Standing up for Ahmadis

June 1, 2010 § 1 Comment

The massacre of Ahmadis in Lahore last Friday is a terrible reminder of the awful conditions religious minorities live in in Pakistan. Due to the legal discrimination, social opprobrium, and repeated violence against their communities, Ahmadis – and Christians, and Hindus, and Shias, and everyone else who doesn’t fit the rightwing’s notions of “Pakistani” – are living in a state of fear and hopelessness.

There is plenty to be done, but there are some very small things that we can all start doing right now. Stop engaging in the casual slur-filled conversations that hurl deep venom against minorities. Call people out when they denigrate Ahmadis, or when the conspiracy theories about Ahmadis are trotted out. Refuse to dignify the euphemism “places of worship” instead of the mosques which Ahmadis worship in. Do not ever use the term “Qadiani” which is pejorative and only meant to demonize. And lastly, refuse to “otherize” Ahmadis. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that Ahmadis are some kind of exotic group that is totally distinct and separate from society. Remember that Ahmadis are Muslims, and Pakistanis – they are not just one of us, they ARE us.

Sometimes the task before us seems overwhelming, and we feel helpless. But all of us CAN make a change in how we speak and what we tolerate from our friends and family. So stand up today for Ahmadis – and for all other religious minorities.

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