Articles

Persecution of Ahmadis takes another life in Peshawar, Pakistan

CAP LC — It is with agonizing heart-rending grief that we come to you with the horrible news of the brutal target killing of an Ahmadi Mr. Kamran Ahmad in Peshawar, Pakistan. On November 09, 2021 at around 05:30 PM Mr. Kamran Ahmad an Ahmadi of age 40 years was shot dead by an unknown assailant in Peshawar, Pakistan. He has left behind a widow and 3 minor children. He was an employee at one of the factories on Industrial Estate Kohat Road, Peshawar. He was at work when an unknown man opened fire at him.

When Belgian media wrongfully stigmatize and fail to publish the judicial truth: the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses (2)

HRWF — Human Rights Without Frontiers has identified three well-known TV channels – RTBF, RTL and VRT – and several major newspapers such as La Libre Belgique, La Dernière Heure and Het Laatste Nieuws which have failed to report the dismissal of the case against the association of Jehovah’s Witnesses wrongfully suspected of hiding cases of sexual abuse in its midst and holding so-called internal trials, generally favourable to the alleged perpetrators.

When Belgian media wrongfully stigmatize and fail to publish the judicial truth: the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses (1)

HRWF — Le Soir, La Capitale Sud-info, Bruxelles News, Nieuwsblad, VRT Nieuws and Bruzz who had very imprudently reported in 2018-2019, as a breaking news, the alleged failure of the Belgian Jehovah’s Witnesses association to report sexual abuse in their midst were the only media outlets to report about the 5th October 2021 court decision dismissing the charges against this religious group.

USCIRF Releases Factsheet on China’s Measures on the Management of Religious Clergy

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new report:

China Factsheet – This factsheet provides an overview of the new Chinese government Measures on the Management of Religious Clergy and their adverse impact on religious freedom in China.

Interview with Juliet Chowdhry on the occasion of the launch of Asia Bibi's memoirs

Back in late 2018 we published an article on the release of Asia Bibi after 9 years of imprisonment for blasphemy due to the fact that she, a Christian woman, dared to drink water from a glass of her Muslin co-worker. We are now happy to find that she and her daughters are doing fine and that Asia wrote a book about her experience and the 'awful torture Asia Bibi suffered', hoping it will help Pakistan's Muslims to become more tolerant and to embrace a rightful freedom of belief for all religious minorities in that country.

Belgian Court declared as unfounded false accusation about Jehovah’s Witnesses

Press release of the Christian Congregation of JW/ Belgium (21.10.2021) - On 5 October 2021 the Court Chambers of Brussels declared that there were “no grounds” for the criminal accusations brought against the non-profit “Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses” at the instigation of the Center of Information and Advice on Harmful Sectarian Organizations (CIAOSN).

Minorities denounce the Pakistani government for rejecting the "ban on forced conversion"

By Aftab Alexander Mughal — Religious minorities in Pakistan criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government for rejecting the proposed ‘Prohibition of Forced Conversion Bill.’ The bill provides protection to Hindu and Christian minor girls from kidnapping, forced conversion and forced marriages. The bill proposed the age of conversion to Islam should be 18 years.

Freedom of Religion or Belief of Russian Scientologist affirmed by European Court of Human Rights

By Tabitha Berg — The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has once again affirmed the rights of Scientologists in Russia to practice their religion based on Article 9 of the ECHR Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, announced the Church of Scientology International.

The Persecution of the Ahmadis in Pakistan. 5. Why Ahmadis Cannot Vote

by Massimo Introvigne — Nobody knows how many Ahmadis there are in Pakistan, since many try to hide their religious affiliation for fear of the persecutions described in the previous articles of the series. However, they are in the millions, possibly four millions or five. Enough to be an interesting electoral constituency, and to assert their rights through the ballot box. There is only one problem about this. They cannot vote. From 1947 to 1985, Pakistanis had the right to vote in all elections based on the simple fact of being citizens of Pakistan, irrespective of their religion. In 1985, however, a year after the infamous Ordinance XX of 1984, which we discussed in the previous articles as a statute institutionalizing the persecution of the Ahmadis, the military dictator General Zia ul-Haq decided that, if and when elections will be held, citizens will be divided in two separate electoral lists. Muslims will elect 95% of the members of the National Assembly. Non-Muslims will vote to elect the remaining 5% of the members of the National Assembly, representing religious minorities.

The Persecution of the Ahmadis in Pakistan. 4. “Democratic” Persecution

by Massimo Introvigne — As we have seen in the previous articles, the military regime of General Zia created with blasphemy laws and Ordinance XX the most effective legal tools to persecute the Ahmadis. When at the end of 1988, Benazir Bhutto became Prime Minister, Ahmadis initially believed in her promises of respect for minorities, although they also remembered that her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, before being deposed and executed by Zia, had also enacted anti-Ahmadi legislation. Their hopes were quickly disappointed. Benazir Bhutto did not touch Ordinance XX, and answered international criticism by arguing that several cases were pending before Pakistan’s Supreme Court, and whether the anti-Ahmadi ordinance was compatible with the Constitution was a matter to be solved by the judiciary.

The Persecution of the Ahmadis in Pakistan. 3. The Bhutto and Zia Years

by Massimo Introvigne — As we have seen in the previous articles, after the bloody Lahore riots in 1953, the Ahmadis went in Pakistan through a period in which, while they were still harassed and discriminated, they were somewhat protected from major violence. Things changed with the rise to power of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Educated in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, this wealthy lawyer served as a minister in most of the military-controlled governments that ruled Pakistan since the coup of 1958. In 1967, having been excluded from the government of Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, Bhutto founded a “socialist Islamic” political party called Pakistan People’s Party, whose motto was “Islam is our faith, democracy is our policy, socialism is our economy.” After the ruinous secession of Bangladesh of 1971, and Pakistan’s defeat in the war with India, the military called Bhutto, whose party enjoyed widespread national support, as the nation’s only hope to avoid further bloodshed. He served as President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973, and as Prime Minister from 1973 to 1977.

The Persecution of the Ahmadis in Pakistan. 2. The Lahore Riots of 1953

by Massimo Introvigne — Because of the theological peculiarities discussed in the first article of the series, the Ahmadis were regarded as heretics by the other Muslims and persecuted since their foundation. Their bloodiest persecution was, however, a consequence of the foundation of Pakistan as a state for the Muslims of former British India. The persecution of religious minorities should not have happened, and was not part of the original project of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the father of modern Pakistan. When he was elected President of the Constituent Assembly in 1947, Jinnah promised to the citizens of Pakistan: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the state….

The Persecution of the Ahmadis in Pakistan. 1. Who Are the Ahmadis?

by Massimo Introvigne — One of the oldest and bloodiest persecutions of a religious minority in the world today is targeting the Ahmadis in Pakistan. In this series, we will examine where this persecution comes from and who fuels it. First, we will have a look at who the Ahmadis exactly are.

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908) was born and lived for most of his life in Qadian, Punjab (for which his followers are sometimes called Qadianis). In the years 1880-1884 he wrote the four volumes of the work Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya, intended to show the superiority of Islam on other faiths, and particularly on Christianity, welcomed by many Islamic circles. In 1889, he announced to have received a divine revelation, around which a community of followers gathered.

Statistics about victims of blasphemy laws (1987-2021)

Presentation by lawyer Akmal Bhatti, director of the Minorities Association of Pakistan (MAP) to the press conference “Is Suspension Of Pakistan’s GSP+ Status Overdue?” at the Press Club Brussels, hosted by Human Rights Without Frontiers – Brussels, 9 September 2021

By Akmal Bhatti — HRWF (21.09.2021) Since 1987 to August 2021, 1,865 people have been charged under the blasphemy laws, with a significant spike in 2020, when 200 cases were registered. Punjab, the province where most Christians of Pakistan live, is leading with 76% cases and 337 people in prison for blasphemy. The largest number of inmates is in the Lahore District Jail (60). Also, at least 128 people have been killed by mobs, outside any judiciary process, after being signalled as having committed blasphemy or apostasy, without any chance to have access to an investigation, and nobody has been arrested for their murder.

A New Book on “La Famille”

by Massimo Introvigne — After Suzanne Privat’s book, another journalist, Nicolas Jacquard of Le Parisien, has published a book on the French Christian community of Jansenist origin known as “La Famille” (Les inspirés, Paris: Robert Laffont, 2021). This book is much more ambitious than the one by Privat, the author having performed a considerable amount of work in reading academic sources on the Jansenist ancestors of La Famille. He is also to be thanked for having raised several questions that were not addressed in the previous literature on this little-known subject. The book remains, however, the investigation of a journalist, which is by definition something other than an academic study, and of a French journalist. This means that he shares a certain negative attitude typical of French society, politics, and the media regarding groups described as “cults” or at least suspected of “cultic deviances” (dérives sectaires). This attitude also leads to privilege information coming from “apostates.”

Two Tibetan youngsters detained for chat group in Tibetan language

Tibet Watch — Two Tibetan youngsters named Yang Ri and Guldak were detained on 24 August 2021, in Darlak Township in Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which is governed as part of Qinghai Province. They were reportedly arrested for being outspoken about a recent notification that issued the complete replacement of textbooks in Tibetan with textbooks in Chinese. Local Authorities notified the parents and families about the change prior to the start of the fall semester, stating that from September 2021 onwards, all their children must go to school only with the newly introduced textbooks in Chinese. Photographic evidence received from sources shows police authorities sitting outdoors on the grassland explaining this to Tibetan parents.

The Uyghur Tribunal’s Second Session Launched in London

by Ruth Ingram — The independent Tribunal aiming to examine evidence of China’s human rights abuses against the Uyghur people in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region, opened against a volley of attacks against the proceedings, which the CCP claimed were a “political farce” and “pseudo court” “used by terrorists and anti-China forces to smear China’s anti-terrorist efforts in the Xinjiang region.” Objecting to the aim of the tribunal, which is to assess whether a genocide has been carried out by the Chinese government against its own people, the Chinese Embassy in the UK joined forces with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to jointly condemn the event, slated as “another group of ‘actors and actresses’ getting together with anti-China forces” “in an attempt to offer sensational but fake materials to Western media and make stories about the ‘evil China.’”