“We will beat them, we will lynch them”, they chanted, before setting fire to the Ahmadi factory

With the recent rise of Islamophobia in the United States, most Pakistanis have suddenly become experts on minority rights. My social media timelines are filled with Pakistanis urging the West to accommodate Syrian refugees escaping persecution, and be more accepting of pluralism. I also see my countrymen condemning the Western media for having double standards, and not giving enough airtime to aggrieved Muslims. Many have also erupted in fury over Donald Trump’s recent Islamophobic comments

All these grievances in far-off lands are justified, but an incident here at home on Friday has put our uprightness on these same issues in question once again.

In the darkness of the night, an extremist mob attacked the Pakistan Chipboard Factory and the adjacent residential complex in Jhelum and burnt it down to ashes. The factory belonged to an Ahmadi. The attack was preceded by calls from local mosques asking “honourable (ghairatmand) Muslims” to defend their faith and religion against the “filthy Qadiani” blasphemers.

Someone had accused a worker at the factory of defiling verses of the Quran. Extremist clerics are known for inciting violent mob attacks on minority faith communities based on trumped up charges of blasphemy. In recent years, the Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus have all been victims of such mob violence.

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