As a constitutional kafir I ask, does my religious freedom hurt you this much?

My uncle is an Ahmadi, and under Pakistan’s notorious anti-Ahmadi laws, he committed a ‘crime’ punishable by at least three years imprisonment and a fine

The law states that an Ahmadi who “poses as a Muslim hurts the religious feelings of Muslims”

In the late 80s, three of my maternal uncles spent time behind bars under these same anti-Ahmadi laws for the crime of saying the Kalimah

Thousands of Ahmadis – and every Ahmadi family have their own story to tell – have been imprisoned for their basic religious profession since the promulgation of these laws in 1984

Tired of my friends and family being jailed for their religious freedoms, I am writing this to seek answers

I am addressing you, the constitutionally accepted Muslims of Pakistan

But first some lessons from history

With the advent of Islam in seventh century Arabia, the early Muslims faced brutal persecution at the hands of the Meccan Mullahs

Offended by Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) faith and teachings, they curtailed the freedoms and rights of the early converts

The Muslims were stopped from calling themselves Muslims

Instead, they were forced to refer to themselves as ‘Sabis’

They were punished if caught praying or reciting revealed Quranic verses

They were forbidden from going close to the Ka’aba

They were not permitted to proclaim the unity of God

They were forbidden the profession and propagation of their newfound faith, and the consequences of doing so were dire

Many early Muslims were tortured, many killed and eventually almost all were forced out of Mecca

The feelings of the Meccans were hurt by the religious freedom of the early Muslims, who were considered heretics in their own city

Fast forward to the current age – this tragic story is repeating itself in the same detail in Pakistan today

The Pakistani state claims that you, the constitutionally recognised Pakistani Muslims, are hurt by my religious freedom

As an Ahmadi, I am not permitted to refer to myself as a Muslim in Pakistan, not even in many otherwise liberal publications

The state tells me that this “hurts your religious feelings”

I am not permitted to refer to my place of worship as a mosque because the state tells me that this also “hurts your religious feelings”

I cannot risk being caught reading the Holy Quran or saying my prayer because I am told this offends you too

I cannot say the Islamic creed or Kalimah openly

Apparently, such profession of the oneness of God and the truth of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) message also “hurts your religious feelings”

I cannot use Islamic epithets

I cannot risk saying the Salam openly

I have to make sure I only say it in the presence of people I trust

I cannot risk printing words like Insha Allah and Masha Allah on wedding cards

The state tells me you find this equally distressing

It tells me that you have the sole copyright to these epithets

As a constitutional kafir, I have no right to use such sacred terms

In fact, any statement or act of mine that can remotely be interpreted as “posing as Muslim” hurts you in one way or another

And for hurting your feelings, the state believes I must be punished with at least three years in jail on top of a hefty fine

Given the number of things that offend you, ladies and gentlemen, I suppose I need to be grateful for many things

I must be grateful I was allowed to keep a ‘Muslim name’ while in Pakistan

I suppose I must be thankful for wearing a prayer cap on occasion which did not provoke your anger

I should be thankful that my family aqiqas (birth celebrations), nikkahs and janazas (funerals) did not offend you as much as my Eids did

Or maybe they offended you but you were kind enough to let me get away with them

Thank you very much

Now that another of my uncles is in jail for hurting you, I am writing to ask you this – why the hell are your feelings so fragile and insecure? What is wrong with you folks? The state has jailed another Ahmadi in your name

So if you are truly hurt by the exercise of my basic religious freedom, let me know how I can help you get over your troubled sensibilities

One thing you should know for sure is that it will not stop me from reading the Holy Quran or saying my prayer or believing in Islam

If my freedoms do not hurt you and the state is lying in your name, then you must protest these crimes

It is your moral responsibility to do so because it is you the state is punishing me for

Let the state know you do not endorse this injustice

Let it know that your faith is not so insecure and your feelings not so fragile that my basic freedoms would shatter them to pieces

Your voice can help put an end to the senseless state-backed persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan

Your voice can prevent another of my friends from going behind bars

Speak up

Date:07-Apr-2015 Reference:View Original Link