Ahmadiyya Muslim Community welcomes sentencing of the Christchurch shooter as it remembers systemic targeting of its own members
- Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community NZ (AMJ NZ) have survived similar mosque attacks and targeting in Pakistan, however, due to state-backed persecution perpetrators are often hailed as heroes.
This week brought to an end the chapter of the horrific Christchurch Mosque attacks last year on 15th March with the sentencing of the shooter to life without parole. Whilst commenting on this the Imam Mustenser Qamar, said:-
“The harrowing memories of that dark day will live on especially for the families directly affected. Our Muslim brothers and sisters showed great courage and bravery in confronting the terrorist with their victim statements. Though, according to our beliefs, the martyrs will be rewarded, it is often those who are left behind and the survivors who go through the most difficult times.”
Over the past few years, many members of the AMJ NZ have arrived from Pakistan where they have faced similar targeting. One of the survivors of a mosque attack in Lahore in 2010 still recalls the vivid memories of that time and still has multiple scars of bullets in his body.
Whilst being reminded of the systemic targeting of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and drawing comparisons with the recent sentencing of the Christchurch terrorist, the National President of AMJ NZ, Mr Bashir Khan said:-
“We are very fortunate to be living in a country where we have freedom of belief; freedom to worship and hold our beliefs. In Pakistan, due to state laws specifically targeting our community, we do not have these freedoms to peacefully practice our faith. Our members are mercilessly killed and openly boycotted. Signs are even placed outside of shops saying ‘Ahmadis must be killed’ and ‘We do not deal with Ahmadis’. Unfortunately, we do not get justice or the support of the law due to state laws like Ordinance XX.”
He went on to say:
“Recently, there has been heightened threats against community members in Pakistan including targeted killings. Due to the laws restricting Ahmadis from peacefully practicing our faith and the false accusations of blasphemy levelled against Ahmadis, vigilantism leads to the targeting of our members. Recently, a murderer walked in to a court and killed one person, identifying him as an Ahmadi [though he was not]. Yet, this murderer was hailed as a hero and even security forces proudly took selfies with him due to the honour he was getting for this murder.”
He further said:
“Whilst we are grateful for the harshest possible sentence being given out to the Christchurch terrorist, we also recall the sufferings of our own members. Some who have survived and taken refuge in the shores of New Zealand and some who are still suffering on a daily basis without any justice from the legal system or the law.”
Gathering his thoughts, Imam Mustenser Qamar said:
“We hope and pray that Muslim countries like Pakistan can also learn from New Zealand. Not only in the support and love shown by the people, but also the government and legal system ensuring justice reigns supreme. However, due to our faith, we also turn only to God Almighty and seek strength from Him through these difficult times being faced by our community as we come to the end of a chapter in New Zealand.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a dynamic, fast-growing international revival movement within Islam. Founded in 1889, the Community spans 213 countries with tens of millions of members. The New Zealand branch of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was established in 1987.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only Islamic organisation to believe that the long-awaited messiah has come in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) of Qadian, India. Ahmad claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus of Nazareth and the divine guide, whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. The Community believes that God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace. Ahmad’s advent has brought about an unprecedented era of Islamic revival and moderation. He divested Muslims of fanatical beliefs and practices by vigorously championing Islam’s true and essential teachings.