Liberal Muslims who are conversant about the Qadiani Ahmadiyya community have to walk a very fine line: the Ahmadiyya are discriminated against in Pakistan and are targeted by extremists in that country and liberals generally don’t want to be part of any judgmental discourse on what they perceive as a theological matter.
It has been frustrating to try to talk about the social, political and legal aspects of the Qadiani minority’s problems in any independent manner. Without delving into the history, it has been easy to toe the Qadiani Ahmadiyya propaganda line without much critical analysis. While we agree religion-based extremism in Pakistan is a grave threat, we could not get liberals to think about the Qadiani propaganda from an angle not tinged by the unacceptable emotions directed against the Ahmadiyya by the religious mafia in Pakistan.
People we have directly tried to engage have included Yasser Latif Hamadani, Zofeen T. Ebrahim, Saroop Ijaz and Sana Saleem, among others. We have tried to convince these liberals that we, as former Ahmadis, can never condone any act of violence, suppression of civil rights, or discrimination against the Ahmadis but we have to tell you of our experience: that this seemingly ‘reform’ movement is a new religion with a new prophet. And that it is as misogynist and sectarian as the Taliban, and has the latent tendency of being every bit as violent and land-grabbing as the Taliban. There cannot be firmer ‘true believers’ than those with a latter-day prophet.
Leave it to Nadeem Paracha, the doyen of Pakistani liberal writers to grasp the crux of the matter with this gem: “star[t]ling irony of a left-liberal government passing a controversial theological edict.”