Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Briefing
Co-Hosted by the Congressional Ahmadiyya Muslim Caucus
Human Rights and Religious Freedom – The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Thursday, June 28, 2018
3:00pm – 4:00pm
2255 Rayburn House Office Building
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on the human rights and religious freedom issues facing the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
The Ahmadiyya movement has 10 to 20 million followers worldwide. The movement originated in northern India in the late 19th century with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who believed he was chosen by Allah to renew Islam. Ahmadis stress non-violence, the tolerance of other faiths, and place a high priority on the building of mosques, schools and hospitals.
Between one half and four million Ahmadis live in Pakistan, where they have been declared non-Muslim in the Constitution and face legal and societal discrimination and violence from non-state actors. Ahmadis are among the most common defendants charged in criminal cases of blasphemy, which can carry the death penalty, and authorities in Punjab have targeted Ahmadis under Pakistan’s anti-terrorism laws. Attacks committed against them by mobs and militant groups often take place with impunity.
In addition to Pakistan, Ahmadis have faced persecution in other countries, including Algeria and Indonesia. Ahmadi leaders in Algeria were arrested and imprisoned in 2017, and the community continues to face stigmatization in the press, and harassment and
threats of arrest by police. Ahmadis in Indonesia have been declared “non-Islamic, deviant and misled” by national Islamic authorities, and face legal restrictions and mob attacks.
Panelists will discuss the human rights situation of Ahmadis in Pakistan and elsewhere, and offer recommendations for how Congress can advocate on their behalf.
- N. Mahmood Ahmad, Deputy Director of Public Affairs, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA
- Farahnaz Ispahani, Global Fellow, Asia Program, Woodrow Wilson Center
- Eric Goldstein, Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch
- Rep. James P. McGovern, Co-Chair, TLHRC
- Rep. Jackie Speier, Member, TLHRC, and Co-Chair, Congressional Ahmadiyya Muslim Caucus
- Waris Husain, Policy Analyst, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
This briefing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. For any questions, please contact Rosie Berman (for Mr. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or Rosie.Berman@mail.house.gov or Jamie Staley (for Mr. Hultgren) at (202-226-1516) or Jamie.Staley@mail.house.gov.
James P. McGovern Randy Hultgren
Co-Chair, TLHRC Co-Chair, TLHRC