As members, friends, and observers of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance, we note with grave concern the hostility toward the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in a range of countries, and the threats to the human right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for members of this community. For Ahmadi Muslims, as for all individuals everywhere, freedom of religion or belief includes having the ability to affirmatively define or identify their religious beliefs.
We note, for example, that some state authorities prevent Ahmadi Muslims from self-identifying as they so choose, restricting their ability to worship, prosecuting them for practicing their faith, and tolerating attacks against them by non-state actors. Authorities frequently use laws on offences relating to religion (blasphemy laws) to target these individuals, preventing Ahmadi Muslims from exercising their rights to freedom of religion or belief, to freedom of expression, and other human rights. In addition, some state authorities have threatened to charge Ahmadi individuals who reside in IRFBA member countries and other third countries with blasphemy for posting Ahmadi web content and threaten organizations who host it with legal action.
We also note with deep concern significant societal hostility toward Ahmadis in far too many countries.
We affirm that the right to FoRB, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, includes the freedom to manifest an individual’s religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. States should not, therefore, discriminate against and tolerate violence toward Ahmadi Muslims – or anyone – based on their interpretation of the Islamic faith.
We call upon all states to, where applicable:
- Immediately release all Ahmadi Muslims imprisoned for exercising their religious beliefs, including on charges on the grounds of their religious expression (for example, blasphemy), activities, and self-identification as Muslims;
- Immediately re-instate the right to vote to Ahmadi Muslims;
- Immediately end capital punishment of Ahmadi Muslims pursuant to blasphemy laws;
- Immediately end home raids and raids on places of worship for Ahmadi Muslims;
- Immediately eliminate any discrimination against Ahmadi Muslims with respect to the issuance of national identification documents;
- Immediately eliminate any discrimination against Ahmadi Muslims with respect to their access to justice within courts and hearings;
- Immediately eliminate discrimination against Ahmadi Muslims with respect to their employment and education;
- Immediately eliminate targeting Ahmadi Muslims in third countries under laws that curb free expression, including religious expression, and bans on their religious texts, online and offline;
- Review and address current intersecting forms of violence and discrimination against women and children of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community*; and
- Hold accountable individuals and groups who use violence or intimidation against Ahmadis.
*Chair’s explanatory statement: For clarification this refers to violence and discrimination by state actors against Ahmadi Muslim women and children.
Co-signatories: Australia, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovak Republic, Sovereign Order of Malta, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.