A frenzied mob of extremists in Pakistan has murdered three people after setting fire to eight houses in the town of Gujranwala in Punjab.
Two girls – one just eight months old and the other seven years old – were murdered along with their grandmother who was in her fifties. A pregnant woman who suffered severe smoke inhalation lost her unborn child and remains in critical condition.
The murder of Ahmadi Muslims is commonplace in Pakistan, where hate-filled proclamations from extremist religious clerics goad followers to attack minorities.
The Ahmadis are specifically targeted because of their belief in their founder as the Promised Messiah, a belief that extremist clerics say makes Ahmadis liable to be killed.
The victims were Mrs Bushra Bibi, and her two granddaughters, Hira aged 7 and Kainaat aged 8 months. Mrs Mubashara Bibi, who was 7 months pregnant, suffered a miscarriage and remains seriously ill.
8 other women and children are being treated for burns and severe injuries.
Houses were looted after a mob gathered outsides the properties on the pretext they were protesting over an alleged defacing of a picture of the Kaabah on Facebook by an Ahmadi Muslim. An allegation vehemently denied by local Ahmadis. Ahmadis regard the Kaabah in Makkah as Islam’s Holiest Sacred Mosque.
The Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, based in Putney London, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, said:
“It has been falsely claimed that this attack was provoked by a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. This allegation is completely untrue and without any foundation whatsoever.
“If those who perpetrated this attack truly felt that one person had provoked them then they should have sought his arrest but instead they chose to burn alive an elderly lady and her two granddaughters.
“This attack took place as the local police stood by and watched and took no action. It is yet another example of how the authorities in Pakistan are aiding the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims.”
Rafiq Hayat, National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, based in Morden, south London, said:
“This was a ruthless and unprovoked attack. This tragic incident is a reflection of the dire situation in Pakistan where the lives of Ahmadi Muslims are becoming increasingly perilous each day.
“We condemn this atrocious act in the strongest possible terms and urge the Government to Pakistan to give protection to all its citizens and we call upon the British Government to raise this as a matter of urgency with Pakistan.”
“The anti-Ahmadi laws mean that at any moment violence can erupt against our members.”
Merton and Mitcham MP Siobhain McDonagh, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said:
“This is a horrific attack. The Pakistan Government must do more to curtail such mob violence and repeal its anti-Ahmadi laws that are used to incite hatred and murder of Ahmadi Muslims on grounds of faith.”
In 1984 the anti-Ahmadi laws were promulgated that meant that an Ahmadi could be imprisoned for three years or even sentenced to death under the blasphemy laws simply for claiming to be a Muslim. Since then 244 Ahmadis have been murdered, 183 assaulted for their faith and 83 mosques have been attacked and demolished or occupied. Even in death there is no respite as 35 bodies have been exhumed.
Sunday, 3 AUGUST 2014