Innocent Ahmadis Suffer Brutal Attack
Vicious attacks on a minority group in Pakistan on Friday have left more than 100 people dead and many more injured when gunmen and suicide bombers ambushed two Ahmadiyya Mosques packed with worshippers.
The mosques in Model Town and Gari Shahu in Lahore were simultaneously ambushed by anti-Ahmadiyya terrorists armed with grenades, rifles, machine guns, Kalashnikovs, suicide vests and more than four kilograms of explosives. The terrorists attacked while more than 2000 Ahmadi worshippers gathered for Friday prayer and opened fire on them.
Ahmadi witnesses are saying that the mosques were covered in blood while many recall hearing shots fired into the mass of people while they lay on the ground trying not to move.
BBC reports that two teams of heavily armed attackers - seven men in total – coordinated the strike minutes apart. They seized hostages and apparently planned to fight to the death. Three died when they detonated their suicide vests causing massive damage while two were captured by Ahmadi members.
The violent raid continued for more than four hours with Ahmadi worshippers trapped inside the mosques with the dead and wounded and limited police support.
The head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, condemned the terrorist attacks during his Friday Sermon.
“The terrorist attacks that occurred today at two of our mosques in Lahore were completely barbaric and alien to all forms of humanity.”
His Holiness added that “No form of terrorism has any place in Islam and thus those who were behind these attacks may justify their acts in its name, but let it be clear they are Muslim only in name and never in deed.”
The attacks are the culmination of years of un-policed persecution of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which has more than 5 million members in Pakistan. In 1974 legislation was passed that declared Ahmadis to be ‘non-Muslim’ and in 1984 further legislation was passed in which the practice of the faith was outlawed. At regular intervals since then Ahmadis have been attacked but Friday’s attack is the most cruel and barbaric. All Ahmadis, who are based in 195 countries, are peace loving and tolerant people but are continually targeted by extremist factions.
AFP reports that the day after the attack the mosques was still scattered with broken glass and stained with blood and human flesh on its green carpet and walls. Around 93 graves have been dug in Rabwa, a nearby Ahmadi town, however the planned mass funeral had to be cancelled due to continued security threats.
The local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which recently launched the Maori translation of the Holy Quran, is in deep mourning with several members having lost loved ones in the attack.
Mr Mohammad Yaseen, a New Zealand Ahmadi Muslim, lost close family in the raid on Friday and was devastated by the attack.
“My family and I stayed up all night following the news and just praying that everyone will be ok, I just can’t believe- it’s just so terrible.” Mr Yaseen said.
Mr Yaseen lived in Lahore for many years before moving to New Zealand in 2002 and remembers the level of persecution he faced while living in Pakistan.
“There is no freedom,” he said. “You can’t pray openly, you can’t call yourself a Muslim, you can’t perform everyday Muslim practices in public because you never know what could happen. The Government has declared us non-Muslims which has created a breeding ground for attacks just like these in Pakistan.”
Since March last year, the Ahmadiyya Community has had to endure several conferences of hate, inciting the public to kill Ahmadis, stating that they are “worthy of death”. Anti-Ahmadiyya actions such as these have resulted in several deaths across the country.
President of the local Ahmadiyya Community, Dr Mohammad Shorab said at a gathering yesterday that there is no justification for this type of behaviour.
“An unprovoked and unjustifiable attack like this on a community that lives and breathes their motto ‘Love for all Hatred for none’ is truly heart breaking.” He said.
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