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My Take: New Year’s resolution – don’t get murdered
A man cries as he prays at the graves of the victims from the May Lahore attacks against Ahmadiyya community mosques July 14, 2010 in Chenab Nagar, Pakistan.
January 5th, 2013
04:00 AM ET

My Take: New Year’s resolution – don’t get murdered

Editor’s Note: Qasim Rashid is a national spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. Follow him on Twitter @MuslimIQ.

By Qasim Rashid, Special to CNN

(CNN)–My New Year’s resolution is to not die for my faith. I’d hoped that 2012 would bring a revolution among Muslims and Muslim-majority nations to free oppressed minds.

Yet I find myself still waiting to not die.  That’s the “curse” of being an Ahmadi Muslim in too much of the Muslim world.

Ahmadi Muslims believe Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) is the long awaited messiah and Mahdi the Prophet Mohammed foretold, sent to unite mankind and establish peace. But this isn’t an evangelical piece, so please, keep reading.

Instead of peace, 2012 brought increased persecution in which vigilante murder, unjust arrest and outright discrimination against Ahmadi Muslims continued. A new type of persecution also increased, from which even death is not an escape.

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On December 3, armed extremists destroyed 120 graves belonging to Ahmadi Muslims at a cemetery in Lahore, Pakistan. When I condemned the attack on Twitter, the response from some was just as ignorant. “You’re an infidel! Stop calling yourself a Muslim!” “You’re causing Fitna (or chaos) stop with these infidel beliefs!” Across Pakistan, Europe, Indonesia—and yes, even here in America—this is reality for Ahmadi Muslims.

I get it.

Some Muslims aren’t thrilled that Ahmadi Muslims believe the messiah has come because they expect Jesus, son of Mary, to literally descend from heaven. Ahmadi Muslims believe the Quran is clear that Jesus died a natural death many years after surviving the crucifixion.

But this isn’t about persuading anyone to believe us. Instead, it is about confronting Fitna’s actual source and recognizing the biggest poison for Muslims worldwide: religious bigotry.

Sometimes that bigotry is peripheral. The other day I tweeted a quote from Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison praising the head and Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, “… under (your holiness’) leadership the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been a true blessing for us here in the United States." Like clockwork I lost a dozen followers.

Sometimes that bigotry is disguised as a compliment. “You’d be such a good Muslim, if only you weren’t a Qadiani,” someone once told me in person. Qadiani is a pejorative for Ahmadi Muslims.  The “compliment” reeks of patronization, is actually an insult, and ignores the shocking possibility that perhaps I am a “good Muslim” because I am an Ahmadi Muslim.

Sometimes that bigotry is direct. “You Qadiani mother--er! You will burn in hell for your beliefs! You godd- Jewish agent I’ll kill you!”  No comment.

The above religious bigotry I can handle. When some of the above sometimes turns to death threats, I can only foolishly hope my wife doesn’t find out. (She has this funny thing where she doesn’t want her husband brutally murdered. I know I know, women!)

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

But sometimes that bigotry is full-blown state-sanctioned persecution and violence. Like in certain Arab states where Ahmadi Muslims are incarcerated and deported for the crime of being an Ahmadi Muslim. Or like in Pakistan where simply claiming Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the messiah is a criminal offense warranting capital punishment for the use of derogatory remarks in respect to the Prophet.

No exaggeration—as we lawyers like to say—that’s the black letter of the law. Fortunately, no Ahmadi Muslim in Pakistan has been executed for this crime, yet. But is it anything less than an execution when the Taliban murders 86 Ahmadi Muslims in broad daylight and the police, who admitted to knowing of the attack beforehand, look on from afar?

Look, I’m not looking for special treatment. Nor do I want sympathy. But I do want one thing for the sake of humanity: That Muslims condemn all forms of religious bigotry—peripheral, patronizing, direct and violent. While this simple request is what’s right, some turn a deaf ear, despite Prophet Mohammed's pluralistic example.

Ahmadi Muslim Islamic Sect has appealing message for U.S. politicians but has global enemies

Mohammed championed religious equality in the Charter of Medina he signed with Jews. He assured protection of religious freedom in his letter to Christian monks at St. Catherine’s Monastery. He also afforded all Arabs carte blanche forgiveness when peacefully retaking Mecca—on the single condition that religious freedom reign free. Even Prophet Mohammed's rules of war were specifically designed to protect, not persecute, religious freedom.

Every Ahmadi Muslim, Shia Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Baha’i, Sikh, atheist, agnostic, pagan—and the list goes on—has that fundamental human right to religious freedom. Establishing that right creates the peace and mutual respect we all ostensibly want.

I say ostensibly, because when it comes to religious freedom in too much of the Muslim world, I’m still waiting to not die. I’ll continue to wait, alongside millions, until Muslims recognize religious bigotry for what it is—a cancer—and expel it from their midst. Yet, my in-box will reflect that this simple plea has, for some, fallen on deaf ears.

Well, I guess I better not slack on my New Year’s resolution.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Muslim • Religious violence

soundoff (687 Responses)
  1. JennyTX

    Everyone thinks their own religion is "right" and all others are "wrong", proving all religions are nothing but theories.

    January 5, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • POD

      Theories is one word for them....Fantasies is another

      January 5, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Hello

      Religions are political tools..
      Read Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill for the details

      January 5, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      POD – I believe that delusion is the technical term.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  2. kindness

    let's everyone just be nice to one another and not hate each other or call each other idiots

    January 5, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Go back to watching Barney®, The Purple Dinosaur. Thanks.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Hello

      So you are saying we need to stop throwing our dogma books at each other? and play nice? now that's not fun.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  3. BillyBob

    only those who are against Christians and Jews would consider this crap to be news worthy---why does CNN only support Islam and no other religion--sorry forgot that islam is just a cult

    January 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Your religion is a cult, also, hypocrite.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  4. empresstrudy

    We're liberals; this is yet another Zionist Jewish lie.

    January 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Max

      You're quite stupid, as well as being anti-semitic, aren't you, bigot?

      January 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  5. Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

    "I’d hoped that 2012 would bring a revolution among Muslims and Muslim-majority nations to free oppressed minds."

    IDI0T! The oppression comes from your religion! Religion can only be accepted by an oppressed mind, or one which has no substance.

    January 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  6. palintwit

    I predict that someday soon the town of Wasilla, Alaska will become as big a tourist attraction as Graceland. It will be renamed Sarahland and every Tea Party Patriot south of the Mason- Dixon line will gladly pay $25 or $35 for the chance to tour the trailer park where Sarah Palin lives. They will also get too see the actual outhouse where she takes her morning dump.

    January 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • BillyBob

      great clown posting--you are indeed a low information person

      January 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Hello

      is it true it is painted in pink camo?

      January 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  7. olo7jo

    Dear Qasim,
    Thank you for sharing your take on the religious bigotry and persecution you face. I share your hopes and would only add that through voices and leadership such as yours, with the freedoms and relative safety we all enjoy as Americans, that one day the leaders of Islam throughout the world will share your perspective on this issue. On that day, the world will be a much better place.

    January 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      The world will be a better place when religion dies.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Hello

      humanity will be a lot better off when the k!11 the gods and let the people live in freedom of thought

      When all the people believe that all the gods are just Invisible Pink Unicorns.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  8. POD

    If there is one common thread in all main stream religions it is this......Believe as I believe or I will torture and kill you.....I don't think that this is God's Message.

    January 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Hello

      pick up any Jewish rooted mythic dogma book and that's pretty much what the all say.

      Any myth of god that requires a torture of death threat can be pretty sure to be a lie and a fake.
      The truth does not require a death threat to believed.. but a lie does.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  9. Hello

    Neil Tyson. is awesome..

    http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/

    January 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  10. chedar888

    Some Miuslim Facebook friends are among the best humans I ever know. But for some reason, their faith seems to turn them becoming suddenly unreasonable. I can't fathom. Like any other faith, ll Quran an the Bible or other religious scripture is subject to one's interpretatin. Unless you have a clear mind, the scriptures can b skewed.

    January 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Hello

      that goes with what all the myths are burdened with.
      there are just a few pearls hidden in the chitz... the problem is getting past all the chitz to find them.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      If you had a clear mind, you wouldn't fall for religion BS.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  11. Sherri

    It is other Muslims that he has to fear the most from. They kill each other constantly. Sunnis kill Shiites and vs. vs. So it is his fellow Muslims that he has to fear from.
    As for them ever allowing any dissention, I don't see that happening. Islam does not allow any freedom of thought. Islam says that if you leave Islam, you must die. Even if you return to it later.
    And any of us who do NOT believe in Islam, are considered infidels and according to the Koran, we too must die.
    Their belief is: conversion, submission, death. There is no room for religious tolerance. It does not exist in Islam.
    And is predominantly Muslim countries, if you are not Muslim, you are either: considered a dhimmi, (second class citizen) or killed and your church is burned/bombed. Look up dhimmitude. Learn what it means.

    January 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  12. anotherangryman

    "..don’t get murdered" That's a familiar theme for those who run into "mainstream Muslims," it seems. Religion of peace? Religion of peices..

    January 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • anotherangryman

      I mean, how dare a sect of Islam dare promote non-violence and rational thought...

      January 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Religion reinforces the absence or dismissal of rational thought.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  13. bigdumbdinosaur

    Astrology and religion: both havens for fools.

    January 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • POD

      You forgot to include politics

      January 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    Muslim damned crap:

    God in Quran says, (holy Islamic scripture)

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    ‘They said, "You have to be Jewish or Christian, to be guided." Say, "We follow the religion of Abraham – monotheism – he never was an idol worshiper." [2:135]

    “Proclaim, He is the One and only GOD. The Absolute GOD. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him." [112:1]

    The Messiah, son of Mary is no more than a messenger like the messengers before him, and his mother was a saint. Both of them used to eat the food. Note how we explain the revelations for them, and note how they still deviate! [5:75]

    It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    O people, here is a parable that you must ponder carefully: the idols you set up beside God can never create a fly, even if they banded together to do so. Furthermore, if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it; weak is the pursuer and the pursued. [22:73]

    They do not value God as He should be valued. God is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.[22:74]

    If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess. [Quran 6:116]

    “There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in God has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. God is Hearer, Omniscient.” [2:256]

    “God: there is no other god besides Him, the Living, the Eternal. Never a moment of unawareness or slumber overtakes Him. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. Who could intercede with Him, except in accordance with His will? He knows their past, and their future. No one attains any knowledge, except as He wills. His dominion encompasses the heavens and the earth, and ruling them never burdens Him. He is the Most High, the Great.” [2:255]

    January 5, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • .

      Another Troll Alert this poster is only trying to get hits for their website, they are a troll and not a real Christian, don't bother clicking the link!

      January 5, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • TJ

      I bet you hug and kiss your mirror for hours each day, while listening to your recorded voice tell you how great you are.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Hello

      holy krap is still krap no matter how you package it or what kind of cover you put on it.... it still stinks... and needs to be buried with the f00ls who created it.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Frank

      Do me a favor. If you're some uneducated, ignorent, gomer, that dont know crap about Islam, never met a muslim, never went to a masque, never read the quran or had it Interpreted by a muslim scholar, stop talking about something you dont know crap about. stop pulling quotes from the quran without its context or proper Interpretation, stop talking about a religion that you learned about on FOX news, or the internet.. if you dont know shut the heck up you ignorent, bigited fools!

      January 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Akira

      It is readily apparent that religious bigotry isn't confined to Muslims; indeed, look at this fine example of an ass hole in motion...pimping out your website...wh.ore.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Mark

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y2Or0LlO6g&w=640&h=360]

      January 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  15. Frank

    Murder and oppression is the heartbeat of ISLAM

    January 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Avni

      You don't know anything about Islam. Your just a troll, and that's truly all you are.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • TJ

      @ Avni: Sorry, but Frank is no troll. He just stated his view. Nothing more. And from what Islam has shown the world, it IS nothing more than a hateful, violent religion that is a grave danger to this world... to any community, to any civilization. Simply calling someone a "troll" when you dislike what they say is childish – totally, and completely.

      I don't believe in killing all muslims. But I do believe in "containment". They should not be allowed to enjoy the freedoms we have, until they learn what peaceful coexistence with others who differ from them, means. Round' em up, put 'em all together, and let them beat and maim one another.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  16. Adrian

    Reminds me of being a Mormon in Christian society though I don't have concern that I will be murdered by other Christians.

    January 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Dave

      The comparison to Mormons is apt, but it's the fundamentalists who murder these guys. Even then, though, Christian fundamentalists only go as far as to call Mormonism a sect and not a religion. You've got to wonder what would happen if Christian fundamentalists ever did gain the same control over our government that Muslims do over theirs. God knows the Christians would love to have that power. Hopefully they never get it.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Julie

      You're punishing yourself enough just by being a mormon.

      January 5, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  17. Ismail

    Not sure what this guy is talking about, but no where does it say in the Quran that jesus died in a natural death. Ahmadiyas are the ones who decided to deviate from the religion of Islam. Issa (Jesus) was raised up alive by god. He will descent from heaven at the end of times.

    January 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  18. Rainer Braendlein

    @Universe

    Thank you for the crap from the Koran which you wrote. You spared me from doing that in order to prove that the Koran is very Anti-Christian, also Anti-Jewish.

    Possibly Muhammad exerienced something bad when he met Christian of the Eastern Roman Empire. He draw a wrong conclusion. He thought Christianity would be the reason for their misbehaviour but it was not. The reason for their misbehavoiour was their lack of faith in Christ. The problem of the Eastern Christian of Muhammad's time was not that they did not believe in Allah (this supposed Muhammad) but they did not believe in Christ (they were only nominal Christians).

    Today we have a simalar situation in the West. The Muslims see our sinful lifestyle and accuse Christianity for that but in fact it is our lack of faith in Christ which causes our corruption.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    January 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • .

      Really you believe your own nonsense huh?

      Rainer Braendlein

      Nimmerfallstrasse 74

      81245 Muenchen (Munich)

      Germany

      e-mail: braendlein@web.de

      January 5, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • .

      Troll Alert this poster is only trying to get hits for their website, they are a troll and not a real Christian, don't bother clicking the link!

      January 5, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      I hope I will not get a Muslim Christmas box with explosive content.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Joe

      The world in which Muhammad came to be was riddled in PAGANISM, not nominal Christians. The religious revival he led was not an attack on Jews and Christians, specifically, as he preserved their own religious freedom within the Muslim community in Medina/Mecca as well as acknowledged how Jews, Christians and Muslims are all People of the Book who believe in the same God. I am a Christian, and personally believe that your point about the West is true- that we have lost sight of Christ's message and example. But to say that Muhammad was anti-Christian or anti-Jew under the implication that he wanted to eradicate them off the face of the earth is simply false. Muhammad understood Christians and Jews to be misguided, in need of restoration, not as objects of persecution. The early Muslim community during M's time was pluralistic by nature, requiring the efforts of all subjects to thrive.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Max

      "I hope I will not get a Muslim Christmas box with explosive content."
      I hope you do.

      January 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  19. Alfredo

    All religion is man made nonsense. There is no such thing as Allah or Heaven or Hell. The Koran takes ideas from Jewish and Christian "holy books". Mohammed was anything but a prophet.... Nothing new from the "newest religion". Not that it matters because none of it's real anyway. Islams biggest problem is that their religious blind devotion exhorts the false belief in an imaginary paradise. Muslims need to improve this world. An imaginary Allah can do nothing.. Instead of Islam filling this life (the only one) with sectarian hate they should be making it the best it can be. You certainly don't need fictional books written thousands of yrs ago to tell you how to live a successful and happy life. Only the individual dictates their own path....

    January 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Nayan

      All religions are for betterment of human... Its Human who made religions like Politics .. anybody who Practice religion in true way they truly get Prosporous... I am Hindu and I had many misconception about Isam until I get to know what is true meaning of Islam... and How great was Muḥammad ...

      January 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Hello

      mamh-nut was a pedophile and a mass murderer... not a good role model for humanity.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  20. chief

    I am against any persecution of any person for their religious beliefs. My question is why did the Ahmedi Muslims accept Islam when it clearly forbids any inventions and additions to Islam. Islam also says the Messiah will be prophet Jesus...

    January 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Hello

      Chief.. Read Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill.. that will clear up a lot of the questions you might have on the Roman Christian myth.
      As for Islam... its just nuts... for nuts.... Borg Brainwashing... stripped out the human brain like a vacuum cleaner and puts in crazy mythic garbage... Arabs were the leaders in science, math and discoveries until Is-chitz was forced on them. Neil Tyson has a great speech on YouTube about the fall of the Arab people when Is-Chitz took them over. There was a muzzy nut job who declared that math and the use of numbers was anti- all-a nut job- and from that point on, the Arabs brains turned to mythic Borg brainwashed mush. Mohommand the NUT has done more damage to the Arabs and others then anyone can imagine. He and his myth has caused nothing but death, suffering and delusions for those who are unfortunate to be caught in its brain drain garbage.
      You do not need to believe in the supernatural to be human... or to be a happy human... you need to be real and honest with yourself and others... until we all get in our heads.. the Age of Supernatural Stupidity will RAGE on... and on.

      January 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.