Pakistan: PTI chief Imran Khan has a strange way of supporting blasphemy laws

Pakistan: PTI chief Imran Khan has a strange way of supporting blasphemy laws

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has said that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are not a problem but the real problem lies with the militant groups operating inside the country.

In an interview with Mehdi Hasan of Al Jazeera, when asked if he supported a proposal to amend the blasphemy law, which carries the death penalty for offenders, Khan avoided a clear response. Instead, he said: “Whatever you do with the laws, people will be killed.”

“Extremism is not going to be fought by laws; extremism has to be fought first by disbanding those groups that are perpetuating this extremism,” he further added.

When the host asked if the PTI chief feared for his life for speaking on the matter of blasphemy, he hesitantly said: “It is true you have to tread a very thin line. Anything perceived to be…  sacrilegious, yes your life is in danger… It is a very difficult subject living in Pakistan.”

Explaining his recent statement in which he said that people will distribute sweets if army took over in Pakistan, Imran Khan said: “I did not struggle for martial law in Pakistan, it was all to strengthen the democracy in this country,” arguing that he had not urged the Pakistani military to topple Nawaz Sharif’s government.

“We want a genuine democracy, not a hoax system,” he went on to say, adding that “democracy means a system where the Prime Minister is accountable to the people.”

On the occasion, he also termed the Taliban as terrorists, saying: “Anyone who kills innocent people is terrorists,” while responding to a query about his soft reaction to the terrorist activities of Taliban groups in Pakistan.

— PTI chief Imran Khan has a strange way of supporting blasphemy laws


Source/Credit: Daily Pakistan

Canada: Ahmadiyya Muslim group parks truck outside library, says ‘Thank you, Canada’

Canada: Ahmadiyya Muslim group parks truck outside library, says ‘Thank you, Canada’

Islamic group, persecuted in Pakistan, celebrates 50 years of religious freedom in Canada 

Omer Ahmed, of Ancaster, Ontario (near Hamilton) and fellow adherents of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, an Islamic religious movement, are travelling across the country to say ‘thank you, Canada.’

Ahmed, accompanied by Dr. A. Momin Khalifa (president of the Sydney, Nova Scotia Ahmadi Jama’at, or congregation) and three other fellow Ahmadis from Toronto, stopped in Sault Ste. Marie Tuesday for an overnight stay as part of a 45-day cross-Canada trip, from East Coast to West Coast.

“We are celebrating 50 years in Canada (for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community)…we are persecuted in Pakistan because of our beliefs, and Canada allows us to be free and gives us liberty to profess and worship and practice our faith, and because of that we want to thank Canada,” Ahmed told SooToday.

Ahmed and his companions are travelling across the country in a truck towing a trailer which serves as an information booth for their faith.

The group was parked Tuesday outside the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library’s Centennial Branch.

“We want to tell people we’re very thankful for all the liberty and freedom we have here…in Pakistan I wouldn’t even survive a day if I tried to tell people about my faith,” Ahmed said.

“In Pakistan if I wanted a drivers license or a passport I would have to write ‘Ahmadi’ on it, I cannot apply for certain government jobs because they say Ahmadi should not be allowed to do certain things and we can live with that, but then there are clerics…(who say) ‘let’s kill some Ahmadis to earn heaven.'”

“They think killing us will get them to heaven, there are some people who will not think straight and think ‘let’s kill them,'” Ahmed said, adding there is no protection from the Pakistani government.

“We’ve had people come up to us (here in Canada) and say ‘thank you’ for doing this because many of them don’t know there are different groups within Islam…we’re here to help answer any questions you may have about Islam or dispel any misconceptions you might have about Islam,” Ahmed said.

“They think of us as something different from other Canadians, but we have nine-to-five jobs, we eat poutine and we like our steaks, but they don’t know that,” Ahmed said.

The group’s beliefs are based on the teachings of Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908).

“The message is peace, love everybody in spite of the differences, love them,” Ahmed said, in contrast to what he called “the Fox News version of Islam” portraying Islamic extremism.

Ghulam Ahmad’s teachings are considered blasphemy by other, hard-line Islamic groups in Pakistan, Ahmed said, hence persecution.

“But when we come to Canada we have the right to practice our faith the way we want, so we’re thankful to Canada for giving us that right.”

There are approximately 40,000 Ahmadis spread across 90 Jama’ats in Canada, said Dr. A. Momin Khalifa.

The religion’s main centre is in London, England, with almost 10 million practitioners in approximately 200 countries around the world, Khalifa said.

The group heads out to Thunder Bay Wednesday as it continues its cross-country tour.


Source/Credit : SOOTODAY News

India: Ahmadiyya Muslims find place as Islam sect in census

India: Ahmadiyya Muslims find place as Islam sect in census

With a large section of Muslim clerics deeming the community to be heretics, successive governments in previous years had refrained from including them as a sect of Islam in the census report.

The Ahmadiyyas, one of the most persecuted sects in the Muslim community, have finally managed find a place in India as a sect of Islam in the 2011 census. With a large section of Muslim clerics deeming the community to be heretics, successive governments in previous years had refrained from including them as a sect of Islam in the census report. This happened despite successive High Court judgments upholding their legal status as Muslims.

The community, which was recently lauded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for its “religious tolerance and universal brotherhood”, has found its name included in the “Details of Sects/Religions clubbed under specific religious community” data released by the government last week. In earlier census reports, only Sunnis, Shias, Bohras and Agakhanis were identified as sects of Islam.

Conservative estimates of the community’s population in India, which originated in Qadiyan in Punjab, is pegged at 1 lakh. “It is a welcome move by the government,” said Mahmood Ahmed, former president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Mumbai.

The sect’s origins lie in Qadian in Punjab. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad founded the movement in 1889. Rejecting orthodox Muslim beliefs, he preached that he was the promised messiah with the divinely inspired task of bringing God’s teaching into harmony with the present-day world. He said he was the messiah whose advent was awaited by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike, as well as the incarnation of Krishna.

Since its inception, the sect has been opposed by hardline Muslim clerics. This opposition culminated in a constitutional amendment in 1974 in Pakistan, declaring the Ahmadiyyas to be non-Muslims in the eyes of law. Soon after, there was widespread violence and persecution against the community in Pakistan.

Leading Islamic seminaries in India, like the the Darul Uloom Deoband, have also declared the community as non-Muslim. They are also not given representation on the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Indian law, however, regards them as Muslims. The Kerala High Court in 1970 upheld their legal status as Muslims. It ruled that Ahmadiyyas are Muslims and that they cannot be declared apostates by other sects of the religion 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.

Source/Credit: The Indian Express


Pakistan: Blasphemy charges filings against Christian, Hindus rise

Pakistan: Blasphemy charges filings against Christian, Hindus rise

At least four Christians have been charged for the crime of alleged blasphemy against Islam in Pakistan’s Punjab province in the last month, according to a report from Catholic news agency Agenzia Fides.

Meanwhile, the agency reports that in the province of Sindh in southern Pakistan, a man named Sateesh Kumar was killed and another seriously injured as a result of unrest between Hindus and Muslims in an incident reportedly triggered by a false accusation of blasphemy against a Hindu, who police say was mentally disabled.

The cases registered against Christians in Punjab include that of James Nadeem, 35, a resident in Gujrat, accused for writing offensive remarks about the Prophet Muhammed and sending them to a friend via the “WhatsApp” messaging service. When the news spread of the alleged insult to Islam, hundreds of Muslims crowded outside the Christian area, apparently with the intent of setting fire to the entire area. Fides reports that only the prompt intervention of the police prevented the massacre, while Christians left their homes as a precaution.

In Gujranwala, an anti-terrorism court recently issued a verdict of death sentence against two Christians – Anjum Naz Sindhu, a school headmaster, and Javed Naz – and a Muslim – Jaffar Ali – on charges of blasphemy. And, in another case, a Christian, Usman Masih, was accused of blasphemy for allegedly having sent an offensive message on the social network Facebook.

Pakistan – where about 200 million Muslims, about four million Christians and as many Hindus live – has one of the toughest laws against blasphemy among the Muslim-majority countries. It includes a wide range of actions or comments that could be interpreted as “defamation of Islam”. The law, introduced in 1986 by the dictator Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq without any parliamentary passage, provides for life imprisonment or the death penalty, but in many cases it is abused and used to settle personal vendettas.

According to data from the Justice and Peace Commission of the Bishops of Pakistan, 200 Christians, 633 Muslims, 494 Ahmadis, and 21 Hindus (more than 1,300 cases) were charged with blasphemy from 1987 to 2013. In 2014 the complaints registered were 1400, while in the last 30 years 70 accused of blasphemy have been extrajudicially executed.

Source/Credit: Sight Magazine