Norwegian Pakistanis’ treatment of Ahmadiyya Muslims in Norway is a shame

Norwegian Pakistanis ignore the human rights of Ahmadiyya Muslims. Hate speech against Ahmadiyya has become commonplace, writes Naserah Yousuf in this post.

by Naserah Yousuf

Exactly 12 years ago, on May 28, 2010, two mosques of the Ahmadiyya Muslims in Lahore, Pakistan, were attacked simultaneously. The ‘Lahore massacre’ lasted for several hours and ended with 94 killed and over 120 wounded. There were several hundred children and adults in the mosques. The Islamist group Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan took responsibility for this terrorist act.


When the 84 Ahmadiyya Muslims who lost their lives were to be buried, no government spokesmen showed up, nor did anyone from the media. The rationale for this apathy from the Pakistani authorities is the religious affiliation of the victims. Without going deeper into the theological, which is also not on my agenda, and rather to talk about universal human rights, it can be mentioned that the most visible difference between other Muslims and Ahmadiyya Muslims is based on a different interpretation of what happened after the death of the Prophet Mohammad

As early as 1973, Ahmadiyya Muslims were declared “non-Muslims” by the Pakistani state, and in 1984 they were deprived of all religious freedom. This is despite the fact that the Pakistani authorities themselves signed the UN Declaration of Human Rights as early as 1948.

The imprisonment of Ahmadiyya muslims under the infamous blasphemy clauses and targeted religiously motivated killings occurs on a regular basis. Amnesty, the EU and the un have repeatedly condemned this apartheid-like treatment. This vulnerable minority is also the trump card among all ‘religion cards’ drawn by various politicians and religious leaders, who like to play on the religious feelings of the people. Whatever you may be guilty of, there is a very high probability that you will be forgiven by the people if you condemn Ahmadiyya Muslims and their faith. Preferable open in nationwide media.


So what are the conditions here in peaceful little Norway, where all Muslims enjoy the freedom of religion? Let me run a little history for those who may not be aware of how widespread the negative attitudes towards Ahmadiyya Muslims really are in parts of the Muslim population in Norway. Especially among the Norwegian Pakistani share.

In the NRK program Sann er livet from 2007, which takes up the Muslims’ boycott of a shop owned by an Ahmadiyya Muslim, the host mentions that talking to other Muslims about discrimination against Ahmadiyya feels like ‘sticking your hand in a wasp nest’. In the program, Basim Ghozlan, director of the Rabita Mosque, states that he understans that Pakistan forbids Ahmadiyya Muslims to call their houses of worship a mosque. In the same program, we meet the then Secretary General of the Islamic Council of Norway, Shoaib Sultan, who is no an MDG politician. He claims that is is ‘a simplification of the situation’ to claim that all discrimination against Ahmadiyya Muslims is based on sectarianism.

Here I must make a brief but important reminder. In January 2021, when there was a debate on social media about hate speech, prejudice and conspiracy theories against Ahmadiyya Muslims in Norway, it was quiet as in the grave from almost the entire Norwegian Pakistani diaspora, for who wanted to ‘stick their hand into a wasp nest’ ?


In 2016, during a rally in support of the executed Pakistani Islamist Qadri, derogatory slogans were also shouted against Ahmadiyya Muslims. The organizer Imam Syed Farasat Ali Bukhari already in 2013 advised his Norwegian-Pakistani members not to greet, socialize, marry or enter into any agreements with Ahmadiyya Muslims. And in 2018, the reluctance of the IRN led to a blocking of the Ahmadiyya congregation’s membership in the Co-operation Council for Religious and Philosophical Communities (STL). Only when IRN chose to take a break from STL was the Ahmadiyya congregation admitted as a member.


It is not surprising that many great religious leaders with a Pakistani background in Norway are united in their disgust for Ahmadiyya Muslims. During a joint gathering in 2018, in the Muslim Center Furuset, one can in a YouTube video see the well known Pakistani religious leader Muneeb ur Rehman speak for most Norwegian imams in this country, where he brags about Pakistan for having declared Ahmadiyya Muslims as non Muslims. The same Rehman as in Pakistan in 2016 openly called for the killing of Ahmadiyya Muslims.


On YouTube, there is a recording from 2021, from the Islamic Cultural Center Norway (ICC)’s own mosque, where Imam Mian Mohammad Tayyib tells about an inquiry from a “Qadiani” father [Qadiani: condescending term for Ahmadiyya Muslim] who wanted to the son was not to be called a non-Muslim by the other Muslim students at his school in Norway.

Taiyyb replied that Muslims will always call Ahmadiyya Muslims ‘Qadiani’ and / or ‘non Muslims’. In addition, he also warns young Norwegian Muslims not to fall into the trap when they are confronted with the fact that this is not Pakistan, that they live in Norway which is a democratic country with respect for human rights. Because being in Norway makes it even more important to condemn a ‘Qadiani’.


Criticism of religion is completely in line with democracy in Norway, and Ahmadiyya Muslims must be able to tolerate it on an equal footing with all other believers from different religions. Theological disagreements as well.

On the other hand, prejudiced and hateful expressions, contempt and exclusion from those who think or think differently must be cracked down on. All I have recounted of negative events here is just the tip of the iceberg

I understand that neither Norwegian Pakistani politicians nor Imams want to commit political / religious suicide by engaging in a taboo minority. But words have power and create attitudes that are crucial to how a society develops. Remaining passive is possibly more harmful when injustice occurs in already closed environments.

But not everything is dark. There are clearly some brave and positive voices in the Norwegian Pakistani and Muslim community that deserve all the credit. But these unfortunately have to shout even a little louder, more often and longer, so that they are not drowned out by the negative noise from dark men.

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1 reply

  1. The author is from Norway and writes about the situation in Norway. But I suppose it would be quite correct to say that it applies to all other countries as well.

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