will you hear/read that in Pakistan 100 people took out a morcha for separating religion from state…. you go out on the streets & check out ‘instead of criticising someone else i.e

    Recommend

  • Sep 5, 2011 - 1:34PM

    Dear Human Beings!

    SOS CALL for Pakistan Ahmadiyyah Musliam Community from WORLD COMMUNITY……..

    Are we leaving in the society of human beings ?
    O GOD! PLSSSSS SAVE our innocent community. We are feeling extreme danger of lives and totally helpless.The crucial incident of murder of innocent Nasim sb is the murder of humanity and justice.

    May Allah bless his SOUL.

    Recommend

  • woohoo
    Sep 5, 2011 - 1:40PM

    @Asif rai khan:
    You are the Lion of Pakistan. Bravo!!

    Recommend

  • R.A
    Sep 5, 2011 - 1:51PM

    Place of worship or a Mosque
    It was being built to worship Allah
    To demolish a place of worship
    IS UN ISLAMIC
    Recommend

  • Naveed Malik
    Sep 5, 2011 - 2:26PM

    Corruption. Natural Disasters. Electricity Crisis. Inflation. Illiteracy. Extremism. Kidnapping. Health Crisis. Population Explosion. Dishonesty. Brain Drain. Water Shortage. And so much more… And all the people of that village could see were a few under-construction rooms for the purpose of worship? Truly, a lot of citizens of this ‘Land of the Pure” have properly become “Summun Bukmun Umyun” as mentioned in the Quran.

    May Allah give everyone the strength of tolerance. Ameen

    Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Sep 5, 2011 - 5:18PM

    @MAD:
    The bottom line is that its no longer Jinnah’s but Zia’s Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • woohoo
    Sep 5, 2011 - 6:19PM

    Islam is a religion of peace and that’s it no arguments.
    On a different note, I too am a peaceful person myself. It’s just that I will find peace only when all those disagree with me are forced to agree with my opinion/dead/maimed/enslaved/held for ransom etc. and other colorful deeds of peace are done.

    Recommend

  • Arjun
    Sep 5, 2011 - 8:52PM

    Ahmedi Muslims are free to come to India where they can practice their faith as equal citizens of India. We have many persecuted communities from all over the world: Zoroastrians from Iran, Tibetan Buddhists, and we also have lots of Islamic sects like the Ismailis, Bohras etc. The ahmedis seem like peaceful productive people and we welcome them to our secular country to help make it our shared heaven on earth.

    Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    Sep 6, 2011 - 1:14AM

    @Arjun

    That was a different era, when we had resources.

    While my sympathies and moral support is always with the Shia/Ahmadi/Xian/Hindu community of Pakistan, they are not welcome in India for two reasons.

    1) We don’t have superfluous resources in this country.

    2) We (and others) must fight for their rights in their homeland. Let’s not make them refugees, like we have made Kashmiri Pandits in their own home.

    Recommend

  • MAD
    Sep 6, 2011 - 10:49AM

    @R S JOHAR:

    Why do we always blame ZIa for everything. Who declared Ahmedi’s Muslim, shifted the weekly holiday to Friday and banned Alcohol (a ban im absolutely fine with if imposed properly). It wasnt Zia but your great kliberal leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who did all this. Zia was just an inevitable outcome of a rather dangerous game which was started by ZAB and he ended up being consumed by it himself.

    Yes Zia deserves blame for dragging the country into a needless war, filling it up with heroin and weapons and of course promoting a version of Islam tailored to suit Jihadi elements (that to on behalf of Americans who back then used to glorify the Mujahideen in movies, novels and on TV).

    Recommend

  • Danayal
    Sep 6, 2011 - 6:27PM

    @Syed Ali.
    You seem to be living in a fool’s paradise. Don’t you know that when minorities are persecuted all sorts of excuses are made to justify those persecutions? Atrocities on Palestinians, Kashmiris, Chechens etc are all committed under the garb of one flimsy excuse or another. So why would it be any different for Ahmadis? When the insane tehsil guy says that the building was destroyed because it was illegal you readily believe him. Then why don’t you believe the Jew who commits atrocities on innocent Palestinians because he says they are terrorists? Your blood boils when you hear about those atrocities but not when an innocent Ahmady is killed or when their place if worship gets demolished in your own backyard. Is that your sense of justice? Shame on YOU!Recommend

  • H Javed
    Sep 8, 2011 - 8:52AM

    Oh, so the Ahmadi mosque’s “design wasn’t approved”? Wtf! What about the hundreds of sunni mosques that pop up at every corner without any architecture or approval? They are illegal too! This is sheer discrimination of Ahmadi MUSLIMS.

    Recommend

  • sanjithmenon
    Sep 11, 2011 - 2:07PM

    I think one of these days Pakistanis should read the The Haj, written by Leon Uris.

    Recommend

  • wazir
    Oct 8, 2011 - 11:07PM

    All this harassment of Qadianis is unfortunate, but the online hug-a-Mirzai don’t address this very simple point: the majority distrust them because by the most empirical definition as accepted for centuries before their founder declared prophet-hood, they are not Muslim, yet they insist that they are the only true Muslims, whilst the rest of us are Kafir. They conceal their true identities and in every occasion, attempt to mislead the simple. They would not have been so distrusted if they didn’t go to such lengths to misrepresent themselves.
    There are plenty of other reasons of concern , but this by far the most central.Recommend

  • Danayal
    Oct 9, 2011 - 7:49PM

    @wazir. You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. There is no ‘empirical definition (sic) accepted for centuries’ which supports the conventional views on the all important subject of Prophethood. Do you know that the likes of Shah Wali Ullah, Hazrat Ibne Arabi, Hazrat Imam Raghib, Hazrat Mullah Ali Qari, Maulana Qasim Deobandi and others have all said the same thing about the institution of Prophethood as Ahmadis today espouse: that there cannot be advent of any law-bearing Prophet after Hazrat Muhammad (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); that there could be no Prophethood outside the ambit of Huzoor’s (SAW) total and complete obedience; and that a non law bearing Prophet, one who is totally subservient to the law brought about by Huzoor (SAW) and is completely obedient to all he commanded can indeed rise from within the Ummah. The same can be proved from Quran and Hadith. But you would obviously not care to read Quran, Hadith or what previous Islamic scholars have written about this all important issue and readily accept what the present day mullah would have you believe!

    It is also not true that Ahmadis believe that they are Muslims while all others are non-Muslims: you obviously talk to the mullahs too much! Ahmadis believe that anyone who reads the Kalima, There is no God but Allah and Muhammad ( may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is his messenger, is a Muslim. Apostacising believers is the hallmark of the mullah and mullah alone!

    Recommend

  • mussarat
    Oct 13, 2011 - 2:22AM

    @Amaar:

    Govt officials are pack of lies.

    Mussarat

    Recommend

  • Mufazzil
    Oct 25, 2011 - 6:05PM

    The Hindu community in the Sindh and Baluchistan province, the christian community in the Punjab province and Sikhs in KPK province are living freely, they are enjoying the equal freedom as one Muslim in Pakistan is enjoying. Why does the problem always arises with this sect (Qadiyanis)?? Btw i am living in Sindh, so up till now i have never witnessed any dispute between hindu and muslim over religious problems. I am sure that Ahmadis/Qadiyanis should try searching for a solution within themselves. They are definitely the humans first and should be given equal opportunities, I do believe and for that I would suggest them to stop associating their religious group with Islam.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan