On November 26, Pakistani clerics held public rallies against Ahmadi Muslims, demanding even harsher and more violent laws against them. For decades, Pakistan has legislatively criminalized Ahmadi Muslims—sanctioning fines, arrest, and even capital punishment for any Ahmadi caught ‘posing’ as a Muslim. These hate rallies have spilled over into the UK—where death threats from other British Muslims have prompted the installing of metal detectors at Ahmadi run mosques. A few weeks ago, two extremist Sunni groups—Idara Dawat-O-Irshad, U.S.A. Inc. and Khatme Nabuwwat Center, Inc—held a similar hate rally against Ahmadi Muslims in Springfield, Virginia.

Clerics critical of Ahmadi Muslims are at the center of this violence and discrimination, and demand we accept their claim that Ahmadis are “non-Muslim.” Ahmadi Muslims are, however, very much a part of Islam. The main difference between Ahmadis and other Muslims is that Ahmadis believe in the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Ahmad established the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which was dedicated to reforming Muslims and reviving Islam by emphasizing the core teachings of peace, service, and justice found in the religion and preached by Prophet Muhammad.

Scholars and clerics claim that, because they have unanimously declared Ahmadis as non-Muslim, their actions are not bigoted, and Ahmadis should stop complaining. Some clerics have even gone so far as to call Ahmadis “bullies” for demanding that they stop calling us “non-Muslim.”

Let us be clear: Ahmadi Muslims do not care if religious leaders accept us as Muslims or not. Ahmadis already have validation from the Prophet Muhammad, who defined a Muslim as someone who recites the Kalima, (There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger), which Ahmadis proudly recite. Indeed, to assume Ahmadis are merely upset about being “declared non-Muslim” obfuscates from the core issues at hand – namely, the threat of violence and support for private and public discrimination against Ahmadis created by clerics who accuse us of being non-Muslim.

Let us draw two circles, A and B.

Circle A includes clerics who declare Ahmadi Muslims to be non-Muslim. Circle B contains clerics who accept Ahmadi Muslims as Muslim. Exactly 100% of the persecution Ahmadi Muslims face comes from clerics in Circle A.

Clerics in Circle A should condemn the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims, and work to repeal the apartheid laws under which Ahmadi Muslim suffer in numerous Muslim majority nations. In Pakistan, for example, Ahmadi Muslims cannot vote, say Salaam, call the Adhaan, go to a mosque, go to Hajj, congregate in public, run for office, or even read the Qur’an. Instead, however, these clerics are silent about this persecution. Some clerics in Circle A have gone so far as to argue that no violence against Ahmadi Muslims existsall while they endorse the arrest and murder of Ahmadis.

If the clerics in Circle A have any credibility in claiming that Ahmadis are not Muslims, then why do they hide behind censorship and demonization. In Pakistan, for example, all literature, educational videos, and websites by Ahmadi Muslims—all of which abhor violence and terrorism—are criminalized and those caught in possession of these materials are subject to arrest. This is true in numerous Muslim majority countries including Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and in some parts of Indonesia and Malaysia. The fact these illustrious scholars and clerics, on the one hand, declare the absolute accuracy of their claims about Ahmadi Muslims, all the while violently banning anyone from reading books written by Ahmadi Muslim scholars, especially the books of the Messiah and Mahdi Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, underscores what is true and what is false.

This is history repeating itself. It was not the Prophet Muhammad who banned the Meccan idolaters, it was the Meccan idolaters who legislatively banned Prophet Muhammad—citing their ‘unanimous’ opposition to him as justification. Similarly, it is not Ahmadi Muslims who have banned the clerics in Circle A. It is the clerics in Circle A who have legislatively banned Ahmadi Muslims—citing their ‘unanimous’ opposition to us as justification.

The clerics in Circle A have sat by idly while Muslims in Myanmar, Yemen, Gaza, Central Africa Republic, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Egypt, Kurds, and more all face devastation. They are the same clerics who watch while Saudi Arabia and Qatar fund extremism. They are the same clerics who are incapable and seemingly uninterested in stopping Western military interventionism, the arms trade, and drone strikes.

Muslims constantly and rightly complain about how these clerics abet racism in the ummah, do not give women spaces in mosques, and engage in rampant sex abuse of women and children. But on this one topic of declaring Ahmadi Muslims kafirs—suddenly these cleric must be believed, trusted, and relied upon?  These clerics are the ones whom the Prophet Muhammad referred to as “the worst creatures under the canopy of heaven.”

Ahmadi Muslims are united under a true Islamic caliphate, dedicated to serving all humanity and indeed all Muslims for the sake of Allah and justice. We are serving the needy and oppressed in 210 nations. Right now, Ahmadi Muslims are providing aid to 4,000 Rohingya refugees escaping terrorism in Burma. We are serving Syrian refugees with food, water, shelter, and education for girls. We are helping Gazans with basic aid and education. And we are serving countless more suffering Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide without publicizing it because if we do, the same clerics who demand our death will ban us from even providing aid.

Ahmadi Muslims are fully within our rights to demand absolute condemnation of violence and apartheid against Ahmadi Muslims—and those who refuse to condemn this bigotry and extremism, are in fact bigots and extremists themselves.

If you support justice, then Ahmadi Muslims welcome you regardless of sect, religion, or whether you believe in God or not. No amount of anti-Ahmadi rallies, censorship, violence, or demonization will detract us from following the path of our master Prophet Muhammad.

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