01/14/2023MASSIMO INTROVIGNEA+ | A-
Nine were slaughtered in Burkina Faso, five have been charged for blasphemy, as a radical cleric incites Sunni Muslims to “pour petrol rather than water” on Ahmadi houses on fire.
by Massimo Introvigne
On January 11, 2013, terrorists attacked an Ahmadi mosque in Burkina Faso and killed nine. The carnage happened in Mehdi Abad, a village built by the Ahmadis in 2008, near the northern town of Dori. The terrorists took away nine men, including the imam of the mosque, and killed them. The other terrorized Ahmadis were told they would share the same fate unless they stop attending the mosque.
It is difficult not to see in this tragedy a poisonous fruit of the anti-Ahmadi propaganda constantly coming from Pakistan.
There is indeed no peace for the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan. Ahmadis believe that their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who died in 1908, was “both a follower of the Holy Prophet (Muhammad) and a prophet himself.” For conservative Muslims, this denies the Islamic doctrine of the “finality of the Prophethood,” according to which there can be no further prophet after Muhammad. The Ahmadis are thus considered as heretics, and in Pakistan there are laws preventing them from calling themselves Muslims and making them into second-class citizens.
Like all Islamic sects and schools, the Ahmadis print their own editions and translations of the Quran, with comments based on their own theology.
Hassan Muawiya is a cleric from the conservative Sunni Deobandi school who has invented a new profession. He goes around the country and files dozens of FIRs (First Information Reports) with the police asking that Ahmadis be prosecuted for blasphemy, a crime punished with the death penalty in Pakistan.
On December 5, Muawiya registered a FIR with the police of Chenab Nagar, in Punjab, accusing several Ahmadis of blasphemy for having printed an unauthorized edition of the Quran and distributed it to several people, allegedly including minors. On January 7, Muawiya and his associates performed a “citizen’s arrest” of an Ahmadi, Mubarak Ahmed Sani, who was brought to the Chenab Nagar police station, where he is still detained. On January 9, five Ahmadis were booked for blasphemy, and others are under investigation.
At the same time another incendiary anti-Ahmadi sermon by a radical cleric, Syed Muhammad Sibtain Shah Naqvi of Sargodha, was circulated on social media.
Speaking of the Ahmadis, the preacher said that it is forbidden “to eat, drink, sit, stand, doing business, to be with them in their moments of sadness and moments of happiness, to buy things from their shops, to give them things from your shops, to hire them as salespersons.” If an Ahmadi “passes away his funeral should not be offered, if he falls ill he should not be attended, if he is found fallen down on the road he should not be taken to the hospital, if his house catches fire while he is living in your neighborhood, if possible you should pour petrol on it rather than water,” the cleric said. Some in Burkina Faso took him very literally.
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.