A procession of approximately 2,000 Sunni Muslims descended onto an Ahmadi mosque yesterday in Pakistan, firing weapons at worshippers and hurling bricks, reported Reuters. The attack took place in the Punjab province. The mob was able to wound several people before the police dispersed the crowd, which they had been unable to prevent from reaching and attacking the mosque.
“Police tried its best to stop the attackers but failed because of slim deployment,” Malik Nawaz, the highest ranking police officer in the Choa Saiden Shah area told Reuters. “Later, high officials reached the spot with more troops and chased out the occupants.”
A spokesman for the Ahmadi community, Amer Mahmood, told reporters the mob had been fired up by clerics who said the Ahjmadi community should not be allowed to worship on the prophet’s birthday.
The Ahmadis are regarded as heretical by mainstream strands of Islam, due to their belief that their founder, the 19th century preacher Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, is the second coming of Jesus Christ and a prophet. This is considered by orthodox Muslims as a direct violation of the foundational Islamic belief that Mohammed was the last of the prophets.
In 1974, this foundational belief was codified into Pakistani law and Ahamadis were prohibited from calling themselves Muslims. The Ahmadiyya dispute this and regard themselves as Muslims.
As a result of their beliefs, the Ahmadiyya are routinely persecuted in Pakistan.
Whether or not Ahmadis are authentically Muslim or are a heretical offshoot is completely irrelevant. Persecution and violence against a religious minority is unacceptable. Those who support freedom of religion for Muslims around the world must support the rights of Ahmadis to live in peace without persecution for their beliefs.