Brainwasher or Brainwashed Against?
In his article “Why Pakistan’s Ahmadi community is officially detested” BBC News Karachi, 16 June 2010 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8744092.stm), Mohammed Hanif talks about the lives of Ahmadi Muslims in modern age Pakistan. Ahmadi’s are a section of Muslims that are accused to be non-Muslims for not believeing the Prophet Muhammad to be the last and the final messenger. Since Pakistan’s constitution of 1984, they have officially been declared as non- Muslims. As a result, they are despised by other Musilms in Pakistan. To apply for passports or national I. D cards, people have to sign oath’s that declare Ahmadi’s as non-Muslims.
Like many others, Hanif, finds that he has never really given much thought to what the difference between Ahmadi’s and other Muslims are. Though he does share with us that Ahmadi’s in Pakistan are despised against because of Pakistan’s constitution, and because from a very young age, children in Pakistan are taught that Ahmadi’s beliefs are against the teachings of Islam. Hanif’s article made me begin to think about how the idea of brainwashing and deprogramming play’s a role with this issue.
New religions or sections are often misunderstood in a negative way because of differing ideas or beliefs that stem from the same religion and sometimes seen as extremist cults. Hanif does not go much into depth about where the initial hate against Ahmadi started. I do however agree with him that the reason why it continues today is because of the country’s constitution and because of brainwashing. Often we think that people start to follow new cults, religions, or sections because they are probably brainwashed or coerced. Ahmadiyyat, although not brand new, is a newer branch of Islam. We would think that its’ followers are maybe brainwashed. Interestingly Hanif instead gives us insight into how people can be brainwashed to neglect a new cult or section. Such as the way the majority of Pakistanis are brainwashed to neglect Ahmadi Muslims.
Perhaps the country uses its constitution as a method of deprogramming people to not get brainwashed into the Ahmadis’ beliefs. Oddly, however in this case it seems to be the brainwasher. I mean if Ahmadis in Pakistan were the real brainwashers, wouldn’t they be able to practice their beliefs more freely? The fact that people are being killed for believing in something other than the mainstream shows me that its’ not really the newer cults or sections that coerce people. Perhaps we need to be more open to the idea that people follow what they want to follow because it is what they believe in. Just because it is a newer cult, it doesn’t always mean that it is bad news or something that needs to be escalated.