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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!)

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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. Jokesterer

    Which religion doesn't suck?

    January 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Chuck

      Can't think of one at the moment...

      January 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      How about the religion of self? As in love thyself and others as thyself?

      January 5, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  2. jamesdusch

    This religious extremism will not stop until you educate your people.

    January 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      To believe or not to believe for the noblest deed is to conceive,,,, !

      January 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  3. Kibitzer

    The Ahmadiyya's overwhelmingly supported the creation of Pakistan and then migrated to it in large numbers .................... that surely came back to bite them in the butt!!

    January 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • SayAsIs

      Sad, but these days even Bangladeshis are faring better than Pakistanis even if they are offset by floods every year. Pakistan is a showcase example of what a nation on Islamic steroids looks like

      January 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  4. Amadu Turay

    Am a Muslim and I do not pass judemnent on anyone. However, making resolution is not not part of our religion. Making a resolution is following the Western world way of life. The muslim new year has passed and we made no resolution but asked Allah for guidance, protection and good health. Because He knows what our destination would be. Also, I would like to know where in the Quran that Allah stated that Prophet Jesus died?

    January 5, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • SayAsIs

      Yeah following anything and anyone other than the 7th century arab pedophile prophet who at 54 years used to daily $exually abuse a 9 year old, is wrong. Why don't you follow your prophet fully and be a mass murderer and highway robber like him?

      January 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I'm pretty sure it's not so much a "New Year's Resolution" as it is a statement about what he believes garnering him the 'death penalty' from those who believe in an extremely similar way. You know, preservation of one's own life and all that. "Not wanting to die" isn't something you should fault someone for. Just think if most other muslims wanted to see you dead because you believed slightly differently than they. You'd want to 1. live, and 2. not have your "brothers" so upset with you. Correct?

      January 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  5. Swati Bajpai

    I can totally understand what the writer is talking about. I met a taxi driver in Chicago who related all these problems faced by ahmadiyas in pakistan and it was an eye opener. Would u believe the only nobel prize winner from pakistan was from the ahmadya sect and pakistan refuses to own his glory.
    It was all the more of an eye opener as in india ahamadiyas, bohra muslimsetc live without being victimised.
    The bottom line is religion is something very personal and should be kept like that. Its as personal as me liking a curry and a chinese liking his noodles. Religion is nourishment for soul, to give guidelines to live a productive life and nothing more. My food could be posion for somebody else so i have no right to judge or condemn anybody as long as they are not causing any pain to others. The biggest sin is to hurt somebody's heart.

    January 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  6. Some Guy

    This is just another example of a majority oppressing a minority. If Ahmadi Muslims were the majority, they would be doing the same thing to other side. I have no confidence that the author is any different than the oppressors.

    January 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Standup Philosopher

      I don't agree that this is same as oppression of minorities. Minorities may get discriminated against due to petty nepotism which is human nature.. Murdering them is different. It reeks of hatred towards them which in this case is driven by some religious dogma formed thousand years ago.

      There are many examples in the world where minorities live peacefully although they may have some economic disadvantages.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  7. Name*John

    In America people have many, many, many different beliefs. Some of my best friends believe in aliens. It's hard to imagine that in some parts of this world you can get killed for believing in aliens...

    January 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Ever hear or know about 'illegal aliens'? Hell, even legalized aliens?

      January 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  8. lionlylamb

    A compassionate conscience has a semi-lucid conscious awareness to believe in altruistic memorandums outside the common folds detriments regarding forsakenness issues. The powers that be dares shoulder their dualistic socialisms pandering of issuances toward the negating of unwavering socialists thru civilities in tenured bites of moralism's nurtured for progressively ordinated standups leaving startup resonances resonating as trailers of lowballing sanctimonies bequeathed with dire regularities pre-ambled pro-commonwealths. There then; eat, drink and be; for nevermore to sound off justly as a done deed bares little but a tasking virtue asking more than a little and getting nothing in returns gained.

    January 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Hey, Liony – have you met Rainer?

      January 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  9. Stopit

    Stop misusing the word "vigilante." Vigilantes are people who enforce laws and exact justice on their own, not rampaging bigots and terrorists who kill Ahmadi Muslims and burn down their homes and places of worship.

    January 5, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Stopit

      I am referring to the phrase "vigilante murder" found in the article.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Inigo Montoya

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • Standup Philosopher

      Vigilante behavior always start with noble intentions and turns gross before you know it.. Reason is Vigilante's gain power in the name of good then abuse the gained power

      January 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  10. Fairuz

    I enjoyed the article. I am a Muslim that does not claim to belong to any sect. My guides are the Qur'an and Sunnah; not Muslims' opinions or beliefs. When I first converted to Islam, I knew I had to separate Islam from Muslims. Muslims are not perfect nor all knowing. I have a friend who is an Ahmadi Muslim. He told me how when he was performing Hajj he was detained and questioned heavily about the religion. He answered those questions and the judge stated he could not be thrown out of Saudi Arabia. My friend had the Islamic knowledge. The Creator of All Worlds is the Judge. I don't have time to debate who is a real Muslim or who is not when I have trouble waking up for Fajr prayer. I have to better myself as a Muslim instead of condeming others who state they are Muslims. Last point, for all those who haters of Islam, I am a proud American-Born, Military Vet, Taxpaying, Voting, Gun-Owning Muslimah and I love my Christian friends and family. This country is about the right to choose..remember that!

    January 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • SayAsIs

      Good, as a woman you must be really proud of the 54 year old pedophile prophet who used to daily $exually abuse a helpless 9 year old in the garb of marriage.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • SayAsIs

      You talking about right to choose really sounds hypocritical. You must know in Islam there is no right to choose after becoming a Muslim. If you leave Islam and try to exercise your right to choose you will be murdered.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  11. M.Delroba

    Sorry,but you r as a Muslim as Bahai people claim to be Muslims.....Ahmadiyya are just as bad as Babi or Wahabi,,,or Salafis........
    just like Mormons who think they r Christians .....

    January 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • frank

      Come on, Delroba – everyone gets to pick a fairy tale.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  12. Navajo

    We Natives don't want Islam here and in our tribal communities. We have our own religious beliefs, ways and values that have existed for thousands of years. We don't need that here. We had enough of religious persecution, religious bigotry and genocide actions based strongly on Christianity. Islam is spreading in the world like a viral epidemic and needs to be controlled. It is dangerous wave despite what the various sects say. The part of killing non-believers in the Koran, justifies their genocidal intentions and greed for the world's resources.

    January 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Kat

      Muslims would not have mass murdered your ancestors and stole all your lands.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      How do you know that, Kat? That's exactly what they did throughout other parts of the world. Islamic Imperialism.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Kat

      no they didn't. They saved many minorities from extinction such as jews and coptic christians when ruled by other empires

      January 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  13. Kat

    where is CNN reporting on daily hate crimes against Muslims IN THE US? check out loonwatch web site

    January 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Bubba

      Its called justice. Go back to the middle east you dog.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  14. Kat

    where is CNN reporting on daily hate crimes against Muslims IN THE US?

    January 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  15. Mohammad A Dar

    branching off from its original base, be it a criminal organization, or religion are not taken lightly by its loyal followers, and that is your problem Mr Rashid

    January 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      No, it's the problem of the "loyal followers" who are so childish, narrowminded, ignorant and stupid that they have to resort to violence against a former follower who no longer believes their brand of BS.

      January 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      @Attack, you can't call people resort to violence " childish, narrow minded, ignorant and stupid", that's what they are, gang members, it's one of the hazards of going against core belief of violent groups

      January 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  16. sally

    The intolerance stemming out of the Muslim world in large part is endemic because they are not taught freedom of thought in the schools. There is no separation of church and state...this is a recipe for religious bigotry. This is not just true of Muslims...it is true of all the religions where growing minds are brainwashed to think certain ways in parochial schools. As long as this goes on, there will be war and violence against those who do not believe the same way.

    January 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Kat

      you don't know what you're talking about

      January 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • sally

      Kat, I think I do know what I am talking about!

      January 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • siva

      Sally, If you knew 'muslims' you wouldn't reason with them. Their 'brains' cannot think beyond their holy book. Everything they do has to be sanctioned by their religion. You have no 'idea' how blind they are because of their religion.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
  17. bobcheese

    so you're saying muslims not only hate other religions but hate their own branch-offs of their religion too. wow.

    January 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Keeping it Real

      Yep, just like Christianity did when it was around 1400 years old (and before)...

      January 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Same as the Christians. Northern Ireland? Nasty, nasty, nasty. A thousand and one Christian sects, each claiming to be the ONE true form of Christianity.

      It's like a couple of kids in grade one arguing over which made-up superhero is better.

      January 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • rosethornne

      Otters vs. Atheists, fighting over the One True Spelling, end of the world.

      January 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @ rose: is that Aaron Spelling or Tori Spelling?

      January 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Albert

      Just like how some ultra orthodox Christians rag on Catholics and Mormons for not being real Christians. Don't pigeonhole this on Muslims. Basically.... it's human nature that sucks haha.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  18. Kick

    Seriously CNN, you way want to consider finding real and useful news instead of bringing up anti-Muslims news every day for God sake mind your own business and bring up more news out of US damn it...

    January 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Bubba

      Why write anything pro-muslim? They are a like a disease.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  19. inspiration for the atheist

    Just an advise: stop believing nonsense and you won't get murdered. If you believe you can fly, and jump off a bridge, what's the likelihood of you surviving?

    January 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Jess

      This article is about respecting others and their religions. If everyone stopped trying to push their religous views on everyone else, think of how much better this world would be. But you sir, are anti that, you sir are exactly what is wrong with this world. Narrow minded hypocrites will be the death of us all. Do us all a favor and stop seeing hate in everyone who doesn't beleive exactly what you believe, and start learning respect. You don't have to like what others say or preach just respect them. At the end of the day I'm pretty sure all our Gods are ashamed of what the human race has become.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  20. Khaled Anntar

    Mr. Ahamedi, you are wrong. Neither the Muslims nor the Christians will recognize Ahamediya because it is falsehood and mere distortion. The Christians that you are living among them will not recognize you because you simpley came up with a completely different person than Jesus to be the Savior and Messiah who is going to lead the believers. Muslims will not recognize you for the same reason and also for distorting the meaning of the Quran and the message of the prophet Mohammad. Luckily Christians and Muslims agree on not recognizing you. Your are outcast because you are choosing so. And you will remain outcast until Jesus come down from heaven to destory the castles of evil, wickedness, darkness, distortion and disbelief. AlHamdiya distorted the message of the One God, Allah, the ALmighty... The message that Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishamel, Jacob, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad has taught to believe in the One God.

    You are outcast and will remain outcast until the day you dwell in your graves , the first steps of your judgement day. Don't be afraid of death. If you truly believe you are on the true path, then your probable violent death is no more martrydom and way to your heaven. Death will come either peacefully or naturally. Be worried more about the sudden and natural death than the violent death. Once you are within the arms of death, there is no way back; there is no chance for you to change your mind about what you used to believe in. Hence there is a chance for you now to reconsider your life and your false beliefs while you are still alive and enjoying the blessing that God has bestowed upon you. Think of the message of Ibraham who called for the worshipping of the one God. Currently Alhamdediya calls for the the worshipping of their final leader. You spend tremendous amount of time talking about your belief and who you are but not a minute to call for the One God.

    While I was giving out prochures about the One God in downtown Seattle, I met guys from AlHamediya giving out prochures about Alhamdediya and the final Mirza Ghulam Ahamed. You are spreading falsehood and lies that have been discredited by the Torah, Bible and Quran. Your spending your times preparing for the coming of Mirza Ghulam Ahamed. Definitely someone will come but it will not be Mirza Ghulam Ahamed. Your falsehood will go down the drains the same way the waste does......

    January 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Anna

      Dude, just shut up.

      January 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • doughnuts

      Congratulations on proving him right.

      January 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Dude: what Anna said.

      Shut up.

      January 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Akira

      How very tolerant of you. Not.

      January 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Hey – he's spouting a bunch of silly garbage on a public board – which he is ent-itled to do. However, by choosing to do so, he opens himself up to criticism. Some readers (Anna and I) realize that one cannot enter into a rational discussion with such a religious nutbar, and so sometimes the most cogent and compelling response is simply to say: Dude, shut up.

      January 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Jess

      This article is about respecting others and their religions. If everyone stopped trying to push their religous views on everyone else, think of how much better this world would be. But you sir, are anti that, you sir are exactly what is wrong with this world. Narrow minded hypocrites will be the death of us all. Do us all a favor and stop seeing hate in everyone who doesn't beleive exactly what you believe, and start learning respect. You don't have to like what others say or preach just respect them. At the end of the day I'm pretty sure all our Gods are ashamed of what the human race has become.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Dr Matrix

      How is it that your belief/faith is anymore valid than someone else's. No religion has all the answers, yet they all have value. If you base your position on the Bible, please bear in mind it has been edited several times to keep the masses in line with the church's desires. Also remember that organized religion and churches are creations of humans to honor a supreme being. Since humans are flawed our religions are flawed. It is time to accept our brothers and sisters of all faiths and learn from our differences.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • AvdBergism source of filthyRainerBaelndleinism©

      Only by Christianity absurdity of a Christian, hindu and pagan. Filthy Christian Captain Crunch dog. Filthy pagan hindu pig dog. Filthy Randy Jackson dog. Filthy hebrew national beef dog. Filthy Ron Jeremy foot-long dog. NO DOGS!! Who let them be out? Goons all! Quran means nothing else but path of triple abdullah absolute quantified. please visit ahmadinebinpaid.com/blog.html and click on word Choice to open file. But turn virus protection off before.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Alfred Prufrock

      Khaled, please leave Seattle and go some place else far away. We already have too much intolerance here in the Pacific Northwest (which we are trying to confront), so your message of hate is simply not welcome here. The various Muslim communities around Puget Sound are outstanding members of our community because they don't endorse hate; you are obviously from out-of-town. Washington State is for lovers; heck, anyone can get married here! Yay love; nay hate.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Bubba

      Your god is a false god and your prophet is a child molester.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • tiron

      what are you doing in US. dude? Go back to your native country, whatever it is: Pakistan, Afganistan, or any other place where people are prosecuted for their beliefs! Why did you come to America? To spread your hate and intollerance? The people here are eight centuries ahead of the world that you came from. People here are not facinated by the idea of fighting the"infidels". They learned to live in peace with each other...They do not care whether their neibour worhips Jesus, Allah or an elephant god.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Irfan Haqqee

      You are living in the dark ages my friend. From my personal experience, I can say that Ahmadis/Qaadiyanis are the most peace loving sect of Muslims. You should be grateful that that they bring some respect to the tarnished image rest of the Muslims have created for themselves by their extremists views and actions. Just try to live like a normal person and let others live their lives too. While Ahmadis prove themselves to be good Muslims with their actions and behavior, rest of the Muslim world is stuck with their outdated beliefs and not making an iota of progress. What makes you so proud to be a Muslim I wonder. Prayers five times a day, Fasting, Pilgrimage, long beards and robes?!! Those are mere rituals and make no difference to the rest of the world community. Bring me a handful of honest Muslims leaders who are honest, from the billions of believers you claim to be, and I will commend you.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • jamesdusch

      All I have to say to you Is when you understand why you dismiss any other possibilities than your own, you will understand why I dismiss yours.....

      January 5, 2013 at 2:28 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.