Islamism,  Pakistan,  The persecuted church

The London-based campaign to hang a Pakistani Christian

Meet Akber Choudhry.

Choudhry is a former Ahmadi, who left the movement in order to become a counter-Ahmadi spokesperson, working with Khatam-e-Nabuwwat, based in Forest Gate in East London.

Channel 4 confronted Khatam-e-Nabuwwat in 2010, identifying them as extremists, following an anti-Ahmadi hate campaign. Channel 4 carries an interview with Akber Choudhry at the end of the clip, asking him questions about the anti-Ahmadi literature that Khatam-e-Nabuwwat allegedly distributed in South London.

Choudhry has appeared on Iqra TV and Al Jazeera as a polemicist against the claims of the Ahmadiyyas. He tends to dismiss Ahmadi concerns about their persecution and lack of voting rights, combining this with his theological opposition to Ahmadis claiming to be genuine Muslims.

According to Choudhry’s blog, regarding Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, he believes there should be “review, and not wholesale abolition, of these laws”. He describes Aasia Bibi as “the illiterate Christian woman convicted of blasphemy”.

Choudhry’s Khatm-e-Nabuwwat organisation has played a major role in the persecution of Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman who faces the death penalty for drinking from a well designated for Muslims only, in Pakistan.

Late last month, the Express Tribune reported that Bibi’s accuser, Qari Salam, was feeling guilty about her, but was “convinced” not to drop charges, by Khatm-e-Nabuwat:

Qari, according to some of his close friends, was now thinking of not pursuing the case anymore and expressed his desire to some of his friends, only to find himself in a difficult situation when activists of a religious organisation ‘convinced’ him not to change his mind.

“We will chase her through hell … don’t worry about the money, hiring best lawyers,” Salam told The Express Tribune, quoting the son of Khatm-e-Nabuwat’s London chapter’s leader.

The leader’s son flew in to Nankana from London after hearing that Salam might not go to Lahore High Court (LHC) when the review petition against Aasia’s conviction is taken up.

Salam himself, however, denied he ever thought of backtracking from his stance.

“How can I change my mind,” he said. “I believe it will bring me a better place in heaven. It gives me pleasure, it is my pride,” Salam told The Express Tribune.

Salam said Khatm-e-Nabuwat had hired Mustafa Chaudhry as counsel to fight his case in the higher court, and were ready to go to an extent to seek death for Aasia.

In response, the admin of Akber Choudhry’s blog on Muslim Identity – quite possibly Akber Choudhry himself – set up an “Express Tribune Watch” page, explaining:

Partisan Qadianis plant stories in such newspapers — the ET in Pakistan and the Newsquest chain in the U.K. and then pick up these lies to further their agenda.

[You may recognise a familiar pattern -Khatm-e-Nabuwwat activists in Pakistan have previously accused Ahmadiyyas of being behind the Lahore attacks, in a hateful conspiracy theory.]

Still other news sources picked up the latest development of the Aasia Bibi story.

Italian newspaper La Stampa reported on Khatm-e-Nabuwwat and Aasia Bibi days after the Express Tribune, adding the following details about the case:

We will hunt her all the way to hell … we will hire the best lawyers, money is no object,” said the son of the organization’s leader Khatm-e-Nabuwat, a Pakistani Islamic group with branches in London and across the UK . The Muslim leader flew to Nankana, where Qari Salam lives, as soon as he heard that Asia Bibi’s accuser may not be testify at the Court of Lahor.

[…]

[W]ithout saying so explicitly, both Rai and his colleague, in defending Asia Bibi, fear for their safety. Khatm-e-Nabuwat and Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool activists threatened not only the lawyers, but also Qari Salam, when it was thought he would withdraw the complaint.

There is evidence that the case against Bibi is being directed, funded and organised from London.

In Pakistan, Khatm-e-Nabuwwat activists allegedly threaten people involved in the case, in order to pursue their goals.

In Britain, Khatm-e-Nabuwwat provides legal and financial support for the case against Aasia Bibi – if the Express Tribune and La Stampa are to be believed.

This information merits urgent attention.

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