Sameen Rashid, London
United we stand… and fall to our knees, in prostration before the Almighty. We stand before Him in Prayer, in rows facing His House. We all bow and prostrate at one command. We are an army, an army of God, a spiritual force. We stand shoulder to shoulder, ready and willing to serve. Prayer is our only weapon, and what a mighty weapon it is! Our policy is of steadfastness and patience. Our goal is harmony in the world. We have our Khalifa, A Man of Peace, who we follow in everything good. We stand united, not against the rest of the world, but for it. That is what we did earlier this after Friday 20th November, one week on from the Paris Attacks. That is what we do today and every day.
Ahmadi Muslims know all too well the pain and suffering caused by fanatical individuals who use religion to hide behind their own agendas. Like many minority communities across the world Ahmadis are persecuted, tortured and even killed for our beliefs. The account of our persecution on governmental level began many years ago, in the 1970s, when the Pakistani government decided, for their own political agenda, that Ahmadi Muslims were not ‘real’ Muslims. By 1980, with Ordinance XX, General Zia ul Haq, military dictator of Pakistan outlawed the community. It was now legal to kill Ahmadis in Pakistan. This hatred, used and manipulated by some leaders in the Muslim World has spread to other countries on the Indian sub-continent, Far East Asia and parts of the Arab World. Our only crime? That we believe in the Messiah, the same Messiah who was prophesised by the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. That Messiah and Mahdi who taught that the days of the Crusades and Jihad are over. Now is the time of the Jihad of the Pen. And yet for some that is a heavy crime indeed.
In Pakistan in particular Ahmadi Muslims have had mosques attacked, and people shot dead. We have faced mobs and riots, burning down our houses. We have endured imprisonment and pain beyond measure. We have been stripped of our human rights, the basic right to proclaim that there is One God and Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him is his Messenger.
Ahmadi Muslims, know what it is like to feel terror and fear. We know how going about daily life can end brutally, like those victims in Paris who were enjoying a meal or a football game. We have sympathy with all those who want to lead normal peaceful lives, but cannot do so because of a few vicious individuals intent on disturbing our peace. We know what it is like to pick ourselves up and carry on, turning only to God for help. We have never retaliated with violence, but with patience and prayer.
Patience in the face of adversity and prayer in the wake of tragedy; that is the only thing that we can send to the people of Paris. It is not enough to express our sorrow, and it is not enough to condemn the attacks. If we can do something effective for the people of Paris, it is prayer, and only prayer.
Ahmadi Muslims may not march or hold demonstrations, or even shout from the rooftops. Ours is the way of our forefathers; quiet, and humble, sincere and heartfelt. But above all ours is a constant. We will not stop when the media tires or when normality takes over and others begin to forget. We always continue to pray for all victims of human atrocities. We see nothing of their faith, colour or creed. We see only that they are human.
May God protect all innocent people everywhere!
May God save humanity!