Ahmadi Muslims throughout the world remain united and share in the plight of their fellow Ahmadis who are denied their basic human rights such as the right to vote and the right to practice their religion freely in countries such as Pakistan, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. Ahmadis call on the international community to bring these so called democratic countries to account and to ensure Ahmadi Muslims are granted their human rights.
Take for example the case of two men in Saudi Arabia who have been held illegally in prison for two years as a result of being Ahmadi Muslims – an act considered apostasy in some Muslim countries around the world. Despite religion standing as their apparent ‘offence’, the pair have not been formally charged with any crime.
Ahmadi Muslims, whose numbers run into the tens of millions worldwide, believe that their founder, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was the awaited Messiah anticipated by Muslims across the world – a belief that has given rise to the widespread persecution of Ahmadis. In Pakistan, Ahmadis are routinely imprisoned and persecuted under existing blasphemy laws that outlaw Ahmadis from professing and practising their faith freely. Ahmadis have also long been the target of persecution in Indonesia with several recent examples of Ahmadi homes being destroyed and mobs murdering members of the community without provocation.
Apostasy is considered an offence in Saudi Arabia and is punishable by death. The criminalisation of apostasy is incompatible with the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion as set out in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In Saudi Arabia, court proceedings often fall far short of the international standards for a fair trial. Formal legal representation is rarely granted, with Defendants in many cases not being informed of the progress of the legal proceedings against them.
Mirza Waqas Ahmad, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association UK said:
”Today is International Human Rights day and we hope that countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Indonesia reflect heavily upon the human rights obligations they owe their citizens. Islam is a universal religion which advocates, upholds and protects the human rights for all. The persecution of Ahmadi Muslims and other minorities is completely against the teachings of Islam and international law.
”The plight of Ahmadis and other minorities across the Muslim world is a cause of great anguish for the members of our community. Ahmadis are a peaceful people who are known for their loyalty and selfless contribution to whatever country they belong. At the international level, a huge amount of work remains to be done to bring countries who fail in their obligations to account and to transform human rights from abstract promises to genuine improvements to ensure universal human rights are available to all. ”