The bigotry I live with

Ahsan Iftikhar Nagi

Over and again, I found myself in the same frustrating situation. I was repeatedly told that I – along with my community – was a non-Muslim. Each time, I tried to defend my position quoting the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. I tried to explain why only God could decide one’s faith and I had all right to sincerely believe and consider myself a Muslim.

This had become a daily exercise. My own colleagues insist that the Ahmadis are infidels, in my very presence. Some of them knew well that I was one. On a few instances, people even declared the Ahmadis “worthy of death” during routine conversations.

Hearing such stuff frequently is not what frustrates me the most. The fact that I cannot respond to such bigotry because of the sword of the Blasphemy Laws and the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX hanging on me is what does. These legislations deprive me of my basic right to answer the terrible remarks I heart against me every day. Nonetheless, I do reply to them on occasion.

Before going to bed last night, for instance, I took a quick glance at my Facebook timeline. A good friend of mine had shared a snapshot of disgusting anti-Ahmadiyya comments – including calls to death – by students on the official page of an HEC certified University – the University of Sargodha. Being an Ahmadi, this post caught my eye. I left a comment and went to sleep.

I had forgotten about the post, until the next day in the afternoon when someone commented on the shared picture. This man was asking my good friend who had shared these hateful comments to condemn them, to leave the country. He said that Ahmadis were non-Muslims and had no place in the “land of the Pure.”

His comments left me in ire. Furious, I responded to his infantile comments.

As I have been doing for my whole life, I quoted scripture and common sense to educate him that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was Muslim and had all the right to identify as such. With no answer to my response, the stranger deleted his latter comment and unfriended my sane buddy who had shared the post. Thank God the blasphemy laws don’t apply to social media – as yet.

Me 1 – 0 Stranger

I was happy, but still felt frustrated. The two questions that I still have no answers to remain: Firstly, are the sane people who speak in favor of Ahmadi rights going to face the same hostility as we face? Are they also going to be asked to leave the “land of the Pure?” And secondly, when will this bigotry ever end – if at all.

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