Muslim minorities

BANGKOK, 16 November 2012 (IRIN) - Five months after communal violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine State, the plight of the 800,000 Muslim Rohingya there has worsened: Renewed violence in late October left more than 100,000 displaced, according to the government. 

It's not known exactly how many Ahmadis have settled in Britain - because many are too fearful to even admit they belong to the religion. They are a small, peaceful community who came here after fleeing persecution in Pakistan. But many Ahmadis are now living in fear for their lives - because they claim a campaign of hatred against them by other, extremist Muslims, is being exported from Pakistan onto the streets of the UK. 

It's hard to miss the signs on the streets of Manama: King Hamad peering benignly from giant billboards, and everywhere pictures of smiling candidates in spotless white dishdashas and headdresses pledging to build more houses, fight corruption and devote themselves to the welfare of ordinary voters. "Our appointment is with you," declares one official poster. "Your vote is for all of us," promises another. But tomorrow's election comes at an awkward moment for Bahrain, the Arab world's smallest country and – until now – one of the freest in the Gulf.

Suicide bombers devastated one of Pakistan's most famous Sufi shrines last night, marking another vicious strike by violent extremists against the moderate form of Islam practised by most Pakistanis. At least 42 people were killed and 175 injured when two bombers ripped through the Data Ganj Baksh shrine in central Lahore where thousands of people had gathered to pray, dance and listen to devotional music. The toll is expected to rise.

شن مسلحون يعتقد انهم ينتمون لحركة طالبان باكستان يحملون بنادق وقنابل يدوية هجوماً دموياً على مسجدين يعودان للطائفة الأحمدية التي تشكل إحدى الأقليات في باكستان، بالتزامن مع توقيت صلاة الجمعة، وذلك في مدينة لاهور شرقي البلاد. وقالت وسائل إعلام باكستانية إن الهجومين أسفرا عن سقوط عشرات القتلى والجرحى فضلا عن احتجاز رهائن داخل من بين أفراد الطائفة الذين سبق أن تعرضوا لمضايقات من قبل الحركات السنية المتشددة في البلاد، دون أن يصل الأمر إلى حد التعرض لهجمات كبيرة من هذا النوع.

We cannot possibly claim, as a country, that we value freedom of speech above all else. If we did so, we would choke on the magnitude of our hypocrisy. When, in human history, has the oppression of a country’s own citizens paid dividends to either the oppressed or the oppressors? In recent times, we as Pakistanis have developed not an immunity, but a resistance to the mental strain of terrorism. This is a tragedy of the times, and a triumph of our spirit. Recently, however, we encountered a new horror, one that I hope we shall never inure ourselves to: shame.

A freebee giveaway Harkatul Ansar clock : hands are a Kalshnikov, four of the five pillars of Islam mark the quarter hour points. The fifth pillar, Tauheed, replaced by Jehad. There was a front page photograph the day after the Lahore massacres, of an elderly Ahmedi with a cap and small white beard, hands ‘clasped together in a prayer of sorts’ as Dawn captioned it. ‘Of sorts’. Even Dawn did not want to risk calling it prayer. The photo reminded me of the iconic picture taken during the Gujarat carnage in India, 2002, in which a Muslim man, hands clasped, pleads for his life.

Shirkat Gah staff and network members participated in protests against killing of 95 innocent Pakistani who lost their lives in attacks on two mosques of the Ahmedi community on Friday, May 28th. These demonstrations took place on Monday, 31 May, 2010 and included a candle light Vigil at the Liberty Roundabout in Lahore and a protest by WAF and JAC members at the Press Club Karachi.

A brutal assault on Pakistan’s Ahmadi community on 28 May has left them feeling more vulnerable than ever before. Armed assailants laid siege to two mosques in Lahore, capital of Punjab Province, where Ahmadis were praying and killed at least 80 people. The attack has been described by community leaders, who put the death toll at 93 with 100 injured, as the worst ever faced in the group’s 121-year history. Dozens of victims still lie injured in Lahore hospitals, some in a critical state. “Some are very badly injured, but we will not give in and we have not lost strength,” Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a spokesperson for the Ahmadi community in Lahore, told IRIN. 

Emergency Law used to detain citizens for two months because of their religious beliefs: The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) today urged the Minister of Interior to release immediately nine Egyptians detained under the Emergency Law for two months because of their affiliation with the Ahmadi confession. The organization called on the Public Prosecutor to order an end to the Supreme State Security Prosecutor’s investigation of all detainees on charges of “contempt of religions” and hold to account those officials responsible for the arrest and interrogation of citizens solely for exercising their constitutional right to freedom of belief and expression. 

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