A few days ago over 100 Ahmadiyya graves were desecrated in Lahore by a gang of men who overpowered and beat up a security guard and undertaker before vandalizing the site. This is just the latest incident in a pattern of persecution in Pakistan, where the Ahmadi are the victims of systematic discrimination and demonisation.
The Ahmadi branch of Islam dates back to 1889. Its followers are viewed as non-Muslims or heretics by some Muslims, partly because they acknowledge a prophet later than Muhammad (Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) whereas most Muslims view Muhammad as the final prophet. Another difference from more mainstream Islam is the fact that Ahmadiyya has a spiritual leader, the Khalifa, who recently had a meeting with Boris Johnson in which he described some of the pressing problems faced by the Ahmadi in Pakistan.
Although Ahmadi Muslims face serious problems in many Muslim countries, it is in Pakistan that the persecution has probably been most severe. Pakistanis are forced to renounce Ahmadi teachings before they are allowed a passport, and anyone who identifies as Ahmadi is not deemed to be a Muslim. This is just one example of the violent attacks routinely suffered by the community in Pakistan, a man shot while attending his brother’s wedding.
In the UK there are also tensions between the Ahmadi community and more mainstream Muslims. Some have branded them, not just non-Muslims, but apostates as well. However some mainstream Muslims are happy to cooperate with the Ahmadi. Tell Mama identifies them as a minority within the Muslim community who may be vulnerable to attack.