The News: by Ayesha Haroon: In Sultanpura in Lahore, a local cleric has taken the state hostage. He is insisting – and the local police is doing his bidding – that an old Ahmedi place of worship in the area should not have a dome.
Why should it not have a dome? Why should the police confiscate pieces of tiles with names of Allah and Quranic words from the place of worship? And according to the news report, the powerful cleric is sending messages to the local Ahmedi community that if they did not listen to him, he will make it difficult for them to live there. Islam abhors persecution and yet it continues to flourish in Sultanpura of Lahore.
The Ahmedis are a distinct group – they say they are distinct – and the norms that they want to follow should be decided by them, not by us. We should not tell them how their places of worship should be like – just the way we should not tell Christians and Hindus, and Buddhists and Jains how their places of worship should be like. Just the way they shouldn’t be telling us how our places of worship should look like. A lot of residential houses have domes to them, the entire city of St Petersburg is famous for its dome architecture. In this confederacy of dunces do we need to get permission from an individual to build domes now?
I have a pottery plate hanging in my house that says “Ya Allah.” Another has Surah Fatiha inscribed on it. So should I now expect that someone, with the local policeman, can enter the premises of my home and take them away? Many words come to mind here.