An extremist Sunni mob destroyed a mosque belonging to the minority Ahmadi sect in Pakistan’s Sialkot region, the Associated Press has reported. As per a Reuters report, this demolition which included bringing down the dome and minarets of the Mosque was confirmed by the authorities on Thursday.
The assaulted which supposedly started on Wednesday night and carried on until the early hours of Thursday didn’t result in casualties. This mosque – said to be about 100 years old, was already shut down years ago by authorities fearing violence.
As per an Ahmadi spokesperson, a several hundred strong mobs raided the mosque, which also resulted in a clash with local government officials – a claim which has been denied by the police.
A police official claims that officials were dismantling some illegal renovations of the mosque on Wednesday night when an “emotionally charged” mob arrived to substantially destroy the building. A video which seems to be doing the rounds, shows the mob also cheering a cleric who ransacked the religious structure.
A Dawn report puts the strength of the mob at 600 and claims that a major politician was seen thanking the administrative officials for their help in removing the minarets.
The Ahmadi sect has always been looked down upon in Pakistan, a fact which was rubber-stamped in 1974 when the country’s parliament “overwhelmingly voted” to declare the sect as non-Muslims, under the second amendment. As per a Huff Post report, this was brought upon owing to the country’s political brass bending to the will of the religious clergies.
Following the amendment, it is claimed that the radicals found their justification to torture the Ahmadis which includes killing them and later denying them a grave under a “justification” that they can’t be buried with Muslims. As per a Hindustan Times report, the discrimination is so intense that there are instances of separate electoral lists being prepared for the Ahmadis.
An Aljazeera report which claims that the Ahmadis are even barred from using the traditional Assalam Alaikum greeting, pins the discrimination on the fact that this sect’s interpretation of Islam is different from the traditional orthodox stances.
The report also claims that in 2016 at least six Ahmadis were murdered owing to their faith, with a mosque to getting destroyed by a violent mob in Prophet Mohammed’s birth anniversary.
This lack of traditional stances has resulted in the Ahmadis being dismissed as heretics mainly by the Sunni community.
More specifically, as claimed in the Reuters report, the Sunnis are miffed over the fact that the Ahmadis consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – who founded the sect in 1889 as a “subordinate prophet”. This has angered the Sunnis who believe it to be against an Islamic tenet which states that “Prophet Mohammad was God’s last direct messenger”.