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#IStandWithAhmadis: Pakistanis show support for religious minority on social media

Minorities rights activists in Pakistan have declared a 10-day-long campaign in support of the country’s Ahmadi minority, after recent attacks on a factory owned by a member of the religious minority and a mosque.

Last week, an Ahmadi man was arrested after he had allegedly burned copies of the Koran. After the news broke, hundreds of people surrounded the factory in which the man works as the head of security, and eventually the factory’s compound was torched. One day later, an Ahmadi mosque was also set on fire by Muslim protesters.

In light of recent attacks against the small sect, minority rights activists took to social media to voice their protest against the long-time persecution against the Ahmadis, who consider themselves to be Muslims, using the hashtag #IStandWithAhmadis. Rights activists have also started a website dedicated to the campaign.

For the campaign, which was started on December 1, people were asked to tweet in favor of the Ahmadi community. The hashtag has been trending in Pakistan.

Many users chose to emphasize the Ahmadis’ humane interpretation of the Koran. According to them, religion cannot be used as a justification to perform an act of war. The group is also devoted to accepting even their worst enemies as friends.

Pakistanis are also naming famous Ahmadis who have contributed to the country in various ways, including the country’s only Nobel prize laureate.

Soon enough, the voice of support has expanded beyond Pakistan’s borders. The #IStandWithAhmadis campaign has drawn support from neighbouring India, Dubai and even got as far as the Americas.

Some Ahmadis themselves also took part in the campaign by thanking all those who have voiced their support for them so far. One Ahmadi Twitter user also had a message to those who persecute them.

In 1974, the Ahmadis were declared non-muslims by Pakistan’s National Assembly, a declaration that was later amended into the country’s constitution. They have been persecuted ever since. This infographic shows the amount of Ahmadi deaths due to religious persecution over the years.

After the recent attacks in Paris, the Ahmadis’ top religious figure, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, condemned the terrorist attacks by renouncing the use of any religion as an excuse to killing others.

The campaign will end on 10 December. By then, organizers are hoping to get their message across that Ahmadis should no longer be targeted, and deserve to live their lives with a sense of security and peace.

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