A peaceful religious community continues to be persecuted, including during the holy month of Ramadan.
by Marco Respinti
Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at (AMJ) (“jama’at” meaning “community”) are persecuted in many countries whose governments refer explicitly and officially to Islam and/or where the majority of the citizens are Muslims, but the situation that the Ahmadis live in Pakistan has become an almost daily calvary.
On April 16, 2023, the Ahmadi mosque in Ghooghiat, a village in the Sargodha Division of Pakistani Punjab, was desecrated. As often happens to Ahmadi mosques in Punjab, the minarets of this place of worship were demolished and the dome smashed. It happened around 11:00 pm. A video recorded on the spot show a band of thugs incited by a mob in the street.
Such disgraceful events can be continuously replicated because the police simply ignore them, in fact encouraging rioters in their vandalic acts. The Pakistani government, both local and central, either tolerates this violence or promotes it by presenting the Ahmadis as heretics.
The Ahmadi Mosque in Ghooghiat was built 118 years ago. It had a deep historical meaning and functioned as a peaceful center of aggregation for the local Ahmadi community. As “Bitter Winter” has reported recently, attacks like this have been perpetrated during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which is supposed to be a period of peace and profound spiritual meaning that every faithful Muslim should observe by fasting and praying.
Assaulting a mosque is always an evil feat but vandalizing it during this special moment of the Islamic year indicates only the wish to fuel hatred against the community which it serves, manifesting a total contempt against this group of believers. What kind of Muslims would in fact destroy a Muslim mosque? Only those who judge Ahmadis unworthy to bear even the name of Muslims, and wish to deprive them of their right to worship freely. Even without entering into an intra-Islamic theological dispute, everyone sees that this is a repellent act, and an obnoxious violation of religious freedom.