Assaults on Ahmadi Muslims in Bangladesh and Pakistan
Vienna, 15 July 2020. The Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe (FOREF) appeals to the governments and civil societies of Bangladesh and Pakistan to protect members of the Ahmadi Muslim communities in both countries from crimes perpetrated against them, and to take steps to promote religious tolerance.
FOREF is deeply concerned by two recent incidents reported by the International Human Rights Committee (IHRC), which monitors religious freedom issues particularly as they affect Ahmadi Muslims.
The IHRC reports that in the Brahmanbaria District of Bangladesh, the body of a baby girl born to an Ahmadi family, who had died on 9 July at the age of three days, was removed from her grave a few hours after burial in the local government cemetery and dumped on a street. According to the IHRC, the act was committed by a crowd that had been incited by Muslim clerics claiming that Ahmadis should not be allowed burial in the cemetery, despite the fact that it has long been used by Muslims of different sects. Local police were aware of the incident but took no action against the perpetrators. The family of the deceased infant was forced to take the body away, and find an alternative burial site.In Pakistan, in Chak No. 79 of Sheikhupura District, vandals destroyed plaques on numerous Ahmadi graves during the last week of June 2020. According to the IHRC, when the incident was reported to local police authorities, no action was taken. Instead of identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes, the authorities advised the Ahmadi community to seek another place for burial of their dead.
Both of these incidents show the depth of religious bigotry and hatred suffered by Ahmadi Muslims, a problem that appears to be worsening not only in the aforementioned countries, but in others as well. We ask political and religious leaders to forcefully speak out against such acts, which reflect intolerance that has often lead to murders, torture, and discrimination.