Member of U.S. agency vows to make religious freedom in Pakistan a priority

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More than 30,000 Ahmadis attended the 52nd Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United Kingdom Aug. 3-5. (Photo:uscirf.gov)

A member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), promised to make religious freedom in Pakistan a priority at this week’s gathering of nearly 37,000 Ahmadis at the 52nd Annual Convention (Jalsa Salana) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United Kingdom.

Following the Aug. 3-5 event, Commissioner Johnnie Moore also formally adopted Abdul Shakoor, an Ahmadi Muslim imprisoned in Pakistan since 2015 on false terrorism charges, the USCIRF said.

“I have a personal commitment to make sure that you are not forgotten,” Commissioner Moore said, alluding to the physical, social, and legal threats Ahmadis face in many countries where they reside, particularly Pakistan, according to an Aug. 7 press release from USCIRF. Speaking before convention attendees and a television audience of millions, Moore added, “USCIRF will continue to make it a priority to raise a voice for the Ahmadiyya community.”

Since 2002, USCIRF has recommended that the State Department designate Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” for “ongoing, systematic, egregious violations of religious freedom.” USCIRF has also called for the use of tools such as the denial of visas and the freezing of assets against specific individuals who have participated in or have been responsible for severe violations of religious freedom.

During the gathering, Commissioner Moore met the leader of the global Ahmadiyya community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, and other Ahmadi leaders from Canada, the U.K., and delegations from Africa and Asia. He also met with U.K.’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon.

“USCIRF will be unrelenting in advocating for the Ahmadi’s religious freedom,” Commissioner Moore told the Jalsa Salana audience, which gathered in the English countryside under a banner proclaiming “Love for All, Hatred for None.”

“The best war against an ideology that aims to promote fear is to stand in solidarity with those who promote peace,” Moore added.

 

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