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.
About this blog
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.
What is the actual religion of today?
Main thing you are an artful fellow who makes profit even on the cost of his or her neighbour (workmate, customer, boss, etc.). Nobody is interested in what you confess with your mouth, main thing the Sign of the Beast is visible on your right hand and on your forehead (evil works and thoughts).
Islam and Catholicism are dust; now comes the Antichrist. Good night world!
As a Christian – I love all mankind – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, etc. To not love everyone would negate the idea of Christianity. I challenge anyone to actually read and study the bible before making statements that are completely ignorant. You would be surprised at what you will find. It clearly says to love your neighbor as yourself and that anyone who hates another man has never known God. It also says that God is pure love. Jesus is not God, he is the son of God and God's mouthpiece while he was on the earth (God's word). The concept and reason of Jesus Christ coming to earth relates to blood sacrifices that the Jews performed for years using animals. Christ's blood and sacrifice was the last blood sacrifice and covers all sins for all men who declare in their heart and with their mouth that Christ is who he says he is. The story of Christ is beautiful but can only be seen as such if you understand and comprehend the many factors that relate to his story.
Please direct me to the place in the bible where it says that Jesus is the son of God. I may have missed that point. Based on my readings, it indicates that Jesus himself never described himself as the son of God.
Footage of a Syrian Opposition Demonstration in which participants sing an Al Qaeda song reminscing upon the 'sweet memory' of the 9/11 attacks and praising Bin Laden as their leader. This isn't the first time the song has been featured at opposition demonstrations at which Al Qaeda flags are commonplace.
Basic Verse translation of the song in question which is a well known Al Qaeda hymn.
"If they call me a 'terrorist', I would say: 'It is an honor for me'
Our terror is praised, with a divine calling
Our leader, the Mullah (Omar), did not forsake his religion
All the soldiers have sold their souls to Allah
Our leader bin Laden, America's worst nightmare
With the power of faith and our weapons
We destroyed America with a civilian plane
The World Trade Centre was turned into a pile of rubble
SEE VIDEO: youtu.be/vsq5ZRir-0k
Atheism is the only path to religious peace.
No. Atheists are intolerant of religion. Only tolerance is the way for religious peace.
NotGod, your statement is intolerant of atheists, most of whom are quite tolerant of religion. More tolerant than the average religious person is, anyway (of other religions, of course).
I wish you well and hope you find peace on our angry world.
Waiting until Muslims recognize religious bigotry is not enough. You must demonstrate outrage, teach the truth, gather support to counter radical Muslem. I you sit on your hands, you sit on your feet.
Also, this is the only article I learned anything from this week...and feel disheartened learning one more version of religious persecution in our "modern" world.
How did you not know such a thing? You were home schooled weren't you?
No James, since retiring from religion, I haven't tried to give it much thought...my knowledge base is elsewhere. Thanks, though, and no, I wasn't home schooled. Looking for similarities, not differences. Also, not a huge fan of passive aggression.
Oh....duh....I was talking about losing followers over Government communication.
This young man is obviously an Islamophobe, and for good reason.
Hmmm a muslim that is an islamophobe? I guess it could happen. He is afraid of the other sects of the muslim world. You know the muslims the religion of peace and tolerance, well peace only if one accepts their particular sect of islam and tolerance, well only if you strictly adhere to sharia law and don't make enemies who will then use sharia law to punish you.
I don't know what it will take for the world to understand that islam is firmly stuck in the 7th century and its goal is to convert the world no matter the method it takes. Until islam goes through several reformations it will continue to be a danger to all.
Ah, the religion of peace.
Christianity doesn't have the best track record as far as peace goes either (persecution of fellow christians, auto de fe, crusades against fellow christians, outright religious war, etc). I remember someone, I don't know who, saying that you should remove the beam from your own eye first.
I wanted to note the following: Today many Westerners feel some reluctance against Muslim foreigners, guestworkers, etc. in their countries. I think, that has nothing to do with the attacks of the Islamists. Many Westerners are well educated, and can distinguish between an harmless ordinary Muslim and an Islamist. The issue is more the superalienation of Western cities by Muslim people. Here in Munich I encounter so many Turks and Arabs that I sometimes think I would live in Mecca or Istanbul. Don't I have a right to meet Germans in Germany? This is yet the problem. And here it comes to the real Antichrist which is worse than Muhammad and the pope together . The Antichrist needs Muslims as cheap slaves or human robots for his factories. The Antichrist even dares to establish a somewhat moderate Islam which fits into our civilized world which the stoneage-Islam of the Koran would not do.
The Antichrist commits an intergalactic crime when he calms down the Muslims with a moderate kind of Islam because what they actually would need would be God's Gospel of his divine Son Jesus Christ, born by the Virgin Mary, co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit.
Is there anyone at all on this forum qualified to interpret gibberish?
"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. "
Where exactly do these people believe any messiah descends from? We know what Space is now. We know above our heads into the great beyond, there is no magical heaven. God doesn't exist, there is no messiah ever to have come or to come. Foolish people with foolish notions.
@ BS Detector:
It is up to those making a particular claim to prove the claim. As in the American courts, the burden is on those asserting particular facts. Capiche?
the proof is here
Read Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill
This is what religions do. If, for some reason, Ahmadiyya Muslims became a majority in Pakistan, thoughtful folks like you would be marginalized and replaced by hateful bigots doing the same things done now to you to the former majority - in the name of Ahmad. The best you can really hope for (short of largely abandoning religion, of course) is that your country can develop the sophistication we Americans have where we (for the most part) just use political and verbal persecution against religious minorities.
I wanted to note the following: Today many Westerners feel some reluctance against Muslim foreigners, guestworkers in their contries. I think, that has nothing to do with the attacks of the Islamist. Many Westerners are well educated an can distinguish between an ordinary Muslim and an Islamist. The issue is more the superalienation of Western cities. Here in Munich I encounter so many Turks and Arabs that I sometimes think I would live in Mecca or Istanbul. Don't I have a right to meet Germans in Germany? This is yet the problem. And here it comes to the real Antichrist which is worse than Muhammad and the pope. The Antichrist need Muslims as cheap slaves for his factories. The Antichrist even dares to establish a somewhat moderate Islam which fits into our civilized world which the stoneage-Islam of the Koran would not do.
The Antichrist commits an intergalactic crime when he calms down the Muslims with a moderate kind of Islam because what they actually would need would be God's Gospel of his divine Son Jesus Christ, born by the virgin Mary, co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit.
There is no such thing as an anti-Christ.
Thing? You mean person, or?
I am not sure if this is a single man or just the sum of our political leaders of today.
You peebs need to figure it out and finally settle your scores. Because the rest of the world is losing patience with you're 7th century rivalries. Much more of this and I don't think the non-muslim world will tolerate Islam for that much longer. i sense a new "Crusades" happening and this time it might be final
I just want to say I was happy to read this article and I share the authors hopes. It is upsetting when people use religious text, that they rarely actually understand, as a wepon to justify there angry words or actions. It is equally upsetting when angy, ignorant bigots try to cast millions and billions of people under a single misguided stereotype. Your angry words only show your ignorance. I have studies several religions over the years and I have yet to find one lasting religion that started from a place of anger or hate. I also have yet to find one that calls on all it's followers to play God. Yet, I read these comments and they are so utterly hateful and pathetic. If you don't believe in God, fine – what is so pathetic about your life that you watse the time and energy hating people that do? If you do believe in God, when exactly did you have a 2-way conversation with God where God told you that you were a profit? Either way you are nothing more than a hypocrit. If you use your religion as a justification to condemn others than you are playing God – something nearly all religionstend to look down on. If you don't believe in God, then you should not care at all if other people do becasue in the end it makes no difference to you?
I believe in God – but man-made religion is the one of the greatest contributors to violence and murder in the world. Keep it to yourselves and mind your own business! Especially the Muslims.
Religion is a cancer, any religion, it's all the same. Religion poisons everything, always has, always will.
Muslims feel they have a bond with Allah that is more "real" or more"correct" than other faiths. The same is true of Christians, Jews, etc. who all believe that their revelation is superior. Else why belong to one faith over another? Because of this, all religions are really an us-against-them mentality. Calls for world peace and unity are really just saying "As soon as everyone else realizes how right we are and agrees with us, then there will be world peace." [Read "The Heathen's Guide to World Religions" for more].
Say Bill, it seems you have an incomplete understanding of Islamic teachings. The Quran does not take the position as being superior to the other two religioins. Quran is a logical evolvment from the teachings of the other two. The Quran merely updates the Torah and the Bible and overall, perfects Man's religious teachings. Go in peace.
William, nor does the modern Roman Catholic religion. I grew up in a Catholic household in Canada and I was never taught by my parents, priests during mass, or religious classes, that our religion is in anyway shape or form superior to any other religion. On many occasions, in our parish bulletin and during eulogies there would be discussions of other religions and their beliefs in a positive light. Organized religions have their problems of course, but the suppression of religion is not the answer, not in the name of science or anything. The tolerance of all religions is the answer.
Say Dick, you just proved Bill's point.
Dave.. you need to review those 10 commands..
do not put any OTHER gods before me.
pretty much is a declaration that the christian god is above all the rest..
Which in its self is a declaration that there ARE other gods.. which kinda kills the only one god claim.
the Romans were pagans by the way until they created their Christian myth from the Jewish one.
Islam depends upon the Koran and the Hadiths , and Shariah law . Anything outside of that is harram and not allowed . Islam does not have freedom of belief , to believe any version of Islam you may want , like the Christians do , Islam has freedom from disbelief in Islam . Islam is is being a slave to Allah , not mans law . Either you are a obedient Muslim , or an apostate , one or the other . Ahmadi Muslims are heritics and thus not Muslims . They are not Shia nor Sunni , thus , not Muslims . Only Allah and his Mujahadeen will bring them to justice . Inshallah Allah shall have his revenge upon the dis-believers .
Allah is an asshat
Although, I don't believe the Ahmadi interpretations are correct. That gives me no excuse to not respect them. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) preached religious tolerance as the author pointed out. Respect is expected from Muslims in Islam. Even those who do the most hatred acts should not be encountered violent. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) had to deal with slander and threats everyday. What did he do? He ignored them and kept on with his faith. It was only when the Muslims were exiled to Madinah and their existence was in danger when the Muslim community took arms to defend themselves from their enemies (based in Makkah at the time).... Anyways, the point here is that we Muslims are obligated to respect others though we may not believe in the other interpretations or beliefs
Oh My God! You are way off in the outer space. The Quran teaches that people must think for themselves and live their lives in accordance with basic principles. One of which is freedom of belief in the universal law of human interaction. Please read all three books, Torah, Scriptures and the Quran. You are in for a big surprise!
And therein lies the problem. Islam does not believe in freedom of thought or any kind of freedom. I hope other readers read your comments and will finally learn that democracy is not compatible with Islam. Islam, as you say, calls for total submission.
If I had made the same comments as you, I would have been called a liar etc. But you, as a Muslim can say these things. Things you believe. I hope all non Muslims will read your comments so they will finally understand what Islam is and is not. It is NOT freedom of any kind, as WE know it. It is slavery to thought and action.
As for sharia, everyone should Google 'tenets of sharia' so they understand what IT is also. I have done this and it scares me to death. I wish everyone would get off their butts and do some research on it before it takes over the U.S. Some are calling for sharia in the U.S. The so called 'moderate' Imam Rauf in NYC wants sharia in the U.S. You all better learn what it calls for. I have.
yeah we are well aware of that "you are not FREE" idea.
that's why it is barbaric garbage...
Anyone who follows the concept of having a dictator ruler.. either on this planet of some skydaddy is diffidently a nut job.
Only Borg brains need a dictator to tell what to do their entire life...
Free thinking.. you ought to try it.... its amazing... to be free. of mythic garbage and a master.
You know, before this islam krap was forced on your people .. and I do mean forced by the sword ... you Arabs were pretty smart and freethinking people.. but when that mhamam-nut-job injected that Borg mind control mythic krap into your culture... your brains went to mush and you stopped being smart people to be total Borg Zommbies.
For more insight into Islam and the Middle East read novels --
king of Bat'ha by Hashim
Tales from the East by Ivanhoe
both are based on personal experiences over in Middle East.
LALALALALALAL Dancing boy habib.
Religious fundamentalism is a mental disease where you believe you have God's authority to harm others. There are various religious beliefs in the world and any religion that encourages physical attacks on those with differing beliefs should itself be condemned by all the others loudly and clearly.
Religion is the disease (unfounded faith) , and then they offer the cure (salvation).
Religion is not a disease. Extremism is a disease. Extremism can be found in atheism or religion. Without religion, this nation and many other peoples would not have many basic moral codes set up!