Yesterday, when we heard about the gunshots in Lahore, we spent a tense, miserable half an hour trying to track down everyone we knew (particularly from the Ahmadiyya community) to ask them if they were okay. Thankfully, no one we knew personally was injured or killed. As soon as the worries died down, the magnitude of what had just happened hit us in a big way: we had just witnessed yet another hate crime (because we really need to screw each other over now-now-now-now-now). This particular display of brutality is targeted towards a minority group already heavily picked on by religious bullies. The controversy is simple: Ahmadis claim to be Muslim and Muslims (in their undoubtedly superior wisdom) refuse to let them.
Despite drastic increase in Pakistani Ahmadi diaspora over the last thirty odd years, the country is still reluctant home to a large Ahmadi community (wikipedia - should you choose to rely on the old-faithful - puts the number at 4 million). In 1974, Bhutto's government (that obviously had nothing better to do with their time) decided to hold a gathering of eminent religious persons to decide who could (and who could not) be Muslim. Ahmadi's with their suspicious claims of exclusive Messianic sighting somehow lost the race. Zia, in this particular case, carried forward his predecessor's mandate and further promulgated a law that disallowed Ahmadis to 'pose' as Muslims. It was at this point that, I believe, that the Islamic Republic declared the community non-Muslim, announced that their place of worship could no longer be called a 'mosque'. Their call to prayer is no longer the Azan (that *that* you false pretenders) and - during the peak of the lets-all-pick-on-Ahmadi's-period the community is disallowed from greeting each other in an Islamic fashion, publicly reciting from the Quran and evangelical conversion (remember kids, nobody likes evangelists). The truth is, from 1974 till May 28, 2010, the Ahmadi community has endured more victimization than any religious community in Pakistan (although the Christian blasphemy law victims may disagree, but I digress).
Culminating with yesterdays vicious shoot out that killed 70 people and injured 78, the Ahmadi community is no stranger to senseless, brutal violence doled out by their Muslim country-men. According to a particularly painful conversation I once had, Ahmadis are worse than Hindus or Christians because they pretend to be Muslim even when they clearly aren't. Bravo, say I. You've obviously worked out the formula on who-deserves-to-be-victimized-to-what-degree. You're the man, my friend. A narrow-minded, bigoted, stupid man, but don't worry, you're most assuredly the man. It did strike my mind that if what Ahmadis do in their places of worship is not resonant within the hallowed confines of what-is-Islamic, I wonder how what these gun-toting nutcases does, 'is'. And if it is is, I wonder what the Islam they believe in is all about. Because the religion I grew up with would condemn - in the harshest possible words - an unprovoked attack on the innocent.
But clearly your religion has no such silly hangups.
Good for you!