A visitor at the Koran exhibition in Delhi (image courtesy: Roznama Ummat)
In September 2011, Ahmadiyya Jamaat India held what was to be a three-day exhibition, from September 23-25, on the Koran and Islam's message at the Constitution Club in New Delhi. However, the exhibit was closed down on the second day, following a strong protest by a group of Islamic clerics and Muslim legislators. The protesters' main arguments were that a distorted translation of Koran, especially the verses relating to the Prophet Muhammad and Jesus Christ, was distributed at the exhibition, and that followers of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat do not believe that Muhammad was the last prophet of God.
In several Muslim countries, especially in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the Ahmadiyya Jamaat has been legally declared to be non-Muslim. The followers of Ahmadiyya Jamaat are pejoratively dismissed by Islamic clerics as Ahmadis or Qadianis – after the town of Qadian in northern India where the community's spiritual leader Mirza Ghulam Ahmad began his teachings in the 19th century. In Pakistan, Ahmadis are banned from referring to themselves as Muslims and are not allowed to use Islamic symbols and expressions.
The clerics and protesters who forced the New Delhi police to shut down the exhibition also accused the ruling Congress party of India, the Israeli Embassy, and the governments of India and Israel of supporting the Ahmadi Muslims' religious campaign across the world. A detailed report following the cancellation of the exhibition in New Delhi, in the Urdu-language Pakistani newspaper Roznama Ummat, stated that "the Ahmadiyya Jamaat is trying to enhance their impact and reach among Muslims in India under the aegis of the Indian government and the support of the Israeli Embassy, and under which the conspiracy of the Koran exhibition was hatched..."
Following are excerpts from the Roznama Ummat report:
"The Prayer Leader of the Historic Imperial Mosque of Delhi [Jama Masjid], Maulana Syed Ahmad Bukhari, Had Warned the Police of Grave Consequences If the Qadianis' International Campaign to Befool Muslims Was Not Stopped"
"At a conference in Delhi, verses regarding the end of prophethood [on Islam's Prophet Muhammad] and Jesus Christ from the distorted translation of the Koran to suit the Qadiani faith were being distributed among the Muslims, with the support of the Congress party and the Israeli government. The [Indian] government was forced to suspend the conference after strong protest by Muslims of all sects.
"The minority Ahmadi organization, which does not believe in the end of prophethood [of Islam's Prophet Muhammad], alleged... that Muslims created troubles in organizing the exhibition of Koran and demanded to close down the exhibition through which they were trying to extend a program for international propagation for understanding the Koran. It should be noted here that the Ahmadiyya organization, which organized the exhibition at the Constitution Club in New Delhi, has been declared a non-Muslim minority in most Muslim countries because of its belief regarding the finality of the prophethood. This so-called exhibition of Koran was closed down on the second day after strong protest by Muslims and Ulama [Islamic clerics] of India.
"It is also important [to note] that Indian police and administrative officials attempted to continue the exhibition by hoodwinking Muslim leaders. However, they had to bow down before the protestors. According to reports from Delhi, the prayer leader of the historic imperial mosque of Delhi [Jama Masjid], Maulana Syed Ahmad Bukhari, had warned the police of grave consequences if the Qadianis' international campaign to befool Muslims was not stopped in India. The Indian police commissioner contacted the prayer leader of the Jama Masjid, urging to him to stay home and not to come out to protest, and he was falsely assured that the exhibition of Koran by the Ahmadiyya Jamaat India had been called off.
"But the fact is that at the same time as police officers were assuring Maulana Syed Ahmad Bukhari about the closure of the exhibition organized by the minority group Ahmadis, the exhibition was underway. On the other hand, dozens of faithful youths and Ulama were present outside the exhibition [venue] to stop people from going inside and to tell them about the open fraud of the Qadiani Jamaat. This was objected to by the Qadiani organizers. The prayer leader of Jama Masjid of New Delhi Syed Ahmad Bukhari, Syed Yahya Bukhari of the Jama Masjid United Forum, former legislator [from Delhi] Shoaib Iqbal, Dr. Mohammad Hasan of All India Minorities Front and many others were among the protestors."
"Shi'ites, Ahl-e-Hadith, Ahl-e-Sunnat Barelvis and Deobandis of India Have Expressed Their Strong Reactions Against Their [i.e. the Ahmadis'] Attempt to Make the Muslims of the World... a Part of Qadiani Jamaat"
"Maulana Syed Ahmad Bukhari, with his supporters, tried to protest at the venue by arriving in the form of a procession, but he was stopped... [at a distance from the venue] by the large number of policemen and was arrested with his supporters and detained in the lockup at the... police station. After the arrest of Maulana Bukhari and his supporters, scores of Muslims surrounded the police station, following which... [a senior police commissioner] went to the Constitution Club with his battalion and closed the exhibition of Koran organized by the Ahmadiyya Jamaat... He also put up a 'Exhibition Closed' notice the venue. After that, the Muslims suspended their protest and went home, after getting confirmation from Maulana Syed Ahmad Bukhari and his supporters and other Ulama.
"It should be noted that Shi'ites, Ahl-e-Hadith, Ahl-e-Sunnat Barelvis and Deobandis of India have expressed their strong reactions against their [i.e the Ahmadis'] attempt to make the Muslims of the world in general, and of India in particular, a part of Qadiani Jamaat through the distribution of distorted copies of Koran.
"Maulana Kalbe Jawwad of Shi'ite faith, Abdul Wahab Khalji of Ahl-e-Hadith, Maulana Habibur Rahman Ludhianvi, Mufti Mahfuz-ur-Rahman Usmani, Hasan Ahmad (MLA or Member of Legislative Assembly), Mohammad Shoaib Iqbal (former MLA), Qari Mohammad Mian al-Azhari, and other Islamic clerics and leaders have said unanimously that Qadianis or Ahmadis are non-Muslims and they have no right to use the name of Islam, Mohammad (PBUH) and the Koran."
"The Ahmadiyya Jamaat is Trying to Enhance Their... Reach Among Muslims... Under the Aegis of the Indian Government and the Support of the Israeli Embassy, Under Which the Conspiracy of Koran Exhibition was Hatched"
"The prominent Muslim leaders of India were aggrieved over the Qadianis' attempt to make Indian Muslims a part of the Qadiani Jamaat by by organizing the exhibition of Koran, and have alleged that the Ahmadiyya Jamaat is trying to enhance their impact and reach among Muslims in India, under the aegis of the Indian government and the support of the Israeli Embassy, and under which the conspiracy of Koran exhibition was hatched and a three-day conference was organized and Ahmadi Jamaat was presented as a general Islamic organization at its different sessions.
"The important thing about the exhibition was that Muslims were invited to join the Ahmadiyya Jamaat by making the Ahmadiyya Jamaat's stand conspicuous through the distorted translations and exegeses of the Holy Koran.
"It should be noted that the Qadiani network active in India, Pakistan, the U.S., Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Britain, Canada and African countries has declared this year the year of propagation of Ahmadiyya Jamaat, and has compiled copies of the Koran in which the Islamic faith and Koranic verses regarding the finality of the prophethood [on Mohammad] and about Jesus Christ has been transformed according to the Qadiani faith and are being distributed."
"The Muslim Protestors Also Revealed... That a Diplomat from the Israeli Government... Was Also Present at the Constitution Club From Day One to 'Monitor' the Exhibition and Muslims' Protest Against It"
"Dozens of Islamic clerics held the protest demonstration outside the exhibition hall at Constitution Club... and demanded the closure of the exhibition, following which a sort of commotion was created in the Indian government and finally it had to close down the Ahmadis' exhibition. But Indian dailies and magazines took a biased stand, and called the Indian Muslims' protest against the exhibition illegal. Some of the Indian dailies and magazines called the Ahmadiyya Jamaat a victim, and said that a kind of bias against the Ahmadis exists in almost all the countries of the world.
"However, the Indian electronic and print media has always ignored this fact, i.e. that Ahmadiyya Jamaat has been declared non-Muslim by most of the Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Afghanistan, for not believing that Prophet Mohammad is the last prophet of Islam. Also, it [Ahmadiyya Jamaat] has been banned from taking up Muslim styles and manners, and from using 'Kalima Tayyeba 'La ilaha illallah Mohammadur Rasoolullah' [in Arabic, 'there is no deity but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet'] for its propagation mission. But despite that, Ahmadiyya Jamaat is trying follow the strategy of presenting themselves as Muslims, and ordinary Muslims are being cheated.
"It is interesting to note that the holding of the exhibition was facilitated by the Muslim chairman of [India's] National Minority Commission Wajahat Habibullah, in connivance with Pratap Singh Bajwa, a Hindu MP from Gurdaspur who represents the Congress party. It is important to note that the Muslim protestors also revealed at the venue that a diplomat from the Israeli government, which is the supporter of the Qadiani Jamaat in New Delhi, was also present at the Constitution Club from day one, to 'monitor' the exhibition and Muslims' protests against it. Muslim leaders strongly protested against it, and said that because of the Israeli diplomatic official's presence at the exhibition, there remained no ambiguity regarding the Israeli sponsorship of Ahmadis (Qadianis)."
The Muslim Leaders "Also Lamented That the Exhibition and the International Campaign By the Ahmadiyya Jamaat to Make Indian Muslims Qadiani is Operating Under Indian Government and Israeli Sponsorship"
"The government should immediately put a ban on organizing this exhibition in future too, and arrangements should be made, that the minority Ahmadiyya Jamaat should not be allowed in the near or distant future to use even symbolically the name of Islam, Mohammad (PBUH) and Muslim names, because Muslim countries have a clear stand regarding the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, i.e. that they are not Muslims, and a non-Muslim has no right to use the religious symbols of Muslims.
"Under this very standpoint, the prayer leader of the historic Jama Masjid of Delhi Maulana Syed Ahmad Bukhari met with the police commissioner of New Delhi and demanded to close down the so-called Koran exhibition by the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, briefing him about his apprehensions along with other Muslims. He made it clear to... [the police commissioner] that there is great anxiety among Muslims because of the Qadiani Jamaat's fraudulent tactics to continue with its propagation. Before the patience of Indian Muslims could be exhausted, the exhibition was closed down by the Indian police...."
"Peaceful Muslim demonstrators also severely criticized the Israeli Embassy and the Indian government for their support for it.... Dozens of learned Ulama and protests were led by the imam of historic Jama Masjid of Delhi [Maulana Syed Ahmad Bukhari] and by the leader of [Jama Masjid] United Forum Syed Yahya Bukhari, who argued that they had made a symbolic protest against the Ahmadiyya Jamaat's exhibition on its first day, but that only when they were going to hold a strong protest, the Indian government felt that the situation would worsen and that the peace of Delhi would be disrupted by supporting the Qadianis.
"Syed Yahya Bukhari also said that it has been decided once that Ahmadis are non-Muslims and they have been termed as infidels throughout the world, [and asked] what is the reason that they are trying to mislead the naïve Muslims under the sponsorship of Israel and the Congress.
"The Muslim leaders said that they were even more shocked when they came to know that the permission to hold this exhibition... was given under the name of Congress leader Pratap Singh [Bajwa], from Gurdaspur. They called it condemnable, and said that this proves that not only the Israeli Embassy but the ruling Congress party is also involved in the expansion of the Qadiani network among Indian Muslims... They also lamented that the exhibition and the international campaign by the Ahmadiyya Jamaat to make Indian Muslims Qadiani is operating under the government sponsorship of India and Israel. But they said that they would strongly fight this ploy."