Dear friends in the media,
I’m a Pakistani Ahmadi Muslim. I know you haven’t read these three words in a single sentence because of an amendment made to the constitution of our country that precludes the composition of such a statement; legally! Still, I have to be what I am. This trinity of nationality-sect-religion is experienced by most of you but I am the only one who is not allowed to venture in this domain of nomenclature. While many of you can easily be Pakistani Sunni Muslims or Pakistani Shia Muslims or even Pakistan Braelvi Muslims and Pakistani Deobandi Muslims, it’s me who is referred to as a Qadiani or a Mirzai without any difficulty and without even knowing that these titles are derogatory and discriminatory and even offensive in your writings and on your nine o’clock TV shows.
I know you are all good law abiding citizens my dear friends, and the second amendment of 1974 prevents you from calling me an Ahmadi Muslim but does not ask you to label me as traitor, conspirator, Zionist, infidel, apostate etc which you knowledgeably or otherwise often do.
My second concern arose when all of you, yes essentially all, while reporting the barbarous incident of May 28, 2010 called our mosques “places of worship”. Yes they were places of worships where our community members were offering the Friday prayers as the terrorists struck while the Friday sermon was underway. We also offer the prayers of Fajar, Zohar, Asar, Maghrib and Isha in the same “places of worship”. You’ll also be amazed to know that we pray both the Eids there and the building incidentally faces the Holy Kaa’ba in Makkah and has grown a Minaret and a Dome which was visible in the background as they filled the ambulances with the dead bodies of my brothers. But as I said there is a law that has to be followed.
The clause that apparently stopped you from calling a spade a spade was introduced by General Zia in 1984 and now is proudly the Section 298(B)(1)(d) of the Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
I’ve copy pasted this section of the law below:
298-B. Misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles, etc., reserved for certain holy personages or places:
(1) Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation-
(d) refers to, or names, or calls, his place of worship a “Masjid”;
shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Now my law-respecting friends please read the above clause. The law only stops me from calling my mosque a mosque and suggests a three year prison term for this crime. You as a ‘Constitutional and Full Muslim’ are allowed doing so but you didn’t.
I urge you to please get off the band wagon that is being driven by the Mullah Cult and is hell bound. I ask you to please respect my religious sentiments and not act immaturely because further oppressing the already oppressed will gain you nothing.
I have been facing such columns and TV shows, well actually my parents have been facing them and soon my children will be facing the same anchors, writers and analysts. It hurts. Yes it hurts when you flow your blood in the roots of a country to defend it, when you speak for hours and hours in the UN General Assembly to acquire a diplomatic superiority for your motherland, when you sit in the frozen labs of Italy to pin a Nobel Prize to the green flag, when you use your ink and quill to create the best literature and poetry and bring pride to you and all those fellow citizens who side with the pen. If you are who side with the pen my friends then please also be among those who side with it justly.
Citizen of Pakistan | A victim of State and Media oppression | An Ahmadi Muslim
Atif S. Ahmad can be reached at @atifahmads
mein yeh kis ke nam likhun jo alam guzar rahe hein (Obaidullah Aleem)