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August 14th, 2009

Lahore Ahmadiyya Head demands freedom of religion in Pakistan — broadcasts khutba from Lahore.

This is a report in my own words after listening to the khutba.

Zahid Aziz

Today, Friday 14th August 2009, on the anniversary of the founding of Pakistan, the Head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Ameer Dr A.K. Saeed, delivered the Friday khutba from the Centre of the Movement in Lahore starting at 2.00 p.m. local time. The khutba was broadcast on the Internet.

The Hazrat Ameer went over the vision of Pakistan laid out by the Quaid-i Azam Mr M.A. Jinnah in his speeches and interviews around the time of independence. He showed that Mr Jinnah rejected the concept of a theocratic state in Pakistan, one which would be ruled over by religious clerics. Mr Jinnah wanted all citizens of Pakistan in the new state to have freedom of religion.

The Hazrat Ameer also read out from writings and announcements of Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali at the time of independence, showing that the Hazrat Maulana wished Pakistan to be a country where the rulers and the people would display Islamic values in their lives, and where one’s duty to God and one’s duty of service to the people and of justice to all human beings would be held uppermost. The Hazrat Maulana envisioned Pakistan as a base for spreading the true picture of Islam throughout the world, by presenting an appealing model of behaviour and ethics.

Lastly, Hazrat Ameer referred to the numerous calls in Pakistan that all decisions of former dictators of the country be declared invalid and be rescinded and withdrawn. He demanded that this must include withdrawal of the notorious 1984 dictatorial ordinance which prohibits Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslims, from calling out the Azan, from proclaiming the Kalima Shahadat, from greeting their fellow Muslims with assalamu alaikum, from calling their mosques as mosques, etc.

He said that these days there are calls for the independence of the judiciary in Pakistan, and similarly we Ahmadis also demand independence to practise Islam openly. He called for the protection of the rights of all religious minorities, be they Hindu, Sikh, Christian or anyone else.

He added that we recite the Kalima from the bottom of our hearts. We know that we are Muslims in any case, and we don’t depend on approval from anyone in order to be known as Muslims. However, freedom of religion is our right.

To deliver a Friday khutba in Lahore, broadcast on the Internet, declaring that we are Muslim and demanding that the oppressive laws against Ahmadis be withdrawn, in the powerful language that Hazrat Ameer used, is an act of great courage.

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