By The Art of Misinformation
Earlier this year I posted a report published by the ”Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)” which concluded that currently in Pakistan:
Malice, hatred and discrimination against Ahmadi Muslim students in Pakistan are part of a wider scheme to cripple Ahmadis educationally, economically and socially.
The report went on to say that:
A campaign against Ahmadi students, particularly women students, has been ongoing, especially in vocational and professional institutions, colleges and universities.
Continuing on, the AHRC described a number of cases in which Ahmadi students have been discriminated against purely on the grounds of religion. A staggering fifteen female Ahmadi students and eight male Ahmadi students were ”rusticated” from Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad. For those not familiar with the word rusticate, it means that they were prevented from returning to the college – a de facto expulsion. Describing this incident, the report states: ”The Ahmadi female students were particularly targeted and pressurised to choose between faith and career. All this is an organised campaign, conducted allegedly by the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), a student branch of Jamat-e-Islami, a fundamentalist Islamic political and religious party.”
Another female Ahmadi student in Faisalabad, this time at the ”National Textile University,” was forced to leave University due to intense religious discrimination and harassment. The discrimination in this case was not only directed at the Ahmadi student by other students, but a teacher! Describing this further, the report states:
”One of Hina’s teachers came to know she was an Ahmadi and reacted furiously; He told Hina that she was a Kafir (infidel) and would suffer the consequences. The teacher and his colleagues started a hate-campaign against Hina. Hina’s father complained to the University but nothing was done and sadly, Hina was forced to terminate her studies as she could no longer face the continued hostility.”
The report outlined that the persecution directed towards Ahmadi students in rural areas is far worse. In fact, so fierce that students often hide their identities or are forced to travel to urban schools. And all the while, the Pakistan federal Government is doing little, if anything at all, to protect the rights of Ahmadi children to a basic education.
Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the report was that the IJT appears to have been [allegedly] charged with the wider responsibility of cleansing: …the educational institutional, particularly universities and professional colleges, of Ahmadi students and the staff of the educational institutions are being forced to provide details of the students.”
The persecution of Ahmadis in the arena of education is not limited to students, but also includes the murders of several Ahmadi teachers and academics. In 2009 an Ahmadi Muslim, Mr. Rana Salim Shaheed, was shot and later died in hospital in the Sanghir District, Sindh. Mr. Salim and his wife ran a large and prestigious school in the district. Then in 2010 a retired Ahmadi academic, Professor Muhammad Yusuf Shaheed was gunned down in Rachna Town, Lahore, only because he was an Ahmadi Muslim. Earlier this year, an Ahmadi convert, Mr. Dilawar Hussain Shaheed, a Primary School teacher, was shockingly and mercilessly shot dead in front of his Primary School students while taking a class in his village in Sheikhupura. The vile disdain for life held by members of his village was only matched by their hatred for even the dead as they made efforts to prevent Mr. Hussain’s wife from offering his deceased body for a proper burial in accordance with Islamic rites.
Another area that extremists have attempted to influence is educational syllabi. In 2010 extremists from the Indian region of Utter Pradesh threatened the Mayawati Government with state-wide strikes and further consequences if they did not remove ”Ahmadiyya” from the Social Sciences books used in state schools. It would appear that they wanted to go a step further than anybody else and have the memory of Ahmadiyya erased from the those living in their region. Across in Pakistan a similar theme can be witnessed in Pakistan’s mistreatment of the memory of Professor Abdus Salam (1926 – 1996), the first _______ Nobel Laureate. The first blank space should read MUSLIM, but under a court order the word ”Muslim” was removed from his tombstone and he was not even attributed the status of being a Pakistani by many. Such a childish and uncivilised move, of course, has no impact on the true status of Prof. Salam as both a Muslim and Pakistani, perhaps, even, the most honoured Pakistani Muslim in modern secular history, but does go to highlight the mindset of extremism and extremists.
Any signs of a reduction in this sustained and systematic abuse suffered a serious setback by today’s saddening report in the ‘‘Express Tribune” which published the story of a 16 year old Ahmadi boy who was expelled from his school in Khushbab, Lahore, after pressure from the ugly face, rather, the only face of Aalmi Majlis Tahafuz Khatme Nabuwat (AMTKN). The reporter, who stated that he himself was threatened about publishing the story, wrote that AMTKN also trying to have the two elder brothers of the Ahmadi boy expelled from their colleges also. AMTKN is also attempting to file blasphemy charges against the same 16 year old Ahmadi boy, Rana Sajeel, on the erroneous allegation that he made derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet (Sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa ‘ala aalihi wa sallam) and misrepresenting himself as a Muslim on his school application form – something he completely denies.
As is so often the case with those who froth at their mouths, intent on doing away with the ‘Mirzais’, their actions and sensitivities bare no resemblance to the noble character and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) who is reported as having stated: “A father gives his child nothing better than a good education.” Yet they seek to deny the children of their soil any form of education at all. These extremists are so overtaken by anger and rage that they are now controlled by it and cannot see the grave crime against humanity they are committing. Such human rights abuses towards children, of all of Almighty God’s creatures, is a heinous crime! Compare, for example, their patience and general example to that of the Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) demonstrated in the following narration:
The Prophet (Sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) took a child in his lap … and then the child urinated on him, so he asked for water and poured it over the place of the urine… Embarrassed, the father sprang forward. “What have you done, you silly boy?” he shouted. He shoved his arm forward to grab the child away from Muhammad (Sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), his red face showing his anger. Fear and confusion showed in the face of the child. Muhammad (Sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) restrained the man, and gently hugged the child to him. “Don’t worry,” he told the over-zealous father. “This is not a big issue. My clothes can be washed. But be careful with how you treat the child,” he continued. “What can restore his self-esteem after you have dealt with him in public like this?”
The situation is only made worse by the fact that they target girls. Again, people who claim to take as their role model the Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) who himself stated that: The seeking of knowledge is compulsory upon every Muslim [ man and woman] (Talab al-‘ilmi faridatun ‘ala kulli Muslim)
The example of the Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is, I would argue, wasted on its’ antithesis – namely, the extremists. Perhaps a more realistic conclusion, for their Government at least, is the one offered in the earlier mentioned AHRC report which issued the following challenge to the Pakistani Government:
The Government of Pakistan must do more to honour its commitments to the international charters. Declarations and technical assistance must be provided to ensure that every citizen of Pakistan has the fundamental right to education without any discrimination on account of faith, religion or belief. The Harare Commonwealth Declaration of 1991 made it obligatory for every Member State to provide special facilities for the education and equal rights of women and ensure all women are treated equally without any prejudice or discrimination. Article 26 of the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948) clearly emphasises that everyone has the right to education and it will be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit, which unfortunately is not the case for Ahmadis in Pakistan.
Pakistan is a signatory to UDHR. It is also a signatory to the Harare Declaration and various bilateral agreements to qualify for assistance for the provision of education.
The denial of education to Ahmadi Muslim women and men in Pakistan is a deplorable act which needs to be denounced. International organizations, donors and others who fund the provision and development of education, particularly professional and technical education must ensure that Pakistan faithfully adheres to the word and spirit of the charters and agreements it has signed and create an environment which complies with Article 26:2 of the UDHR which states;
‘Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups’.