20 PRESS DESK ( Rashid Ahmad Chaudhary) History bears witness to the fact that whenever Divine Communities have been raised by God they pass through periods of trials and tribulations. The Messengers of God have always been ridiculed, persecuted and rejected. They and their faithful followers always remain steadfast and are successful in the end. Among those persecuted were Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them, along with their followers. Likewise Ahmadi Muslims have also suffered severe persecution on account of their faith particularly in Pakistan under the regime of President Ziaul Haque. They have borne them with patience, steadfastness and devotion. 1 will now relate a couple of incidents which have occurred jn Pakistan. Dr. Mumtaz Ali of Jampur, Pakistan, is a highly respected member of the Ahmadiyya Community. He was arrested for writing on his house the Muslim declaration of faith known as the Kalima. For this ‘offence’ he was imprisoned for twenty four days. He has described his days of imprisonment: “I entered the prison gates reciting allowed the Kalima ‘There is none worthy of worship save Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’ Twenty four hours later 1 was released and came out singing the praises of Allah. All the inmates of the prison came to the main gate to see me off. There were all kinds of criminals ranging from petty thieves to fierce looking dacoits and murderers to whom human life is of little value. One by one they embraced me and requested me for prayers. I prayed that they may prove themselves to be the servants of mankind when they come out of prison. 1 was sent to prison because I had written the Kalima on the water tank on the roof of my house. However, when I erected an extension to my house, this new building blocked the view of the Kalima so, out of love for the Kalima, I again wrote it on the second storey wall so that it was clearly visible from a distance. PRESS DESK 21 I was arrested on the 5th October, 1987 and spent two days and nights in the police cell at Muhammad Pur. I could not sleep during day time or night time as the days were extremely hot and during the night I had regular visitors, huge singing mosquitoes and blanket bugs. This gave me the opportunity to cry out to my Lord from the depth of my heart and to converse with Him. From behind the bars I could see the long bearded, proud mullahs (religious leaders) come and go from the’ police station. The purpose of their visits which I came to learn later was to press the police not to be lenient with me under any circumstances. The police regarded me as a dangerous criminal and, therefore, tried their usual tactics to humiliate me. They paraded me handcuffed through the streets of Muhammadpur and Jampur to win praise from the local mullahs and their followers although they remained apologetic to me saying that they were forced by authorities to act in such a manner. An application for bail on my behalf was filed with the local magistrate at Jampur. He tried to evade the request for several days. The hearing for application for bail began on 17th October. I received news in prison that the mullahs of the area had made fiery speeches in their mosques threatening the administration and jUdiciary with dire consequences should bail be granted. Various deputations met the magistrate in this connection. The court room was full on the day when the hearing began. The discussion took one and a half hours. Most of the time my solicitor, Mian Iqbal Ahmad, advocate and the District Amir of the Ahmadiyya Community, Rajanpur, put forward his arguments. The magistrate nodded his head occasionally but seemed baffled and rejected my bail application. The next stage was to file my application for bail with the session judge. The hearing took place on 29th October. The mullahs came in wagon loads but they were disappointed because the session judge had already granted bail in my case. “I had sent a message from prison to my lawyer not to pursue my application because I wanted to continue my stay in prison. The bare walls of the cell gave me the solitude for which I had longed in my prayers. This inside world needs some Dai Illallah (preachers of God) to deliver the divine message of Ahmadiyyat (The True Islam). I took the opportunity to do it but my happiness in this respect was short lived due to my release from prison.” 22 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS In a letter to the Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Dr. Mumtaz Ali wrote: “I came home to a relatively luxurious life, but believe me, I could not sleep on the mattress for the first three days. I had become accustomed to sleeping on the hard floor of the prison cell. Thinking back I can safely say that I experienced the love of God as I had never experienced it before. My imagination took me back to the days of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him. He and his followers were also persecuted for their love of the Kalima. My feelings were indescribable. I wanted to prove to the world that the Kalima is the life and soul of every Ahmadi Muslim and, for its sake, no Ahmadi would hesitate to sacrifice his life and honour. I am willing to go back again to prison for that crime.” Then there is the case of Bashir Ahmad Sialkoti, an elderly Ahmadi Muslim living in Rabwah who was arrested while leaving the mosque for playing an audio cassette of a religious speech delivered by the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community on the occasion of the annual gathering, 1988. He announced that it would be played in the area mosque on 31st July 1988. The news leaked out to the police who sent a lorry load of armed policemen to arrest the person concerned. As they did not know in which mosque the cassette was being played they went to different mosques and when they found the one in which it was being played they surrounded it. When Sialkoti Sahib came out with the cassette and tape recorder, they took him along to Rabwah police station. The police then sent a jeep for the notorious Ahrari mullah, Allah Yar Arshad. On his arrival a case was registered against Bashir Ahmad Sialkoti under section 16. MPO section 298c. In a concocted story it was alleged in the police report that he was playing the cassette on the public road near the railway crossing. He was arrested on remand for ten days during which time he was tortured. He was not only handcuffed but his feet were also shackled as if he was a dangerous criminal.