Persecution of Ahmadis

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Ahmadi Muslims have been subject to various forms of religious persecution and discrimination since the movement's inception in 1889. The Ahmadiyya stream of Islam emerged from the Sunni tradition of Islam and its adherents believe in all the five pillars and articles of faith required of Muslims.[1] Ahmadis are considered non-Muslims by the mainstream Muslims since they consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of Ahmadiyya, as the promised Mahdi and Messiah. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be the Mujaddid (divine reformer) of the 14th Islamic century, the promised Messiah and Mahdi awaited by Muslims.[2][3][4][5] These claims are rejected by mainstream Muslims.

The Ahmadis are active translators of the Qur'an and proselytizers for the faith; converts to Islam in many parts of the world first discover Islam through the Ahmadis. However, in a number of Islamic countries, especially Sunni-dominated nations, Ahmadis have been considered heretics and non-Muslim, and subjected to persecution and systematic oppression.[5][6] Ahmadis are declared as non-Muslims and further deprived of religious rights in the Second Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan and Ordinance XX. Hundreds of Ahmadis were killed in 1953 Lahore riots, 1974 Anti-Ahmadiyya riots and May 2010 attacks on Ahmadi mosques in Lahore. 1974 riots were the largest killings of Ahmadis.


For the five million Ahmadis,[7][8] religious persecution has been particularly severe and systematic in Pakistan, which is the only state to have officially declared that Ahmadis are non-Muslims.[9] Pakistani laws prohibit the Ahmadis from identifying themselves as Muslims, and their freedom of religion has been curtailed by a series of ordinances, Acts and constitutional amendments.[10] When applying for a Pakistani passport, Pakistanis are required to declare that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was an impostor prophet and his followers are non-Muslims.[11]

As a result, persecution and hate-related incidents are regularly reported from different parts of the country. Ahmadis have been the target of many violent attacks by various religious groups in Pakistan.[12] Madrasahs of all sects of Islam in Pakistan prescribe reading materials for their students specifically targeted at refuting Ahmadiyya beliefs.[13]

As a result of the cultural implications of the laws and constitutional amendments regarding Ahmadis in Pakistan, persecution and hate-related incidents are regularly reported from different parts of the country. Ahmadis have been the target of many attacks led by various religious groups.[14] All religious seminaries and madrasahs in Pakistan, belonging to different sects of Islam, have prescribed essential reading materials specifically targeted at refuting Ahmadiyya beliefs.[15]

In a recent survey, students from many private schools of Pakistan expressed their opinions on religious tolerance in the country. The figures assembled in the study reflect that even among the educated classes of Pakistan, Ahmadis are considered the least deserving minority in terms of equal opportunities and civil rights.The teachers from these elite schools showed lower levels of tolerance towards Ahmadis than their pupils.[16]

Another example is Abdus Salam, the only recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics who identified as a Muslim. For his mere allegiance to the Ahmadiyya sect, he had been ignored and excommunicated. There are no monuments or universities named after him. The word "Muslim" has been erased from his grave stone.[17]


Main article: Lahore riots of 1953

In 1953 at the instigation of religious parties, anti-Ahmadiyya riots erupted in Pakistan, killing scores of Ahmadi Muslims and destroying their properties. There was severe agitations against the Ahmadis, including street protests, political rallies, and inflammatory articles. These agitations led to 200 Ahmadi deaths. Consequently, Governor-General Ghulam Muhammad implemented martial law and dismissed Pakistan's Federal Cabinet.[18]

1974 riots and constitutional amendment

In 1974, a violent campaign, led mainly by the Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam and Jamaat-e-Islami, began against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan, on the pretext of a clash between Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis at the railway station of Rabwah. This campaign resulted in several Ahmadi casualties and destruction of Ahmadiyya property, including the desecration of mosques and graves.

As a result of pressure from this agitation, legislation and constitutional changes were enacted to criminalise the religious practises of Ahmadis by preventing them from claiming they are Muslim or from "behaving" as Muslims. These changes primarily came about due to the pressure of the Saudi King at the time, King Faisal bin As-Saud, according to Dr Mubashar Hassan, Prime Minister Bhutto's close confidant at the time. Pakistan's parliament adopted a law that declares Ahmadis non-Muslims. The country's constitution was amended to define a Muslim " a person who believes in the finality of the Prophet Muhammad."[19][20]

Ordinance XX of 1984

Main article: Ordinance XX

On 26 April 1984, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the President of Pakistan, issued the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX,[21] which effectively prohibited Ahmadis from preaching or professing their beliefs.[22][23][24] The ordinance, which was supposed to prevent "anti-Islamic activities", forbids Ahmadis to call themselves Muslim or to "pose as Muslims." This means that they are not allowed to profess the Islamic creed publicly or call their places of worship mosques. Ahmadis in Pakistan are also barred by law from worshipping in non-Ahmadi mosques or public prayer rooms, performing the Muslim call to prayer, using the traditional Islamic greeting in public, publicly quoting from the Qur'an, preaching in public, seeking converts, or producing, publishing, and disseminating their religious materials. These acts are punishable by imprisonment of up to three years.[25] Ordinance XX and the 1974 amendment to the constitution effectively gave the state the exclusive right to determine the meaning of the term "Muslim" within Pakistan.

Many Ahmadis were arrested within days of the promulgation of this ordinance, and it gave way for widespread sanctioned as well as non-sanctioned persecution.

In 1986 it was supplemented by a new blasphemy provision[26] also applied to Ahmadis.[27]

Shab Qadar incident

The Shab Qadar incident was a public stoning of two members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the town of Shab Qadar, in the North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan in April 1995.[28] Dr. Rashid Ahmad and his son-in law, Riaz Ahmad Khan, were attacked as they were about to attend a court hearing in Shab Qadar. As they entered the court premises, a violent mob incited by local clerics attacked the men with sticks and stones. Riaz Khan was stoned to death and his dead body stripped and dragged through the town on a rope. Dr. Rashid Ahmad was taken to a hospital in Peshawar with serious injuries. A third Ahmadi, advocate Bashir Ahmad, escaped unhurt.[29] This murder took place in front of the police. Riaz Khan even asked a police officer for help, but instead of helping, the officer pushed him away.[30] According to Amnesty International, the police "stood and watched," and "...later pleaded that they could not have intervened in a situation like that." No one was detained or criminally charged for the killing.

The victims—senior Ahmadiyya community members from Peshawar—had come from the provincial capital to file a bail application for another Ahmadi Muslim, Daulat Khan. Daulat Khan had been harassed following his conversion to the sect. Local Muslim clergy reportedly called for his death. Daulat Khan had been arrested and imprisoned on 5 April 1995 under sections 107 (abetment) and 151 (disturbing the peace by joining in unlawful assembly) of the Penal Code. After the lynching of Rashid Ahmad and Riaz Ahmad Khan, Daulat Khan remained in custody and was further charged with posing as a Muslim and preaching Ahmadiyyat (section 298 C of the Penal Code) and insulting the religious sentiments of Muslims (section 295 A).[28]

Urdu novelist Mustansar Hussain Tarar made a reference to this event in his novel Raakh ("Ashes").[citation needed]


On 30 October 2000, gunmen opened fire at an Ahmadiyya prayer meeting in the Pakistani province of Punjab, killing at least five worshippers and wounding another seven.[31]


On 7 October 2005, masked gunmen with Kalashnikov rifles stormed a mosque belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in a village called Mong in District Mandi Bahauddin, shooting dead eight people and wounding 14.[32]


Two prominent members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community were murdered on 8 and 9 September 2008 after a program by Aammir Liaquat Hussein provoking people to kill Ahmadis was aired on a prominent Pakistani television channel Geo TV a day earlier on 7 September.[33][34]


During the year 2009, eleven Ahmadis were killed, while numerous others became victims of attempted killings, according to a report titled "Persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan during the year 2009" published by Nazarat Umoor-e-Aama Sadr Anjuman Ahmadia Pakistan. The report claimed that the actions of "Ahmadi opponents" had been encouraged largely by the prejudiced attitude of the authorities, and alleged that the federal government had been in denial of the human rights and religious freedom of the Ahmadis, especially the governments of Punjab and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.[35]



Around 10 pm on 1 April 2010, three Ahmadis were returning home in their vehicle from their jewellery and cloth shops situated in Rail Bazaar in Faisalabad. As their car approached the Canal Road near Faisal Hospital, four or five unidentified militants in a white car ambushed them. The three Ahmadis were seriously injured when the men opened fire at them. The attackers managed to flee from the scene. The three men died before they reached the hospital.[36]

May Lahore attacks

On 28 May 2010, two mosques in Lahore belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community were attacked by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan Punjab Wing (Punjabi Taliban). The attacks were carried out nearly simultaneously at Mosque Darul Al Zikr, Garhi Shahu and Mosque Bait Al Noor Lahore Model Town, 15 km apart. More than 90 people were killed and 108 were injured in the incident. One attacker was killed; another was captured by worshipers.[37] Three days later militants attacked the Intensive Care Unit of Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital, where victims and one of the alleged attackers were under treatment. Twelve people, mostly police officers and hospital staff, were killed in the shootout. The assailants escaped.[38] The Pakistani government did nothing to prevent this; as of yet they have not set up protection for Ahamdis.[39] As of May 28, 2013 the two attackers captured had not been prosecuted, but early in 2015 courts took up the case and proceeded with sentencing.[37][40][41]

On 31 May 2010, an Ahmadi was stabbed to death and his son seriously injured when an activist climbed the wall of their house with a dagger and attacked them. The son later died in hospital from serious wounds. The attacker escaped. Residents say that the assailant threatened to not leave any Ahmadi alive after having found motivation to kill them through a sermon given by a local fanatical sunni cleric.[42]


On 7 September 2011, the mainstream Urdu newspaper Daily Jang published a special edition against Ahmadis.[43]

Throughout the year, Ahmadi students and teachers in the Pakistan's Punjab province have been systematically persecuted by schools and universities. The harassment has included social boycott, expulsions, threats and violence by students, teachers and principals of the Muslim majority sect.[44]

In education

Ahmadi students faced discrimination in Pakistan in 2011 because of their faith.[44]


In Faisalabad, Quranic verses were removed from Ahmadi graves by the police.[45]

December 3, 2012, In Lahore over 100 tombstones at an Ahmadiyya graveyard in Lahore were desecrated in the wee hours of Monday by masked gunmen, who specifically targeted graves with Islamic inscriptions. They proclaimed themselves members of a banned organisation, and said the Ahmadiyyas had no right to use Quranic verses on their gravestones, as they "are not Muslims."[46][47] The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) condemned the destruction of over 100 tombstones at an Ahmadi graveyard on Monday and demanded the arrests of those responsible.[48]

Anti-Ahmadiyys sentiment in media

Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic extremism existed in the Pakistani media, causing them to start a hate campaign against Ahmadis.[49]


January 7, 2013: Four Ahmadi employees of Black Arrow Printing Press accused of publishing allegedly blasphemous books, were arrested as they loaded a small truck with thousands of books and CDs.[50] On February 13, an additional district and sessions judge on Tuesday rejected an application for after-arrest bail by four men accused of publishing allegedly blasphemous books about the Ahmadi faith.

March 26, 2013: Local clerics attacked a house belonging to an Ahmadi family in the Shamsabad, a village of Kasur district of Punjab on Tuesday and subjected the family members to violence allegedly over their religious belief.[51] The five members of Mansoor’s family tried to take refuge in a room but the mob broke into the room as well. Mansoor was severely tortured, after which he lost consciousness, while his wife and his 70-year-old uncle were also beaten. Police personnel were reportedly present at the spot but took no action against the mob.[51]

International Human Rights Commission Punjab Director General Munawar Ali Shahid said, “Several people here have told me that the Ahmadis had been socially boycotted for long. Police have taken no action to stop violence against them,” [52]

April 30, 2013: In Lahore, Gulshan-i-Ravi police arrested seven members of the Ahmadi community on Monday without an FIR, after close to 300 people protested in front of what was described as a place of worship of the community. A woman and her 10-year-old son were also arrested No, although no female members of the police accompanied them.[53]

May 8, 2013: Members of the Khatm-e-Nabuwat Lawyers Forum (KNLF) (anti-Ahmadi activists) and police dragged five members of the Ahmadi community from an anti-terrorist court to a police station and detained them for several hours.[54]


May 2014: American-Canadian Doctor Mehdi Ali Qamar, was gunned down while visiting Punjab, Pakistan to help train local doctors.[55][56] 100 Ahmadiyas took refuge in China after their lives were in danger in Pakistan.[57]

  • Three members of the same family including one woman and two minors were killed and nine other people were injured when an angry mob set a house on fire in Arafat Colony, Gujranwala.[58]

Persecution of Ahmadi students

Ahmadi students has faced extremist persecutions because of their faith in most popular universities and colleges of Pakistan including University of Sargodha.[59]

Other countries


In Bangladesh, Ahmadis have been targeted by various protests and acts of violence, and fundamentalist Islamic groups have demanded that Ahmadis be officially declared kafirs (infidels).[60] Some adherents of Ahmadiyya have been subject to "house arrest" and several have been killed. In late 2003 several large, violent marches, led by Moulana Moahmud Hossain Mumtazi, were directed to occupy an Ahmadi mosque. In 2004, all Ahmadiyya publications were banned.[61]


There has been a recent rise of persecution of Ahmadis in Egypt. In March 2010, nine Ahmadis were detained for allegedly insulting Islam.[62]

Saudi Arabia

Ahmadis are persecuted in Saudi Arabia on an ongoing basis. Although there are many foreign workers and Saudi citizens belonging to the Ahmadiyya sect in Saudi Arabia,[63][64][65][66] Ahmadis are officially banned from entering the country and from performing the Hajj to Mecca.[67][68][69]


In India, Ahmadis are Muslims by law. This is supported by a verdict from the Kerala High Court on 8 December 1970 in the case of Shihabuddin Imbichi Koya Thangal vs K.P. Ahammed Koya, citation A.I.R. 1971 Ker 206.[9] In this landmark ruling, the court determined that Ahmadis are Muslims and that they cannot be declared apostates by other Muslim sects because they hold true to the two fundamental beliefs of Islam: that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad was a servant and messenger of God.[70]

While Ahmadis are considered Muslims by law and there are no legal restrictions on their religious activities,[9] they are not permitted by fellow Muslims of other sects to sit on the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, a body of religious leaders that the Indian government recognises as representative of Indian Muslims.[71]


Ahmadis were denied permission to meet in Hyderabad because of the protests from the Islamic groups.[72][73][74] On 19 August 2008 Islamic cleric named Maulvi Habib-ur-Rehman incited hatred for the people in a rally. On the night of 21/22 August 2008, three Ahmadis were attacked. Their properties were damaged. In all, six persons were attacked.[75]


In Chennai, the body of a 36-year-old Ahmadi woman of the community was exhumed and desecrated by "anti-social elements" from a graveyard. at Royapettah on 1 June. Ahmadis alleged the police intervention in this issue. They did a press conference. They told the detailed of the incident and persecution faced by Islamic clerics. Madras High Court has ruled that Ahmadis are Muslims.[76] Muslims led by Shahi Imam Habib-ur-Rehman Sani protested against Jalsa Salana. Muslims all across the state have joined hands in the protests. Indian finance minister Pranab Mukerjee was likely to attend the Jalsa Salana. Muslims damaged his office and blocked the traffic for stopping the annual convention of Ahmadis. Police imposed curfew for three days. Many people were injured and one Sikh died. When the convention was held, the protestors presented ant-Ahamdiyya document to the chief commissioner to be forwarded to Prakash Singh Badal. The protest was organized in all the big mosques of Punjab.[77]


Islamic clerics threatened the Mayawati government to remove mentions of the Ahmadiyya sect from the syllabus.[78]


In Mumbai, Darul Uloom Deoband had asked the Saudi Arabia's government to ban Ahmadis from doing Hajj. The spokesperson said that Ahmadis do not believe in the finality prophethood therefore they cannot do Hajj. They sent a letter to the government. Ahmadi spokesperson said that they are not aware of it.[79] In New Delhi, Ahmadis faced protest at peace mission. They were going to spread the light of Islam and peace through the Quran but they were the protests from the Muslims of India. All India Muslim Personal Law Board's members is also included in it. Ahmadis changed the timings of the convention.Maulana Bukhari and his protestors were detained in a police station for protesting against this.[80][81][82][83][84]


In Hyderabad, an anti-Ahmadiyya mob attacked the mosque and said to stop the prayers. They also threw stones at the mosque.[85]



In 2008, many Muslims in Indonesia protested against the Ahmadiyya movement. With violence and large demonstrations, these religious conservatives put pressure on the government to monitor, and harass the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Indonesia.[86] Public opinion in Indonesia is split in three ways on how Ahmadiyya should be treated: (a) some hold it should be banned outright on the basis that it is a heretical and deviant sect that is not listed as an officially recognised religion in Indonesia; (b) others hold that it should not be banned because of the freedom of religion article in the Constitution, but also should not be allowed to proselytise under the banner of "Islam" on the basis that this is misleading; (c) still others hold that it should be free to do and say as it pleases based on the Constitutional right to freedom of religion.[87] In June 2008, a law was passed to curtail "proselytizing" by Ahmadiyya members.[88][better source needed] An Ahmadiyya mosque was burned.[89] Human rights groups objected to the restrictions on religious freedom.[90] A government decree adopted in 2008 under pressure from Islamic conservatives bans the sect from spreading its faith.[91]


In July 2010, a mob of 200 Indonesians surrounded an Ahmadi mosque in Manislor village in Kuningan district, West Java. The mob pelted the mosque with stones before being dispersed by the police.[92]


On 6 February 2011 three (originally reported as six, and later amended) Ahmadiyya members were killed at Pandeglang, Banten province, in a clash between locals.[93] While the government did instruct police to hunt the killers, it also called on Ahmadiyya to abide by the 2008 decree and stop spreading their belief.[94]

In July 2011 the prosecuting sought sentences of between five to seven months for the defendants, an act that caused outcry by rights activists.[95] The verdict given was between three and six months, slightly lighter than sought. This has trigger criticism from human right defenders and the international community including the US and the EU.[96] In addition, a Cikeusik Ahmadi leader, Deden Darmawan Sudjana, was also sentenced to six months in prison for physical abuse and acts against the state, refusing an order from a police officer who told him to leave the house.[97] A US State Department spokeswoman said they were "disappointed" with the verdict, while an activist of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, called it "the Talibanization of Indonesia".[98]


In April 2009, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council of Malaysia issued a letter that forbade members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community from offering Friday prayers at their central mosque. Moreover, Ahmadis failure to comply with the order would result in imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine up to 3000 Malaysian ringgit. A large notice outside the mosque states Qadiani Bukan Agama Islam, which translates to Qadiani [Ahmadiyyat] is not Islam.[99][100]

United Kingdom

In 2009 a demonstration consisting of mainly Muslims was held in Walsall to prevent Ahmadis acquiring a mosque.[101]

In 2010, in the wake of the May 2010 attacks on two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, Pakistan, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community living in the UK were threatened and intimidated. Certain Muslim groups in South London distributed leaflets asking readers to kill Ahmadis and boycott their businesses, and Ahmadi mosques in Crawley and Newham were vandalised. In October 2010 Ofcom criticised the UK-based Ummah Channel for broadcasting three interactive television programmes before and after the Lahore massacre of Ahmadi Muslims in May 2010, in which religious leaders and callers alike said that Ahmadis should be killed. These programmes were repeated several times. Ofcom stated that the programme's abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of members of the Ahmadiyya community breached UK broadcasting regulations.[102][103]

Nasser Butt, a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for the general election was targeted by a campaign that asked Muslims not to vote for him because of his faith. In the upcoming election, hustings in the Tooting Islamic centre, a Conservative candidate, Mark Clarke, was mistaken for Butt and had to be locked in a room for his safety.[104]


Because Ahmadiyya's are married under what is called the 'Fiqh-Ahmadiyya', which are the civil rules of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan, and because the 'Fiqh-Ahmadiyya' is not recognised in Pakistan, it frequently happens that family reunion visa are not granted on the base that the 'Nikah' (=marriage) is not valid in the country of origin, visas are then given to the minor children, but not to the spouse.[citation needed]

In 2011 the far right party Vlaams Belang organized a demonstration against the projected building of an Ahmadi mosque in the Brussels municipality of Uccle, allegedly out of fear for a "war of religions" between radical Sunnis and Ahmadis in the streets of the municipality.[105] However, it should be noted that this party organizes demonstrations against every projected building of mosques, Ahmadi or not.[citation needed]

In the media

Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International (MTA) has produced four documentaries regarding the persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community over the last century.

  • The Early Years
  • 1953
  • 1974
  • 1984 – present (2008)

Anti-Ahmadiyya parties

Political groups associated with the persecution of the Ahmadis include the Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam, Khatme Nabuwwat movement[106] (Majlis-e-Tahaffuz-e-Khatme Nabuwwat, Pasban Khatme Nabuwwat, Tanzeem-e-Islami and Tehreek-e-Khatme Nabuwwat), Jamaat-e-Islami, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan[107]

United Kingdom

Ummah Channel, broadcast three interactive programs against Ahmadis in the wake of Lahore massacre[102][103][108] Ofcom criticized Ummah Channel for doing this.

Leaders of groups associated with the persecution of Ahmadis

Discrimination and pejorative terms by Muslims


Qadiani and Mirzai are the pejorative terms used by non-Ahmadi Muslims from the Indian subcontinent.

See also


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  2. Naeem Osman Memon (1994). An Enemy a Disbeliever a Liar, Claims of Hadhrat Ahmad. Islam International Publications. ISBN 1-85372-552-8. 
  3. B.A Rafiq (1978). Truth about Ahmadiyyat, Reflection of all the Prophets. London Mosque. ISBN 0-85525-013-5. 
  4. Mirza Tahir Ahmad (1998). Revelation Rationality Knowledge and Truth, Future of Revelation. Islam International Publications. ISBN 1-85372-640-0. 
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    "Eight die in Pakistan sect attack", BBC News
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  13. Rahman, Tariq. "Denizens of Alien Worlds: A Survey of the Education System of Pakistan". Contemporary South Asia, 2004. p. 15.
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  20. Cf. Abdur Rahman Mobashir vs. Syed Amir Ali Shah Bokhari, PLD 1978 Lahore 113
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