Killings at Pakistani mosque stem from intolerance

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The events that unfolded in Lahore, Pakistan, last week ["Militants attack mosques in Pakistan, killing at least 80," news story, May 29] are a frightening reminder of atrocities committed in the name of religion and of how vulnerable we all are to senseless acts that stem from intolerance and extremism.

In this case, unfortunately, the government of Pakistan is largely culpable. Over the years, the government has passed laws that blatantly violate basic human rights and has cultivated an atmosphere of discrimination, hostility and violence against certain groups. The victims of this tragedy are members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

For years the government of Pakistan has condoned the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims. Its laws, which declare that Ahmadi are non-Muslims and make it a criminal offense for them to act or say anything that can be deemed Islamic, have opened the door to religious intolerance and bigotry that can no longer be contained.

For Pakistan's leaders to commit to the fight against extremists and fanaticism, they must first get rid of the laws that promote religious intolerance and incite violence, and that make all religious minorities, Muslim or otherwise, perpetual targets.

Tazeen Ahmad, Potomac

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On the morning of May 28, as I was getting ready for work, I received a text from a friend mentioning the attack against Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan. Although Ahmadi Muslims have been attacked frequently, this attack was unprecedented in the number of people killed and in the site chosen for the attack, a mosque.

Pakistani Taliban members, responsible for planning the failed Times Square attack, murdered nearly 100 members of my community who were gathered for Friday prayers. It is ironic that the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was the first Muslim group to condemn the Times Square plot.

I thought to myself: What would Moses, Jesus and Muhammad do under similar persecution? They bore their harsh circumstances with patience and perseverance. Such was the guidance given to us by our Supreme Head, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who instructed that we wage jihad, not with weapons but with pens, and convey Islam's true teaching: peace.

Attacks on the Ahmadiyya Muslim community remind me of how fortunate I am to live in America where genuine religious freedom exists. As an Ahmadi-Muslim American, I have never been so thankful for being an American.

Tuseef Chaudhry, Springfield


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