10/07/2005, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Eight killed and 20 injured in Ahmadiyya mosque shooting

Multan (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Eight people were killed and 20 wounded in a shootout in a mosque in eastern Pakistan. Police said three attackers entered the mosque belonging to a Muslim group held to be "heretical" and opened fire with their rifles. Seven people were killed on the spot; one of those wounded died later.

The attack on the mosque, which belongs to the Ahmadiyya sect, took place in Mong village, around 400m northeast of Multan, according to Mohammed Arif, a local policeman. "So far we only know that three men riding on a motorcycle suddenly came in the village Friday morning. Two of them went inside the mosque and started firing," he said.

The Ahmadiyya community was set up in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, an Indian religious leader of the nineteenth century who claimed to be a prophet with a mandate to renew Islam. This community calls itself Muslim but is held to be heretical, not recognizing Mohammed as the final Prophet. For this, the community is subject to persecution from integralists in many countries, including Pakistan, which has a Sunnite majority and where a law was passed in the seventies forbidding the Ahmadiyya from calling themselves Muslims. In Mong village, which has 18,000 residents, the community has around 150 members.

The Ahmadiyya are targeted by Muslim fundamentalists in Indonesia and Bangladesh also. In 1980, the Ulema Council in Indonesia issued an edict forbidding Ahmadiyya teachings. In Bangladesh, there have been several attacks on Ahmadiyya mosques took place with the aim of marginalising and eradicating these communities.

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