November 25, 2023
By Aitzaz Ibrahim
A mob of about 40 unknown people attacked an Ahmadiyya worship place in Doliyan Jatan area of Kotli district, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Friday, November 24, leaving the local community in immense distress.
The attackers arrived on motorcycles just before Friday prayers, targeting the worship place near the Narr Police Station in Kotli. The minarets of the building, which had been standing since 1954, were toppled by the vandals, who chanted religious slogans throughout the act.
Amir Mahmood, spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya community, said,
“This incident is really sad and shows that our society is becoming less accepting of people with different beliefs. More than 40 Ahmadiyya places of worship have been attacked in Pakistan this year. Authorities, in some cases, are demolishing minarets of Ahmadiyya worship places to satisfy extremists.”
40 Attacks in 2023
This is yet another in a consistently growing list of attacks and threats against the Ahmadi community this year, with 40 places of worship reportedly targeted across the country till date.
The community has urged the authorities to consider this latest attack as a serious wake-up call, and have demanded swift and strict measures against the perpetrators.
As the community deals with the aftermath of this attack, they emphasize the importance of unity and condemn such acts of violence. The incident underscores the need for everyone to work together to protect places of worship and ensure a harmonious and inclusive society.
By September 21, a total of 32 attacks on Ahmadi places of worship were recorded – within the span of a month, the total has now hit 40.
Many of these attacks were perpetrated by the hardline conservative Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), while half of the reported incidents involved the police directly or as facilitators.
According to an order by the Lahore High Court issued on August 31, any alterations to the structure of Ahmadiyya places of worship were barred. The court held that sections 298-B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) do not mandate that any Ahmadiyya worship places constructed before Ordinance 20 of 1984 be removed or changed in any way.