VIDEO SHOT BY GIANNI CARBOTTI
PHOTOS TAKEN BY GIANNI CARBOTTI
The Center for Studies on Freedom of Religion Belief and Conscience (LIREC) has successfully completed the first program of the “Awareness” Project, which is dedicated to the study of religious and spiritual minorities in Italy. During the International Congress of the European Academy of Religion (Bologna, 5-8 March 2018), on March 6, 2018, LIREC organized a panel on the Ahmadiyya Community.
This panel launches a series of events to promote the awareness of the various religious and spiritual minorities in Italy, which, far from being dangerous groups, as a certain propaganda want to make us believe, can also be socially, culturally and economically resourceful to our society.
During the panel some aspects were highlighted that distinguish the history, the doctrine and the practice of the Ahmadiyya movement, in relation to its peculiar way of placing itself within the Islamic world, from which it is considered "heretical".
This attitude, in the countries where the blasphemy law is in force, has caused the persecution of the members of the movement, which has reached extreme consequences, such as the murder of some of them by the mere fact of being Ahmadi.
The experiences of two researchers, Prof. Emanuela Del Re, MP, and Manuel Olivares, who have carried out field research, have highlighted how the movement has assumed a significant role in the resolution of conflicts and, in general, in the diffusion of a respectful and peaceful Islam.
Manuel Olivares reported on his stay in the birthplace of the Community, in Qadian (Punjab), while Prof. Emanuela del Re, MP, in participating from Rome via Skype, reported on her research conducted in 2014 in Haifa where there is a community of Ahmadiyya very active not only in the spread of the Ahmadiyya doctrine but also in civil society, to contribute to the resolution of conflicts.
In the introduction to the event the director Raffaella di Marzio underlined how the collaboration of the movement and, in particular of Imam Ataul Wasih Tariq, has been decisive for the success of the project. Furthermore, in the report "Intrareligious discrimination and persecution: a widespread and undervalued problem. The emblematic case of the Ahmadiyya Community” she recalled how in 2016 the Center LIREC received a request for help from people close to the Ahmadiyya community, who complained about the total lack of information on the long-standing persecution against the community.
LIREC reported about the Ahmadiyya case and also involved two European NGOs, which listened to the LIREC appeal. Finally, on 21 December 2016, the European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Creed (FoRB) condemned the persecution of the community by asking the EEAS to intervene to protect Ahmadiyya by putting pressure on the Pakistani government.
In her report, the director also underlined the fact that there is much talk of discrimination and persecution perpetrated by the civil authorities, while there is less talk of the role of the majority religions that ally with the civil authorities, supporting, more or less openly, the actions, propaganda and laws aimed at discriminating or persecuting religious minorities. In this context, the case of the Ahmadiyya community is emblematic because the Ahmadis in Pakistan are not considered Muslims and can not even be called Muslims.
The contributions of Manuel Olivares and Prof. Emanuela Del Re, MP, have confirmed, on the basis of field research, the extraordinary ability of the Ahmadiyya Community to act, in different and conflicting situations, as in the Middle East, as a catalyst for peace and dialogue providing, in very different contexts, a real contribution to improving relations between different religious communities.
At the end of this panel Imam Tariq outlined some fundamental elements of the Ahmadiyya doctrine and, in particular, the role of prophethood and a brief history starting from the founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad up to the current Caliph, Mirza Masroor Ahmad. In conclusion, he reiterated the importance that representatives of different religions are able to dialogue without offending each other and discussing ideas and truths in which they believe without losing their identity, but always remaining respectful of the faith of others and welcoming towards the other. The Imam concluded its relationship with the Ahmadiyya community's motto: "Love for All, hatred for none".
The full video of the event is available on the LIREC Vimeo Channel.