medium.com: When you visit a mosque, you don’t really expect to go through a fence topped with barbed wire and be greeted with men carrying rifles.
But when it’s a mosque where dozens of worshipers were gunned down and killed five years ago, it’s become necessary.
There are an estimated two millions Ahmadis in Pakistan. They see themselves as Muslims and consider their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmed, a kind of prophet — problematic for most mainstream Muslims, who believe there are no prophets after Prophet Mohamed (PBUH). A 2011 PEW studysays only 7% of Pakistanis believe Ahmadis are Muslim. 66% said they weren’t and 26% refused to answer or didn’t know.
In 1984, the then-president made it a punishable offense for Ahmadis to “practice, propagate or even proclaim” their faith. Hate propaganda is widespread against them today, hundreds of them have been killed, and even their graveyard has been vandalized.
We sat with three members of the Ahmadi community in what they are not allowed to call a mosque. For their safety, they asked I not publish any photos of the space.