The Media – 2008

2008

 

Persecution of the website: thepersecution.org

The worldwide Ahmadiyya community has a website thepersecution.org that it maintains to record, report and comment on the worldwide events of persecution of Ahmadis in various countries. It is linked to the main Ahmadiyya website alislam.org. It is visited by those who are concerned with the human rights situation of Ahmadis in various countries and regions. These include NGOs, government officials, human rights activists, column writers, even Ahmadi-bashers. This site is no longer available in Pakistan. When it is checked the net shows: This Site is Restricted.

No official explanation is available. It is rumored that the Government of Pakistan undertook a drive against blasphemous sites, and availing of this excuse blocked thepersecution. org. Everyone knows that blasphemy is a different phenomenon from reporting persecution. In fact it would make sense to complain of persecution when subjected to Blasphemy and slander. Pakistani officials are known to act illogically under such circumstances. It is common knowledge that promulgation of anti-terrorism laws, in the past, resulted also in the state terrorizing numerous innocents. Also, in the fair name of accountability, many political opponents were nabbed, while many corrupt individuals who co-operated with authorities were rewarded. It is rather sad.

As for entries regarding Pakistan on this site, most of the news are those that are already reported in the national press. The website displays no material that the government notifies ‘classified’. The coverage, in fact, helps those officials who would like to be updated and have the duty to put right various wrongs. This site is of direct relevance, interest and usefulness to human rights departments and authorities in the government.

It makes no sense to block this website in Pakistan, while it remains available to the rest of the world. Pakistan, formally and officially is committed to the freedom of faith and religion. It should retract earliest from the ill-advised action against thepersecution.org.

The website was not available in Pakistan till December 31.

 

The shameless mulla and the retrograde Urdu Press

Lahore and Faisalabad: While it makes some sense that the mulla in 15th century after Hijrah becomes a symbol of obscurantism and bigotry, it is difficult to understand the rationale behind the policy of some frontline national Urdu newspapers to provide full support to such clerics in their unsupportable drives. Nawa-i-Waqt is one such ultra-right daily from Lahore. Hereunder, we quote a two-column news from its issue of April 21, 2008:

The Basketball Championship arranged by Qadianis in Chenab Nagar should be banned.

The law forbids holding conferences and sports tournaments in Chenab Nagar.  Maulvi Faqir Muhammad

FAISALABAD (special correspondent) Maulvi Faqir Muhammad the Information Secretary of the Aalami Majlis Khatme Nabuwwat has demanded of the prime minister, the chief minister, the home secretary and the Agencies that as per Anti-Qadiani Ordinance of 1984, in view of its total prohibition on preaching and publicity of Qadianism, all conferences, meetings and sports tournaments have been banned (Not correct) wherein Muslim players are invited. During the past five years, the Q League government of the Punjab provided protection to Qadianis, did not object to their illegal activities and undertook no prosecution against them, nor registered any criminal cases against those Qadiani residents of Chenab Nagar ex-Rabwah under PPC 298-C who were guilty of violation of the Sha’ar-e-Islam by displaying Islamic Creed and Quranic verses at their offices, homes, businesses and hospitals. He demanded that the Fazle Umar Basket Ball Championship illegally planned for 25-30 April, 2008 at a ground near Sargodha Road, Chenab Nagar, in which Muslim players from all the four provinces are going to participate, should be banned.

What a mulla, and what a national daily! And, what a government; the authorities banned the Basketball Championship as required by the mulla.

 

Ahmadis’ human rights and the national Urdu press – last year’s report

Rabwah: In February 2008 the Press Section of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya issued its annual report (2007) on “Anti-Ahmadiyya news published by the Urdu newspapers”. It gives facts and figures, and makes interesting reading. A summary of its contents, translated in English, is produced below for information and record.

The survey was restricted to only the major Urdu national dailies. “During the year 2007, it remained a daily routine with the Urdu papers to print anti-Ahmadiyya statements and hate-promoting news in bold headlines. On the contrary, no paper had the courage to print Ahmadiyya explanation conspicuously,” mentions the Report. Nine hundred and seventy four such news items appeared in the press during the year. Almost all of these were prejudiced, hate-promoting and false propaganda. The daily Nawa-i-Waqt (Editor: Majeed Nizami) led this band by printing 235 news. The daily Pakistan stood second, and the daily Jang (founded by Mir Khalil ur Rahman) was a close third.

“Mullas are in the habit of making provocative statements. These are published without any verification. As a result, common folk get agitated and inflict physical and costly harm upon Ahmadis,” says the Report.

A few of such headlines whose photocopy is printed in that Report are translated below:

Phalia: Qadiani murdered by a retired police inspector

The Daily Express, Faisalabad;3.2007

The Shariah penalty for apostasy (presumed to be death) should be imposed. Mulla Faqir Muhammad

The Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore; 19.2.2007

The Election Commission should delete the names of Qadianis from the column of Muslims.

The Pakistan, Lahore; 5.7.2007

Joint Electorate is a deviation from the founding principles of Pakistan. (Mulla) Allah Yar Arshad

The Jang, Lahore; 15.12.2007

The Qadiani boycott of elections is nothing but cheap publicity.

The Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore; 17.12.2007

Qadianis are giving Pakistan a bad name abroad. Malik Rab Nawaz

The Daily Express, Faisalabad; 27.8.2007

Qadianis are enemies of both Islam and Pakistan.   Maulana Abdullah Madni

The Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore; 9.9.2007

The authorities should undertake an ‘Operation’ against Qadianis. (Mulla) Allah Yar Arshad

The Daily Express, Faisalabad; 20.4.2007

Qadianis were pampered excessively by the present regime. (Mulla) Shabbir Usmani

The Pakistan, Lahore; 10.4.2007

World Pasban Khatme Nabuwwat will protest today against the governmental backing of Qadianis.

The Asas, Lahore; 10.4.2007

The Qadiani lobby close to the President and the PM is instrumental in deterioration of the national situation.

The Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore; 22.3.2007

Qadianis are the agents and tools of the West. (Mulla) Zahid Mahmud Qasmi

The Asas, Lahore; 3.4.2007

Qadianis are Indian and Israeli agents.      (Mulla) Abdul Hafeez Makki

The Express, Faisalabad; 13.3.2007

Rabwah is the centre of the conspiracy. Qadianis are encouraging Shia-Sunni riots.

The Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore; 1.4.2007

The blasphemous cartoons are Qadiani conspiracy

The Ausaf, Lahore; 16.2.2007

Terrorist attacks are Qadiani conspiracy. Maulana Akram Toofani

The Jang, Lahore; 31.4.2007

600 Qadianis join the Israeli Army

The Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore; 12.6.2007

Qadianis plan to turn Chenab Nagar (Rabwah) into an Israel. (Mulla) Syed Kafil Bokhari

The Din, Lahore; 1.3.2007

etc.

The report contains copy of the electoral announcement by the Ahmadiyya headquarters who requested it to be published, even as a paid ad. The major newspapers who keep on clamoring for the ‘freedom of the press’ refused to publish it.

The Report summed-up in the following words:

Islam is a religion that supports goodwill, tolerance and peace in a big way. This country that was founded on this fair name is drenched in hate and prejudice in the very name of Islam. The result is obvious to us all.

“Pakistan is unfortunately faced with a difficult internal situation. Mutual slaughter prevails. It is therefore essential that true Islamic teachings are presented in Pakistan. The press has an important role in propagating highly peaceful teachings of Islam to the general public in order to promote compassion and peace in society. But if the press that is duty-bound to guide the public on the right path promotes hate and prejudice, and violates its professional ethics, and neglects the soul of this (worthy) profession then the public peace gets destroyed. In these circumstances the country needs support. However, the Urdu press, knowingly or unknowingly, prints sectarian fabricated news boldly. These baseless statements are printed on their front pages by these newspapers…”

 

The outrage on GEO TV channel

On 7th September, a day prior to the murder of Dr. Siddiqui who was the Amir of the Ahmadiyya community of District Mirpur Khas in Sindh, GEO TV aired a live discussion on its ‘Aalim online’ program, commemorating the 34th anniversary of Ahmadis being given ‘non-Muslim’ status by the government of Pakistan. Two mullas participated in the discussion via a live phone link. One was Saeed Inayatulla, a visiting cleric, based in Makka, Saudi Arabia, and the other one was Shah Turabul Haq Qadri. The discussion panel in the studio comprised of two mullas, Muhammad Amin of the Madrassah Banoria, and mulla Muhammad Amin Shaheedi a Shia cleric, and was chaired by Aamar Liaquat, the anchor man. The three participants used highly provocative and slanderous language against the holy founder of Ahmadiyyat and promoted hatred against the Ahmadiyya community. They used the words “blood, Jihad and Duty to kill (Wajib-ul-Qatl)etc. in this context, thereby openly violating one of the laws of the country. Such sectarian campaigns are rarely conducted by clerics through the electronic media, however whenever they have been carried out in the print media or from their pulpits, they have often resulted in bloodshed. Given the troubling sectarian situation in the Kurram Agency, the malicious content of the GEO program amounted to opening up a new battle front.

Encouraged by the lack of attention paid to his offense on GEO by the authorities, Dr Aamar Liaquat wrote an article, which was published in the daily Jang on September 12, 2008. In it Aamar Liaquat not only admitted his sectarian vitriol against Ahmadis, he also wrote that he was proud of it. He based his argument on his ‘love for the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.)’ and insisted that he would persist in his crusade against Ahmadis. A week later, Pakistan experienced its own 9/11 when the Marriott hotel in Islamabad was blown up by terrorists who were motivated by their alleged ‘love for the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.)’. Many innocent people lost their lives in the attack.

Dr. Liaquat’s outrages on GEO were condemned by column-writers and journalists in the press e.g. the Daily Times, The Friday Times, the Pakistan, the Aajkal etc. The International Union of Journalists also issued strong condemnations.

Is there anyone in Pakistan who will stop people like Dr Aamar Liaquat and their sponsors like GEO TV and the daily JANG from inciting sectarian violence?

Except for Mr. Altaf Hussain of the MQM, no other political leader displayed enough courage to condemn these murders. The MQM took disciplinary action against Aamar Liaquat and expelled him from their organization.

Ardeshir Cowasjee of the daily DAWN  wrote a very apt op-ed in the issue of  Sept. 28, 2008:

Lastly, friend Irfan Husain, again writing eminent sense, reminded us of the damage that a free and independent media can do if it is allowed to do so by those who operate channels and by a government that sits idly by and observes without comment or action. An unstable participant, a doctor of sorts, in one of the endless talk shows incited the public to murder those of the Ahmadi faith, all in the name of the religion which guides this country. And subsequent murders there were. Such is the national mindset.

 

A brief report on Media’s role in anti-Ahmadiyya propaganda, for the year 2008

During 2008, the vernacular media showed no improvement in the field of propaganda against Ahmadis. Four national dailies, published from Lahore and other major cities of Pakistan, printed 900 news items against the Ahmadiyya community. The daily Nawa-i-Waqt, the flag bearer of extreme right, printed 465 reports. The daily Jang stood second with 200 entries. The Daily Express stood third, and the “Pakistan” was fourth.

The reports included the following, inter alia:

  • Ahmadis have a hand in the publication of blasphemous cartoons.
  • 600 Pakistani Ahmadis are members of the Israeli Army.
  • Qadiani lobby is active in the detention of Dr. Qadeer.
  • Campaign against celebration of the Ahmadiyya Khilafat centenary
  • Campaign against Ahmadi students of the Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad
  • Support and cheers to the Indonesian government in promulgation of anti-Ahmadiyya law
  • Support to the propaganda that Ahmadis are enemies of Islam and Pakistan

It should be mentioned that Ahmadiyya is the only community in Pakistan against whom the vernacular press undertakes such hostile, false and un-restricted propaganda.

 

Leave a Reply