The Ahmadiyya: global persecution

101282586The Ahmadiyya are one of Pakistan’s most persecuted communities. Legally classed as non-Muslims, this sect is subject to a whole range of persecutions. As such, many have left Pakistan in search of peace abroad. But sometimes, this discrimination continues. For the April issue of the New Internationalist, I spoke to members of the Ahmadi community in the UK and the US about global persecution.

In December 2013, two men visited a homeopathic clinic in Lahore, an eastern city in Pakistan. It was run by Masood Ahmad, a 72 year old British-Pakistani dual national. He had returned to his home country in 1982, and lived quietly, keeping to himself. The two men, posing as patients, questioned him about his faith. They used their mobile phones to secretly record him reading a verse from the Qur’an.

 

Soon afterwards, Ahmad was arrested on blasphemy charges. He is a member of the Ahmadiyya, a minority sect of Islam considered heretics in Pakistan. Declared non-Muslims in 1974 by the Pakistani government, they can be jailed for up to three years for “impersonating Muslims”. They are prohibited from publically quoting the Qur’an.

It’s not online yet, but I’ll post a link when it is. Meanwhile, the clipping is below, and my article on the Ahmadi community in Pakistan (written in the run up to last year’s election) is here.

NI471outer-24Feb

 

Domestic slavery in the UK

Pakistani bride Najma Khalil folds her hI’ve written a feature for the November issue of the New Internationalist magazine. It looks at the phenomenon of women, sent to the United Kingdom for arranged marriages from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, who are then subjected to domestic slavery. It is a distressing but important topic, and I spoke to campaigners – including Southall Black Sisters – about the progress that has already been made, as well as to two women who managed to escape from this nightmarish situation.

Campaigners say that around 500 women every year face a similar situation. Brought to the UK as the wives of British citizens, these women – primarily from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan – face brutal domestic violence and enslavement. Domestic violence is always under-reported, but in this instance this is compounded by the uncertain immigration status of these women. If someone has come to the UK on a spousal visa, the marriage must last for two years before that person automatically has the leave to remain in the UK.

Here’s the cutting, and I’ll post a link when the piece is online.

new internationalist cutting 1new internationalist cutting 2