THE Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada on Thursday strongly condemned the destruction of a mosque and a historical house in Sialkot, Pakistan, by local municipal officials and a mob of 600 religious extremists.
In a statement, they said: “It is shocking that local police and municipal authorities were present during the attack and destruction of property. Authorities did not take any action to uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of
Ahmadi Muslims. Giving in to pressure from local extremist clerics, the officials from the Municipal Committee of Sialkot City unlawfully demolished a century-old historic house.
“The property is of historical significance to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. Once the house was demolished, the large mob attacked a mosque adjacent to the demolished house. During the attack, the mob demolished the mosque’s minarets, dome, doors and other parts of the structure. During the demolition of the mosque, the municipal representatives and police supported the attack by not making any efforts to stop the unruly mob.”
Lal Khan Malik, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, said: “This attack occurred during the holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast and are taught to increase their worship, humility and service to humanity. It is incomprehensible that the religious extremists and their supporters adopted violence and desecrated a House of God with active support of police and local authorities during the holy month of Ramadan.”
PTI news agency reports:
Islamabad: Sunni extremists in Pakistan have demolished a historical mosque belonging to the Ahmadiyya community in Punjab province, the latest attack on the minority group in the Muslim-majority country.
A persecuted minority sect, the Ahmadiyya community was declared non-Muslims in Pakistan through a constitutional amendment in 1974 during the tenure of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
The latest mob attack took place in Sialkot Wednesday night.
As the local municipal administration started demolishing a private property of an Ahmadiyya follower, about 600 miscreants demolished the nearby mosque later.
Ahmadiyya spokesman Saleemuddin said in a statement that the mob launched the attack at about 11 p.m. and it continued till 3 a.m. (local time).
“The place of worship and the house that has been demolished by the mob in Sialkot have great historical significance for members of the Ahmadiyya community all over the world,” he said.
The police kept on watching the vandalism and did nothing to prevent the attackers, Saleemuddin alleged, adding that it shows the state institutions have surrendered before the elements that are exploiting in the name of religion in order to fulfil their vested interests.
“Ahmadiyya places of worship have been under attack in the past as well, and so far not even a single culprit has been brought to justice,” Saleemuddin alleged.
Ahmadiyya people are not allowed to call their place of worship as mosques.
Former president General Zia ul Haq had made it a punishable offence for Ahmadiyyas to call themselves Muslims or to refer to their faith as Islam.
The community is also banned from preaching as well as from travelling to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage. They are also not allowed to publish any material propagating their faith.
Members of the community in Pakistan have often been targeted, including in terror attacks.