In a disconcerting turn of events, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan has once again become the target of religious persecution. A recent attack on an Ahmadi place of worship in Karachi has reignited concerns about the ongoing discrimination and violence faced by this marginalized community. The incident took place on September 4, 2023, in the Saddar area of Karachi, where a mob vandalized the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s mosque.
Three individuals connected to the attack have been arrested, according to Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab. The unsettling episode has been widely circulated on social media platforms, showing masked men wielding sledgehammers to damage the minarets of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s mosque while others outside the building shouted hostile slogans.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community, officially declared as non-Muslims by the Parliament of Pakistan in 1974, has been subjected to various forms of discrimination, including being prohibited from self-identifying as Muslims and undertaking the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. The community has also been targeted by extremist elements in the predominantly conservative Muslim-majority country. The recent attack is not an isolated incident; it follows a similar act of vandalism on another Ahmadi place of worship in Karachi’s Drigh Road area on July 25.
Amir Mehmood, a spokesperson for the Jamaat Ahmadiyya Muslim in Pakistan, reported that a group of approximately 10 individuals launched the assault shortly after afternoon prayers. These assailants forcibly entered the place of worship and proceeded to vandalize the property. In an even more distressing turn of events, some of the attackers ascended to the rooftop and employed hammers to inflict damage upon the minarets.
According to Mehmood, the initial attack occurred during the Zuhr prayer, and the on-duty security guard fired shots into the air to disperse the attackers. However, a larger mob subsequently arrived, chanting slogans against the Ahmadi community and physically assaulting some worshippers inside the hall.
The lack of legal action against previous culprits has emboldened them to continue targeting the Ahmadiyya Muslim community’s halls, not only in Karachi but across the country. Officially, the number of Ahmadis in Pakistan stands at approximately one million, though unofficial estimates suggest a considerably higher population.
Out of Pakistan’s total populace of 220 million, roughly 10 million belong to non-Muslim minority groups, who often encounter harassment and discrimination from extremist elements.
While the international community remains largely silent on the issue, it is crucial to shed light on the plight of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Pakistan. The recent attack serves as a grim reminder that religious intolerance and extremism continue to plague the country, putting minority communities at risk. The government’s failure to take adequate measures to protect the Ahmadiyya Muslim community further exacerbates the situation, leaving them vulnerable to continued persecution.