Bad for business

The Herald: March 2012

Bad for business

The Khatm-e-Nabuwat Lawyers’ Forum’s proposed ban of Shezan products is yet another illegal action against Ahmadi business-owners, who continue to face violent persecution in the absence of state intervention.

In the summer of 2011, TA (name withheld), a shop owner based in Faisalabad, received a call on his mobile phone. The man on the other end of the line refused to identify himself, but he knew TA’s name. His motives became clearer when he asked, “Tum Jamaat e Ahmadiyya mein kya kartey ho?” (What do you do within the Jamaat e Ahmadiyya?)

“Who is this?” persisted TA. “How did you get my number?”

“Khuda ko banda dhoond leta hai, tum kya ho?” replied the man, before he hung up. (trans)

TA continued to receive a slew of text messages as well as other such phone calls. One message read, “You liar Ahmadi. You better accept the truth. Warna toh apna intezaam kar lo.” (trans)

Such communication has become routine, he tells the Herald, after he was named in a pamphlet distributed in June 2011, at eight Clock Tower bazaars in Faisalabad. “My friend saw a couple of men who looked like mazdoors distribute these pamphlets outside our shops,” TA says. “When we took a look, we realized how dangerous they were.” The pamphlet reads “Qadiyanis are deserving of death” and “To shoot such people in public view is jihad and it is a blessing to kill them.” 

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“We are examining the relationship between faith and society”

The Herald: September 2011

“We are examining the relationship between faith and society”: Venetia Porter, curator of the British Museum’s Hajj exhibit

London’s British Museum announced this August that a new exhibition entitled Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam will open at the museum in January 2012, bringing together historic and contemporary objects – including contemporary art, video, pilgrims’ testimonies, manuscripts, textiles, archaeological items and photography – to explore the experience and importance of the annual pilgrimage. Visitors to the exhibition can also expect sound-cones emitting the labbaik prayer, extracts from The Autobiography of Malcolm X (he went on Hajj in 1964), the Kiswah (the cloth covering the Kaaba) and the bottle that explorer Richard Burton filled with water from the Zamzam well in 1853. The show is scheduled to run from January 26 – April 15, 2012.

Venetia Porter, responsible for the British Museum’s collection of Islamic and modern Middle Eastern art and also chief curator for the exhibition, spoke to the Herald on how this exhibition will focus on the history of Islam and the region, while looking at the material culture surrounding the religion.

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