WASHINGTON: US lawmakers on Friday announced a caucus to fight for the rights of the Ahmadi minority. The creation of a caucus - a group in the US Congress that shares an agenda - is primarily symbolic in itself but lays the groundwork for lawmakers to be more active. Republican Representative Frank Wolf, the co-chair with Democrat Jackie Speier, said the Ahmadiyya minority Caucus would press for the rights of Ahmadis in Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.
“We have an obligation. America cannot be silent,” Wolf told an event at Congress launching the caucus. Imam Naseem Mahdi, national vice president and missionary in charge of the Ahmadiyya Community USA, said the caucus would advocate not just for Ahmadis but “for the rights of all persecuted religious communities in the world.” “In time, we hope that foreign governments that persecute our community or otherwise permit militants to attack Ahmadis with impunity will take notice of the caucus,” he said.
Pakistan declared in 1974 that Ahmadis were non-Muslims. Indonesia’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but Ahmadis there have also faced violence, including a deadly 2011 rampage in West Java by a mob trying to prevent Ahmadis from worshipping.