HAF Condemns Attack on Ahmadiyaa Mosque
Washington, D.C. (February 3, 2012) - The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) condemned an attack targeting an Ahmadiyya mosque in Chantilly, VA. According to media reports, vandals broke several glass windows and caused approximately $60,000 of damage to the community’s mosque. HAF urged authorities to expedite the investigation to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
"These acts of religious intolerance are unacceptable and have no place in our society,” said Jay Kansara, HAF’s Washington, D.C. based Associate Director. “We extend our support and solidarity to the community in Chantilly.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community was founded in 1889 in North India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who proclaimed himself a Messiah. Ahmadiyyas have a long history of persecution, particularly in Pakistan where former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto declared Ahmaddiyas as a non-Muslim minority in 1974 and Military Dictator General Zia-ul-Haq subsequently banned the community from identifying themselves as Muslims in 1984.
According to the Hindu American Foundation, a human rights watchdog which has documented the plight of Hindus and other religious minorities in Pakistan, the violations faced by Pakistan’s Ahmadiyyas and other religious minorities include daily acts of abduction and forced conversion. The Ahmadiyya community is increasingly subject to Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws according to the Foundation’s annual human rights report.
"The Ahmadiyyas have been deemed heretical by the majority of clerics and even the government itself in Pakistan,” said Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF’s Director and Senior Human Rights Fellow. “This position leaves them vulnerable to attacks perpetrated by fundamentalists with little to no government protection. It is unfortunate to hear of this recent attack in Virginia, but we are hopeful that the law enforcement will bring the perpetrators to justice.”