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Pakistani Mob Lynches Grandmother & Two Girls Due to Faith

A Pakistani Muslim mob raging against Ahmadi Muslims, who they view as heretical, set upon an Ahmadi community, killing a grandmother and her two small granddaughters and injuring others.

The incident began with a dispute in which a 22-year old Ahmadi man in the city  of Gujranwala (in Punjab province),was accused of blasphemy because of an image he posted on Facebook.

An argument ensued with the man's Sunni Muslim neighbors while a crowd of about 100 Sunnis gathered. Police who were present were accused of standing by while the mob set fire to homes of the Ahmadis, trapping in one of the houses the 55-year old woman and her two granddaughters, aged seven and eight months.

Six more Ahmadis were taken to the hospital for treatment, with one Ahmadi woman miscarrying because of the incident.

A spokesman for the Ahmadi community, Saleem Uddin, denied that any blasphemy had taken place in the post, calling the charge "completely false."

Local police have made no arrests but say they are investigating.

Uddin said it was the worst outbreak of violence against the group since 86 Ahmadis were murdered four years ago in numerous attacks on Ahmadi places of worship. Since then, Ahmadis in Pakistan and worldwide have been the brunt of much discrimination and violence stemming from mainstream Muslims.

Last May, an American Ahdmadi cardiologist volunteering at a hospital in Pakistan was shot and killed shortly after his after his arrival. 

The Ahmadi community has long been regarded as heretical by mainstream Islamic scholars. Founded in 1889, it is an offshoot of Sunni Islam. Ahmadis believe that their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, is the messiah.

There are around 10 million Ahmaddiya Muslims worldwide, of which an estimated 4-5 million live in Pakistan. As of 1974, Pakistan passed a constitutional amendment declaring that the Ahmadis were not Muslims. In 1980, it became illegal for Ahmadis to proselytize or even call themselves Muslims. 

Most recently, in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, the supreme court rejected an appeal to allow Ahmadis to officially register with the state as a religion, which means they cannot gather in an organized fashion to pray.

Asel Bayastanova, the defense lawyer for the community commented, saying that they "may in theory, under the Constitution, unofficially gather in private places for worship." However, she added, "But the authorities may well punish them if they find Ahmadis meeting together for religious activity."

One Ahmadi, who requested to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals said the ruling "is equal to banning us in Kyrgyzstan."