Islam

Italy, the Great Ramadan Scare and the Need for a “Mature Secularity”

A public school’s decision to give its students (many of whom are Muslims) a day off for Eid al Fitr has generated unnecessary controversies.

By Alessandro Amicarelli — On March 17, 1861, with the proclamation made in Turin of the newly established Kingdom of Italy, the result of the annexation of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies to the Kingdom of Sardinia, the first phase of united Italy began. It was a new sovereign state with the House of Savoy at its head and the Roman Catholic religion as the state religion.

Religious Freedom starring at the National Peace Symposium 2024

On March 9, 2024, in London, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at (AMJ) hosted the 18th National Peace Symposium. Among the many guests were Alessandro Amicarelli, Chairman of FOB, and Marco Respinti, member of FOB's Advisory Council and editor-in-chief of the academic publication The Journal of CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions) and the CESNUR project  Bitter Winter: A Magazine on Religious Liberty and Human Rights.

Thirty years of activities of the "Italian Islamic Religious Community" (COREIS), with a memory of Shaykh ‘Abd Al-Wahid Pallavicini

On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, an important conference on interreligious dialogue was held in Milan, Italy, at the State University, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the "Italian Islamic Religious Community" (COREIS), with the participation of scholars and representatives from the Jewish, Christian and Islamic worlds.

Government faces ire for opposing Women’s March in Pakistan

By Aftab Alexander Mughal — Civil-society organisations, including women rights groups, condemned the government minister’s proposal to ban ‘Aurat (women) March.’ Conservative politicians and a section of the media are also supporting the said proposal. Various women’s marches, rallies and events are scheduled to be held on 8 March on the International Women’s Day.

Something is changing in Pakistan

In the following article, Aftab Alexander Mughal, director of Minority Concern Pakistan, informs us of the position taken by the authoritative Council of Islamic Ideology against the violence for blasphemy that shamefully bloody Pakistan, fueling the hope that ignorance and superstition will give way to the knowledge and respect of the dictates of the Koran.

RUSSIA: "Foreign agents", "undesirable organisations", and freedom of religion or belief

by Victoria Arnold — Russia has used increasingly strict legislation on "foreign agents" (a term which has connotations of spying) and "undesirable organisations" to curtail, complicate, or prohibit the activities of organisations which promote human rights and monitor their violation, including that of freedom of religion and belief. This "indirectly affects the people human rights defenders stand up for", says Aleksandr Verkhovsky of the SOVA Centre for Information and Analysis (branded a "foreign agent").

Controversy about the adoption of a Muslim child by a Christian family

The case concerned the decision by the Norwegian authorities to allow the adoption of a child by a foster family against his mother’s wishes. The mother, a Somali national who had moved to Norway, did not ask for her son’s return as he had spent a long time with his foster parents, but wished for him to maintain his cultural and religious roots.

Criminal law and religious factor in multicultural societies. Interview with Prof. Fronzoni

Prof. Vasco Fronzoni, is an extraordinary Professor of Muslim Law and Islamic Countries at Pegaso Telematic University, L'Orientale University in Naples and Ca' Foscari University in Venice.

We interview the professor on a topic that is currently arousing interest: "Criminal law and religious factor in multicultural societies. What Criticalities?"

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.

World Day Against Death Penalty

Our French associated CAP LC (Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience, NGO with ECOSOC consultative status) has signed a letter addressed to to the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to call on OIC member states to uphold their human rights standards by repealing the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy.

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.