Anti Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam 2nd July 2000
Bismillah al-Rehman al-Raheem
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE/MINORITY PERSECUTION
MYTH & REALITY
by GULZAR ANWAR
While fording the Qadiani website in Athens, one comes across a page listing the abuse of Human Rights and persecution of minorities in Pakistan involving Qadianis. There are, at least, 4 other similar websites on which this anti-state propaganda is continuing but, on checking, these sites were found not operational for the time being. This is an excellent way of presenting oneself as the most oppressed people in the world in order to enlist the sympathies of influential quarters in Europe and elsewhere. I will accordingly proceed to spell out the Myth and Reality of the case. The Case Study: Abuse of Human Rights and Persecution of Minorities in Pakistan vis-a-vis Qadianis.
Myth: Qadianis are persecuted, in Pakistan, and disallowed to practise their religion the way they conceptualise it and forbidden to spread their gospel to the people since they consider they are on a mission from God. Black ordinance and religious intolerance. U.S. State Department enumerates human rights violations.
Reality: I returned from the Middle East in 1982 after a short stint of doing a job there and since then I have not seen a single case of violence in this country involving any Qadiani. There may have been an isolated case but it is not in my notice and I, seriously, doubt if there was any. However, the Shia-Sunni sectarian divide has been widening ever since I returned and see no improvement in the immediate future. When anti-Qadiani movement was started, decades ago, the Shia-Sunni were jointly operating from the same platform as they were united in their denunciation of the new epiphany of God which had turned some of the Muslim beliefs/dogmas upside down. Even the main anti-Qadiani party - Ahrar - had in its ranks some prominent Shia leaders like Mazhar Ali Azhar, Muzaffar Ali Shamsi and others. Any deterioration I have seen taking place, at least, since 1982, has been between the Shia-Sunni relations with much blood spill in this stupid intestine war. They will simply give no quarter to each other. Compromise looks a distant possibility. There have even been running battles between the two factions. Shias, on their part, reacted only when they were pushed against the wall. Another case of minority taking to militancy against the arrogance of majority. As for the Qadianis, they have not even been molested, let alone getting pushed against the wall. Conversely, they are entirely safe as no body has ever paid any attention to them. They are, in fact, totally out of the public memory and no body is even aware whether they exist at all.
The question of discrimination can possibly be surmised in the sphere of employment opportunities. Since 1982, I have seen a permanent ban on employment by the Government and jobs are scarce in Government and semi-Government organisations. The only work the Government, and the public sector, hands out to people is on contract basis and as for permanent employment, no Sir, forget about it - there is simply no job to offer and there will not be any for quite some time to come. I have myself benefited from taking a contract job and have been employed in this for over 5 years without the possibility of getting a permanent status. So, every body suffers on account of this alike and Qadianis have not been singled out on purpose. Private sector is sick, hence massive outflow of people to other countries. Many have gone, more are waiting.
As I have said, I have not seen a single case of violence against them as far as I remember. So, what is this media campaign for, through the internet? Just to win the sympathies of outsiders and belittle the image of this country abroad, laying the groundwork in those countries for their own people to be well received and sympathetically considered on arrival as the most harried and afflicted people in the world. If you start imagining things there is nothing much one can do to help you. In other words, when the dog starts chasing its own tail where is it going to end up? At least do not take an undue advantage of your position at a cost to the country’s reputation. The fact is that in any given country the majority, by nature, is bound to get arrogant and this cannot be denied. The minority will, however, tolerate but only to some extent. When you push them against the wall they are sure to turn militant and it will be arrogance drawn against militancy. This, in turn, becomes disastrous and upsets the peace in the society and that is exactly what has happened to Pakistan as far as the Shia-Sunni strife is concerned. No one is prepared to give up and God knows when it is going to end. But what reasons do the Qadianis have to be so concerned. In the last 18 years I have not seen anything indecorous happening to them. The clergy scare is of course there. After all, where there is a messiah there are Pharisees and Sadducees and the messiah and his people have to combat these all powerful religious authorities. These are difficult people and, on their part, they will give you no respite. As followers of the messiah, you are, already, under obligation to offer your right cheek if they smite you on the left. So, there is not much choice. The path of a messiah is strewn with problems. If you want to tread this path, the choice is yours. Make a careful selection. Once you decide to go along, you will have no right to blink later. May be you are called upon to carry your own Cross, at some point in time. Remember, also, that it’s a long way to Golgotha. You cannot take to arms either, because the Messiah will immediately rebuke you: “Peter, put the sword back in the scabbard, those who live by the sword die by the sword”. However, in our country, the clergy scare manifests itself mostly when it is politicsed. The politicians are a dirty lot. They exploit communal violence for their own interests, especially when they are in the opposition. Even in India, most of the communal riots are politically motivated. So, you have to live with it. Instead of running away, you should make overtures to those unkindly disposed towards you and find out a way to build bridges in order to reach an acceptable solution. Shias have not run away. They are still there living it out.
The fear of persecution is, therefore, in my opinion, unfounded. Why to imagine something, when it is not there?
Moral: Never cross the bridge until you reach it.
Freedom of worship:
They have their mosques and they worship there. The majority Muslims do not consider them a part of the community. So what? Have they been forbidden to carry out their prayers in their places of worship? If so, then this is surely a good case of religious intolerance and abuse of the minority rights. But, I am sure they cannot point their finger to a single case such as this where they were forbidden from having an access to their places of worship. Now the spreading of gospel to people definitely is a matter of serious concern. You can see there is no ban on Christian missionaries. Their activities are not curbed in any way. They are free to spread their gospel in open public. The human rights agencies should, at least, agree that when someone starts digging in on the foundations of a structure, the entire structure is bound to come crashing down. Qadianis have tried to introduce innovations and novel ideas to some accepted beliefs, so how can they expect others to relent and be tolerant for them? Moreover, there is an elderly council of the Muslim countries which, on the consensus of the Muslim world, ostracised them from the mainstream (Rabita Alam Islami). If the human rights people have to protest, they should protest to the Muslim countries en bloc and not to Pakistan alone. It is not a matter of concern for others, it is for the Muslims, in general, to decide whether they want to keep a certain section of people in their rank and file or exorcise it from the main body. Many of the Christian missionaries come from Europe every now and then, and hold public meetings, addressing the public any way they like and distributing their literature. This does not cause any serious concern to any one. I have seen many Muslims, very often, attending their sermons and mass including me. When everybody is free to preach his religion why this restriction on Qadianis? The non-Muslims should at least examine this from Muslim point of view before making any hasty reaction. What about the Catholic-Protestant conflict raging in Ireland for such a long time? Which side have they accused for human rights violations? This is a conflict from within Christianity so why should it be a matter of any concern for other religions? However, if the non-Christian communities are persecuted, in these countries for any reason, then this will be a strong case of human rights abuse.
The ordinance was promulgated on a popular demand and had the concurrence of other Muslim countries. Did any Muslim country show its reluctance to accept it? Even if it was politicised, it came about only in the wake of a majority decision which cannot be ruled out. Is not democracy said to be the best and most viable system of governance? Also, even if you say “hundred fools never make one wise”, in our country the majority decision prevails because of our current democratic posture. Qadianis claim that ever since they have been declared a minority, this country has been caught in a perilous situation and has not recovered as yet. No answer! If they want to take God all for themselves, good luck to them! After all, all those who do not subscribe to their creed are already on a death row to die before their appointed time. An otherwise a facetious notion which they will state to you with stunning conviction. Look at the indoctrination!
There is considerable misunderstanding in the Agencies monitoring the Human Rights conditions in the world. Now for the Europeans to understand the point, it is important to tell that Qadiani sect is a breakaway group of people who have installed their own prophet no matter in whatever sense. It is a matter of basic concept in Islam that, according to a dictum of our Holy Prophet (PBUH), there is an emphatic denial of the possibility for any Prophet to come now and you cannot play on the feelings of the people who are very sensitive to uphold this dictum. This is a matter which strictly concerns Muslims and it has grown from within the main body and there has been no division on account of this for 1400 years. The only cause of concern to the international forums of preserving the minority rights/human rights should be if there are any cases of deterrence against Christians and other non-Muslims which impede their religious activities. When we say “there is no compulsion in religion”, this applies to all the non-Muslims whether Christians, Jews or any body else. An outgrowth, against the popular concept, from within the main body of Islam has been called sedition or ”fitna” and it is the duty of the mainstream Muslims to discourage it. According to our holy book “sedition” is worse than homicide and the non-Muslims should respect this and not jump to conclusion in order to enforce their own opinion in the matter of religion. Why should the human rights activists get up and try to address it which is a matter exclusively for Muslims to ponder over?
Religion is not just a private affair for Muslims or a matter of something between man and God. There is much more to it. The so called accusation of fundamentalism is equally ridiculous. Did the fundamentalists not help flush out Russians from Afghanistan with Stinger missiles on their shoulders and foreign food cans in their hands? Nearly 2 million innocent people died to force the Russians out? Did they not cleanse the country of the traces of Russian influence? So, why were these fundamentalists appreciated when they fought Russia and then not accused for human rights violations when they decimated the Russian sympathisers? Only because it suited the vital regional interests of the powers concerned. The people killed were fellow countrymen of the killers, having strong racial affinity, and their only fault was that they had a different political ideology or a distinct political dispensation to emancipate their people, from the miseries of hunger, who were badly suppressed by the oppressive tribal system and ruthless religious exploitation. They needed to see the light of modern world and enjoy the fruits of enlightenment in order for their children to grow with self-respect and education. It never happened and their children are, now, cleaning the drains in Pakistan, gathering cellophane bags from dirt dumps, shoe-shining on the roads and begging on street corners, in buses, on roads, in public places and at traffic lights. What about the human rights of these hapless people?
There are a lot of NGOs at work leading the outcry for human rights violations. They get the financial support from outside and are given some specifics to work on. Their concern for the so called human rights violations grows out of the amount of money they receive from the donor agencies. They want to make sure, the inflow of money to them continues. Look at their lifestyle. Their children study in foreign universities and they have available to them all the comforts of life which the common man in Pakistan cannot see even in his wildest dreams. Take, for example, the case of Asma Jehangir (Chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan) and the money she and her sister are making through running the human rights show. Her husband is a Qadiani and to say where her sympathies lie will amount to belabouring the obvious. What about the mass killing in Afghanistan by the religious fanatics? Did the human rights people debunk this? They did not because they were not asked to do so by those who provide funds for these agencies to function. It was part of the de-sovietisation process which suited them and therefore instead of denouncing it, they encouraged the massacre. When “proxies” carry out the Agenda of killing the so called radicals, no human right violations or abuse of minority rights are involved simply because this suits the purpose of those who provide the money to sustain the human rights hoax.
Human Rights Agencies:
Palestinians were persecuted for years and Sabra and Shatila camp pogrom is only too well known where even the pregnant women were not spared. Justifying this shocking breach of sanity, the Israelites had the temerity of saying that “we did not kill a woman, but only killed a future radical growing in the matrix”. It was a disgrace to human dignity and worst ever violence of human rights in modern times. This grisly massacre was committed by the same people who never tire of talking about the holocaust. Where were the human rights agencies then? Was this not an abuse of minority rights? It had the tacit consent of those who otherwise will have sleepless nights for human rights abuse when it does not serve their purpose in the perspectives of their global interests. All the human rights stuff has high class political overtones and it is not intended to help the helpless people. They will step in only where some political gains are to be made, after all it is a matter of their political considerations to cultivate their market economy otherwise if their influence starts receding, soon enough their refrigerators will run dry. They will encourage even dictatorships to abuse the human rights when it serves their selfish ends and often will give a clean bill to a bloody violator of the human rights like they were doing in case of the notorious former President of Philippines, Marcos, and often used to bail him out by simply saying “The human rights condition is good”. They are always right. Just obey them and, if you want to survive, continue living in their backyard for help. Don’t stand up to them or you will be clubbed down and counted out.
While I was in the Middle East, on the slightest doubt, they were expelling people who were suspect Qadianis. This expulsion continued even when I returned in 1982 and still continues. No one dares protest to them for human rights violations only because they have the oil which is crucial for the economic lifeline of the human rights sentinels.
What about North Korea? Are the North Koreans not human beings? Why to blackmail other countries who want to establish diplomatic relations with this country? Does it not constitute a human rights violation to force its people to live a life of isolation, reduce the entire country to a virtual hermitage and make them social outcasts in the comity of nations? We take pride in making South Korea as our roll model who has been brought to its current position of thriving economy by those who were keen to isolate the other half. Do we have the courage to follow North Korea, as an example, who takes pride in her self-sustained position and is still existing despite total opposition of the world’s principal arbitrators of human rights.
We are in a sorry plight. It is difficult to survive economically without the help of others. We cannot resist. We have to agree to even overriding demands of those who manipulate us. We cannot go independently. But does that mean we should surrender in the matter of religion and listen to them what to do and what not to do. This merits a serious consideration.
Qadianis are clever enough and, as I have said, they are rightly exploiting the situation by underplaying themselves. They have the right ruse right now to cash in on. The quiet and well planned exodus is underway. In the name of minority persecution, they are easily given a visa to migrate to different countries where they can get themselves installed in the favourable position of people persecuted back home. This slow motion exodus is taking place for a long time now. Exodus-I had Moses to lead from the front and he suffered alike with his people traversing all the way from Egypt to the promised land. The present Moses is already sitting comfortably somewhere close to the new promised land and his people are slowly but surely moving out in different directions. Exodus-II is underway, very successful and barely noticed by people. This is a new gift of dispersal which our Qadiani friends are enjoying by spreading in different corners of the world. A diaspora of our time, with plenty of fringe benefits. Jesus could not give a new Jerusalem to his people, as he had promised them, because of the unfavourable conditions but my Qadiani friends are ideally placed to benefit because of the favourable cir*****stances.
Some years ago I was talking to a Qadiani friend of mine when he surprised me by saying that “we do not fear if we have to leave Pakistan. We have a second home in Nigeria. We can go anywhere and get ourselves a new home because God is on our side”. As I have said, this was years ago and the way the things are going now the Exodus-II will be complete in due course of time and you never know when a second Israel is installed in the heart of Muslims somewhere in the vast expanse of this planet called earth. Is a second Israel on the cards, then?
A Qadiani family, personally known to me, is all set to move out to the U.S. They have, already disposed of their property and everything is on the skids and they will set out as soon as visa is endorsed which they are already taking for granted. They are very satisfied because all their relatives are already there enjoying a very successful life with plenty of fortunes. They were living here for the last 30 years or so in the thick of Muslim population and never had any problem. Everybody knew them. They were respected and had best of relations with the people of the area. There had never been any source of concern to them on any account. Now, suddenly, they have decided to go. Reasons? They are not happy because of minority persecution. Despite having no cause of complaint ever, they are going. When they reach their newly adopted home, the reason will again be abuse of their rights in Pakistan and this is what will benefit them in the new environments. Head you win, tail I lose!
My request to human rights agencies is not to interfere in the private affairs of Muslims. They should confine their concern to valid cases of human rights abuse. I would also request the Qadianis not to rig the situation confronting Pakistan only to help their people to get out and settle somewhere in Europe, or other places in the world, so that at the appropriate time they may issue out together to a promised land which might come up at the appropriate time and we will have another Israel breathing down our neck.
Epilogue: “Man is brother of man, whether you like it or not”. The day man recognises man, his troubles will come to an end. Qadianies are my brothers and I have highest regards for them. I admire their dedication and devotion to their work. I believe, if they have a genuine grouse, it should be addressed properly. I have seen, in the past, some miscreants resorting to violence. It was definitely not fair then and should never be repeated now. People have plenty of awareness now and they can give a better account of themselves as far as human brotherhood is concerned. But, I would request Qadianis, not to insist to have themselves rolled into the mainstream if the majority is not willing. The peaceful co-existence has its genesis in mutual respect. That is the only way to avoid trouble. Some notable scholars, like Abdul Majid Daryabadi, Kh. Hasan Nizami and Ghulam Rasul Mehr, are on record having appreciated the work of the Lahori group, despite differences. Let us show clemency to each other and forgive and forget in order to live peacefully in our own separately identified positions without giving vent to the differences which are natural. I can assure you, I have no bias against any one and will never speak ill of others, because Allah does not like traducers, but facts are facts and must not be altered. When I write, I never forget the lighter side of it. Therefore, I have to be understood properly. http://www.alhafeez.org/rashid/