For Ahmadiyya Muslims, another memorial day

On May 28th this year, we observed Memorial Day, a day to remember and honor those who have died in … Continued

On May 28th this year, we observed Memorial Day, a day to remember and honor those who have died in service to our nation. But on this year’s Memorial Day, I also reflected on other brave souls who died in another service: to their faith. May 28th has a special significance not just for me and the tens of millions of members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community worldwide. It is also a day of significance for all peace-loving and just people who desire equal human rights and a world that is free from religious and other persecution.

Daniel Berehulak

GETTY IMAGES

Muhammad Munawar prays at the grave of his slain son, 17-year-old medical student Waleed July 14, 2010 in Chenab Nagar, Pakistan. Seventeen-year-old Waleed was murdered in the May Lahore attacks on the Ahmaddi mosques

May 28th, 2012, marks the two-year anniversary of the vicious attack in Pakistan on innocent souls as they peacefully worshipped their creator. During the weekly Friday Prayer service, armed militants – strapped with suicide vests and automatic weapons – marched into two mosques in Lahore, Pakistan, belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and indiscriminately opened fire on the worshippers. People of all ages began dropping as the terrorists made their way through the mosques, firing their weapons every direction they turned and killing 86 people, while injuring over 100 more. I lost family that day as well. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack and indicated a willingness to continue the aggression.

There was no consideration for the innocent loss of life. No consideration for the humanity of those being brutally massacred. Driven by a raging hatred, these terrorists took the lives of those they didn’t even know. As recently noted by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch, two men were captured during the attack, but instead of making any progress on their trial, the government – as well as the defense – has repeatedly sought adjournments from the court.

The Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, Brad Adams, had strong words this week about the way Pakistan has handled this case. “It’s obscene that two years after the worst massacre in Lahore since the partition of India, the government has still not brought the suspects apprehended at the scene to trial,” said Adams. “By pandering to extremists who foment violence against the Ahmadis, the government emboldens militants who target the beleaguered community, and reinforces fear and insecurity for all religious minorities.”

What many human rights and religious freedom advocates find so appalling is what the New York Times characterized as Pakistan’s “state policy to nurture extremism.”

The government does not protect its own citizens. Rather, its legal system not only remains silent to such attacks but also provide fuel to radical organizations to justify these attacks.

Two years later, instead of providing extra security to this highly persecuted community, the government looks the other way. Amnesty International recently noted that in the city of Rawalpindi, Pakistani authorities succumbed to the demands of extremist clerics and forbade members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community from using their own mosque. Earlier this month, Los Angeles Times reported from Lahore that Pakistani police took hammers and chisels and began destroying sections of an Ahmadiyya Muslim Community mosque because they claimed the dome and Koranic inscriptions made the building appear too much like a mosque.

May 28th, thus, is a significant day because it serves as the shining example of the injustice, intolerance and inequality that is choking Pakistan. The government must structurally change and allow all people to freely practice their faith. The state’s policies should not be set by religious clerics, especially those who harbor a violent, malicious misunderstanding of our faith.

Such religious leaders not only are the cause of the eruption of an extremist mindset and terrorist activity in Pakistan, they also defame Islam by claiming to be serving the faith. Islam has no need for those who resort to violence in a so-called defense of their faith. Islam condemns violence and the taking of innocent lives, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim community rejects any claims from extremists that they are following Islamic principles.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s worldwide spiritual leader (Khalifa), Mirza Masroor Ahmad, has exhorted members of his community to follow peace in their life. So the best way we can honor those who lost their life in the service of their faith and nation is to ensure their lives were not lost in vain. Let their life – and death – serve as an inspiration towards eradicating violence, war, bloodshed and injustice throughout the world. What better way to remember and honor those who have died while serving their nation or faith than to dedicate their memory to saving the lives of others?

Harris Zafar is National Spokesperson for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA and a frequent lecturer about Islam around the country. He can be contacted at [email protected]

About

  • ccnl1

    A quick and harmless solution:

    From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi————–

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using “The 77 Branches of Islamic “faith” a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true “faith” (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings.” i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    “1. Belief in Allah”

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

    “2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.”

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the “Gi-b G-nab” (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the “akas” for Allah should be included if you continue to be a “crea-tionist”.

    “3. To believe in the existence of angels.”

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No “pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies” ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and “tin–ker be-lls”. Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    “4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore.”

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT et

  • SNLDallas

    The 28th May 2010 was a very sad day not only for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community but for whole Humanity. Innocent people were killed in the name of religion. Government of Pakistan has given free hands to anti-Ahmadiyya groups to spread false propaganda against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in which ignorant religious leaders issue fatwa of death and call Ahmadi Muslims as infidels. In Pakistan the fanatic mullahs are spreading the wrong teaching of Islam. How sad that Pakistani government and Pakistani Muslims are claiming that we are the true believers of Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessing of Allah upon him) and practicing totally against of his teaching. May Allah save Pakistan from the ignorant Mullah’s interpretation of Islam and Holy Quran. Please visit http://www.alislam.org to get the true teaching of Islam.

  • atiya1

    Amen! Let’s also pray for the families of those who were martyred that day.
    Thank you for the great article.

Read More Articles

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

noplaceonearth
An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.