Here is the link to the text of my talk last Sunday 3rd April 2016 at Muhammad Anwar Shaheed Day, who was Imam at the UK Lahore Ahmadiyya Centre, 1982-1986. Muhammad Anwar was shot dead on 9th April 1986 while visiting Guyana by a fanatic who believed that by killing an Ahmadi he was conducting jihad and serving Islam.
Also at the same function last Sunday, an article on this incident was read out which was written in 1986 as an editorial by Choudhry Masud Akhtar in The Islamic Review. The text of this editorial is given below.
Imam Anwar Shaheed — The Martyr of Guyana
by Ch. Masud Akhtar
From The Islamic Review, California, USA, June-July 1986
(Slightly abridged version of the original)
Our hearts bleed at the assassination of our United Kingdom missionary, the late Imam Muhammad Anwar Shaheed at Georgetown, Guyana, in April. We hope all sane persons will join us in condemnation of this brutal, pre-planned and conspiratorial murder.
It is tragic that some wolves in the garb of clerics go about in the world of religion even in this era of civilisation and enlightenment. We know of no scripture which teaches murder, arson, looting and rape simply on account of a difference of opinion in religious matters. It is borne out by history that in spite of no scripture permitting compulsion in matters of belief, the establishment clerics in various eras have been sowing seeds of hatred and prejudice in the minds of their followers against their fellow human beings in the very name of God and Religion. Even presently, we Ahmadis and many other religious groups are being persecuted in many lands at the behest and call of the so-called fundamentalists whose ranks are swelled with the pseudo-religionists, the so-called establishment ‘ulama.
Day in and day out, they exhort their ignorant followers to commit criminal acts against those who do not agree with their viewpoint in religious beliefs. Little do they realise that if all religious groups acted on the rules followed by these criminals, then millions of heads, including theirs, would roll in the dust overnight. By their black deeds, they in fact bring their religion into disrepute and do not render any service to God or the religion itself.
Religion, no doubt, is and can prove to be a fortifying force for humanity, but only if the establishment clerics let free the harmonising teachings of the religion, based on love, compassion and understanding. It is high time that the professional priests and establishment clerics, who have hitherto ruled in the arena of religion as more powerful than God Himself, make way for God and the word of God. For the survival of the human race, it is essential that this usurping of power by the establishment clerics in the name of God and the religion should end, or else the religion that they stand for will drown along with them. Today's mankind can ill-afford any forces of hatred, prejudice and divisiveness, even if these be in the name of religion. The hard choice we have to make is between establishment clerical-ism or religion as a force of unity.
For us, the matter is crystal clear. The late Imam Anwar Shaheed laid down his life in the path of preserving freedom of conscience. Freedom of conscience is a gift of God to mankind. Honourable and righteous persons at different junctures of history have preserved this freedom, even by paying the price of laying down their lives. If it was not so, then truth, justice, righteousness and true religion would have been completely wiped out from the earth. If the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, and his companions had not made supreme sacrifices by suffering at the hands of their torturers for the sake of upholding the truth, the world would not have been enlightened by the light of the beautiful teachings of Islam.
Again, Iman Hussain and seventy-two family members of the Prophet’s family laid down their lives for the preservation of the freedom of conscience rather than submitting to the tyrannical forces of injustice. Thus they have lit up the path of human freedom, which serves as a lighthouse for the forces of freedom for all ages. The state and the establishment clerics had joined hands in murdering Imam Hussain and his family members, as they have joined hands against us today. Imam Hussain is a symbol of freedom and righteousness for all freedom fighters, whereas Yazid and his partisan ulama are a symbol of evil and injustice. This war between Hussainiyat and Yazidiyat is an ever-continuing process. We are following in the footsteps of Imam Hussain by being ready to suffer even our lives for the sake of preserving our freedom of conscience and not submitting to the forces of evil. The ultimate victory of the forces of truth and righteousness lies in our willingness to smilingly suffer all adversities and afflictions in the cause of the religion of Allah. The martyrdom of Imam Anwar is just evidence of our convictions and dedication in the cause we espouse. He is just one more victim of Yazidiyat, just another star on the path of Hussainiyat. By embracing death in the cause of Allah, he attained life eternal.
May Allah bless his soul.