Pakistan fails to protect Ahmadiyya Muslim Community over alleged blasphemy

Press Release for Immediate Use: 

A mosque belonging to Ahmadis was attacked and torched by angry protestors in Jhelum, hours after a Ahmadiyya owned factory was torched over alleged blasphemy.

  Global Minorities Alliance urges Pakistan government to ‘step up’ its effort to protect lives and properties of Ahmadiyya Muslim community who are often subject to persecution, harassment and victims of violence because of their faith.

The call was made after the reports made available to GMA that a chip board factory, owned by an Ahmadi, was set on fire in Jhelum. Chip board was being manufactured in the factory when some miscreant reportedly informed the local cleric that copies of Holy Quran had been delivered to the furnace. Thereafter, without any further enquiry, announcements were made on loudspeakers in mosques that Holy Quran had been desecrated in Ahmadis’ chip board factory.

A violent mob was formed through these provocative announcements, which surrounded the factory, pelted stones, caused damage and then set the factory on fire by the use of inflammable material. Law enforcement personnel arrived at the scene and rescued the people trapped in the factory. The fire has destroyed 70% of the factory while 8 vehicles parked inside were also severely damaged.

The spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya community expressed great anguish over this incident and said that a deliberate attempt had been made to burn Ahmadis alive by torching the factory under a plan. Someone pushed the vicious allegation of blasphemy for personal vendetta and animosity.

Last year on July 27, 2014 during Ramzan in Gujranwala three Ahmadi females were burnt alive by an enraged mob over baseless allegation of blasphemy of the Holy Ka‘ba. Subsequent investigations proved the allegation entirely false and a result of personal animosity. He said, “Every Ahmadi is mindful of the Sha‘air of Allah more than his life as they are part of his faith. We have been taught that, ‘those who honour the Quran are honoured in the heavens’.

According to the National Action Plan a ban on hateful speeches is little more than paperwork, as extremist elements are free to implement their hateful anti-Ahmadiyya agenda, he said. He demanded transparent investigation of the incident and swift action to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Global Minorities Alliance Director for Interfaith and Harmony, Mr Shahzad Khan said: ‘Pakistan government must take strict measures to stop hate speech propaganda by clerics who whip up hatred against members of other faiths, instead they must act to promote peace and understanding’.

Global Minorities Alliance in its recent meeting with All Party Parliamentary Group UK on International religious freedom and belief in London, described persecutory events as a ‘state failure’ which is unable to stop on-going violence against all minorities in Pakistan.

End

Correction: The mosque was attacked in Jhelum not in Lahore as previously stated. We apologise for the mistake.

Fringe Festival 2015: Scottish human rights organisation defends freedom of religion and expression

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Edinburgh: A Glasgow based human rights organisation, Global Minorities Alliance (GMA) was invited to participate in a discussion panel during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015. The programme addressed the question “Are there limits when it comes to religion and free speech?” and was hosted by the Edinburgh Interfaith Association which promotes respect and understanding among all faiths in Edinburgh and across the world.

The event was organised as a response to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in France earlier this year, to discuss and debate the global issues of religious freedom and free expression.

The panel consisted of Shahid Khan, a journalist from Pakistan, Fadel Soliman, an Imam from Egypt, and Thiago Alves Pinto, a legal expert from Brazil, who shared their thoughts about religion and freedom expression in the contemporary world.  Continue reading

Pakistan must end Aasia Bibi’s ordeal

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Aasia Bibi, a mother of five accused of blasphemy, will have her last chance of a court appeal hearing on the 22nd July 2015. The poor Christian mother was implicated in Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws after she had an argument with her Muslim co-workers in June, 2009. 

Global Minorities Alliance (GMA), a Glasgow based organisation which fights for persecuted minorities, is calling on Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, to ensure a safe passage and rule of law to the poor mother. She has been on the verge of death due to medical conditions.

Imprisoned mother and wife Aasia Bibi has been languishing in prison since 2009 in solitary confinement which has had a considerable effect on her health.  She is reported to have internal bleeding and is ‘spewing blood’ due to poor health conditions.  In Pakistan, those accused of blasphemy are often poisoned, beaten and sometimes killed by fellow inmates or even by radicalised policemen who feel its their ‘obligation’ to kill those accused of blasphemy.

It is also believed that a bounty has been placed on her head by radical Muslims who believe that Aasia Bibi should be killed even if she is released by the court. The price on Bibi’s head, even though it may be as low as £60, poses an additional threat to her and her family. 

 In a message of support and solidarity, Fareed Ahmad, National Secretary of External Affairs of Ahmadiyya Muslim community UK told Global Minorities Alliance: 

“It is deeply distressing that Aasia Bibi has been on death row in Pakistan for nearly 6 years due to charges of blasphemy. The founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a passionate advocate for freedom of religion and it is shocking to see how far the country has moved away from such noble principles.”

Commenting on the blasphemy laws, which are instruments of persecution for all minorities, Mr Ahmad said:

 “The blasphemy laws are a blot on Pakistan’s landscape and are simply used to settle personal disputes. The blasphemy laws have no basis in Islam and should be repealed. Islam promotes freedom in matters of faith and we pray that Aasia Bibi is granted clemency and released. We also pray that all Christians in Pakistan are granted full freedom to practise their faith and live in complete peace.”

 Manassi Bernard, Global Minorities Alliance Chief Executive, said:

“It is appalling how drinking a glass of water and the argument which ensued could result in solitary confinement for six years with death threats from within the prisons and from the outside world. Aasia Bibi has become an embodiment of persecution and oppression and she should be given safe passage and rule of law.”

“Aasia bibi is an embodiment of determination, faith and courage in the face of persecution. We urge Pakistan’s government to end the misery and persecution of this poor mother, Aasia Bibi, and ensure a safe passage to security so that she can re-start her life with her family without fear and death threats.”

See Global Minorities Alliance full song in support and solidarity with Aasia Bibi written, composed and sung by GMA’s members https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kHtmsPgGik

Free Aasia Bibi Song
Members of Global Minorities Alliance wrote, composed and sang this song in support and solidarity of poor mother of five on death row in Pakistan over blasp…