Ahmadis Arrested in Pakistan for Celebrating Eid al-Adha—Inside Their Homes


Opponents climbed nearby roofs to see what Ahmadis were doing, and claimed they felt “offended.” Meanwhile, Ahmadi grave desecrations continue.

by Massimo Introvigne

Jamia Masjid Ghousia Rizvia, one of the main Sunni Muslim mosques in Faisalabad.
Jamia Masjid Ghousia Rizvia, one of the main Sunni Muslim mosques in Faisalabad. Credits.

Eid al-Adha is an important Islamic feast commemorating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son following a command from God. As all readers of the Bible know, God was just testing the faith of Abraham, and in the end stopped him from sacrificing his son. He sacrificed a lamb or goat instead and, in commemoration of the event, Muslims ritually slaughter the same animals every year, eating the meat and giving a part of it to the poor.

In Pakistan, Eid-al-Adha was celebrated in 2022 on July 9 and 10. Bitter Winter readers are familiar with the persecution of Pakistani Ahmadis. Their movement was founded within Islam by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908). Conservative Muslims accuse Ahmad of having considered himself a “prophet,” whereas Islam teaches that there can be no prophet after Muhammad. The Ahmadi formula for Ahmad, “at the same time a prophet and a follower of the Holy Prophet [ Muhammad],” is not enough to establish their orthodoxy in the eyes of Muslim clerics.

In Pakistan, laws prevent the Ahmadis from calling themselves “Muslims.” Earlier this month, the Ministry of Religious Affairs sent an opinion to the Ministry of Interior clarifying that if Ahmadis “perform Islamic practices” they are implicitly claiming they are Muslims and thus commit a crime.

Mindful of the possible implications, they often perform their religious practices inside their private homes. But this is not good enough for Muslim radicals and the Pakistani police. In Faisalabad, Punjab, rumors spread that Ahmadis were sacrificing goats in their homes, thus celebrating Eid-al-Adha. The Ahmadis’ homes were closed to visitors, but some radical Muslims climbed to nearby roofs and claimed to have seen from them that goas were being slaughtered, an “Islamic practice.” They rushed to the police, which promptly raided the private homes and arrested three local Ahmadis.

That to be offended in their religious feelings the radicals had to climb roofs is somewhat paradoxical, but everything goes in Pakistan when it comes to persecute the Ahmadis.

Graves desecrated in the Gujranwala District. Courtesy of the International Human Rights Committee.
Graves desecrated in the Gujranwala District. Courtesy of the International Human Rights Committee.

Just before Eid, two different graveyards in Talwandi Khajurwali, Gujranwala District, Punjab, were raided by the police accompanied by local ultra-fundamentalist Islamic activists. 53 Ahmadi graves were desecrated.

This is also a continuing phenomenon, as the police claims that by maintaining graves decorated with Islamic symbols the Ahmadis are “performing Islamic practices” too.


Massimo Introvigne

Massimo Introvigne

Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955 in Rome) is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of some 70 books and more than 100 articles in the field of sociology of religion. He was the main author of the Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy). He is a member of the editorial board for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and of the executive board of University of California Press’ Nova Religio.  From January 5 to December 31, 2011, he has served as the “Representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 2012 to 2015 he served as chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty, instituted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale.

source https://bitterwinter.org/ahmadis-arrested-in-pakistan-eid-al-adha/

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