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Murder in the name of Allah: Interview with a Survivor of the Lahore Attacks

All in all the firing at the Baitun Noor mosque lasted for 45 minutes, killing 25 and injuring a further 35. The police only arrived after we had captured both terrorists. Even though we had restrained both of them, they dared not approach the terrorists for fear that the suicide jackets may explode at any point.

Photo: Courtesy MKA – UK

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: MKA / AMYA – UK
By Farooq Aftab | January 5, 2012

My name is Muzaffar Ahmad. I am originally from Lahore, Pakistan and my constituency is Garden Town which is part of the Model Town Majlis. During the Lahore massacre, I was on duty in the Baitun Noor mosque, Model Town. I had the opportunity to perform duties there before and after the incident. The structure of masjid Baitun Noor is such that there is a pre-existing atrium and on top of that a new hall was built for the women’s section. In addition to this there is a basement. All in all, the mosque compound is spread over an area of 4 Canal (0.5 Acre) and can accommodate 1500 worshippers. If required, prayers can also be offered in the courtyard.

On the day of the incident, local Khuddam were performing duties inside the compound and at the entrance, whereas Khuddam from other majaalis were on duty outside the compound at various locations. Leading up to 28th May there were many lesser occurrences which gave an indication that something was not right.
A few days prior to the event the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat organisation held conferences in several non-Ahmadi mosques across Model Town and spread false propaganda against the Jama’at, saying that Ahmadis (God forbid) commit blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (saw) and believe that the Promised Messiah (as) is greater in rank than the Holy Prophet (saw). As a result, residents who were well aware of Ahmadis turned against the Jama’at. By presenting the Jama’at’s teachings in this corrupt manner their sole purpose was to mentally prepare the terrorists and to carve a path for the killing of Ahmadis. Also two or three days before the event there were signs of red mist in the atmosphere, which was noticed not only by myself, but others as well.

On the day of the incident, I arrived for duty at 10am. Qaid sahib assigned me to cover the roof of the mosque. It was my duty to look out for any unusual activity and if so, report it to the Khuddam immediately. I was covering the right section of the roof which coincidently was the side used for the attack and I was able to witness the whole event unfold.

Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, who is a seventh grade student, informed us that on the day he also happened to arrive by 10am and sat inside the mosque. The sermon had only just begun when he heard firing outside. At that moment everybody stood up. Murabbi sahib was advising other worshippers to recite Darood Shareef. Slowly but steadily the firing came closer and closer, by which time everyone ran to the basement to take cover and started praying fervently. It was after a long period of the time that the firing eventually stopped.

Muzaffar Ahmad tells us that whilst on duty it was routine for Qaid sb to make timed rounds to check on the Khuddam. It all seemed normal on the day up until when the first shots were fired. At that moment a motorbike carrying two terrorists approached the mosque. They were fully equipped with: hand grenades, ammunition and other weaponry including the motorbike which they strapped with explosives. Above all, they were wearing suicide jackets underneath. Therefore when the Khadim on duty attempted to stop the motorbike, the bike was detonated, killing the Khadim.

For our defence we had no artillery of our own. This is a direct result of the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat organisation. A few days prior to the incident they filed an FIR (First Incident Report) police report against the president of the Jama’at and Qaid Majlis. They accused us of keeping weapons illegally. Consequently, the police ordered us to remove any weapons in our possession from the mosque under the pretence of our “safety” and instead gave us a few patrol officers. Since it is the Jama’at’s policy to comply with the authorities and not to take the law into our own hands, we had with us only one armed security guard, who lost his life battling valiantly with the terrorists.

Inside the mosque there is a safety measure whereby there are two gates, one a few yards behind the main gate.  The terrorists threw a grenade between these gates, to remove anyone who might be on duty there.

Without any barricade ahead the terrorists made their way into the compound and entered the mosque from the main door firing at will. One of them was noticeably injured. He headed towards to the main hall of the mosque. Murabbi sahib constantly urged men and women to pray fervently. Prayers included the Khilafat jubilee prayers as well as Darood Shareef. He urged the worshippers to remain seated and stay calm. He also raised slogans: “God is Great, God is Great” for the uplift of the people. It is a wonder how the hall remained calm throughout without a hint of panic or fear.

Since the doors were barricaded the injured terrorist opened fire through the windows. Many people in the first few rows were martyred in this attack and dozens were left injured. Behind the Mihraab, there was a small door which was used for ventilation. As the terrorist attempted to break down this door, the Khuddam forced it shut. However, he managed to squeeze the barrel of his gun through a gap and opened fire once again, resulting in the instant deaths of the people in front.

The second terrorist made his way to the first floor. I also came down to the first floor from the roof along with other Khuddam. As he was about to throw the hand grenade we took refuge in the main hall. I managed to take cover behind one of the pillars in the hall. Bearing in mind Murabbi sahib’s advice moments ago we all engaged ourselves in prayer. Just in front of me was a wooden door with an opaque window, through which I could sense someone approaching. The terrorist opened the door. The distance between me and him was no more than 7-9 feet. As he opened fire I positioned myself behind the pillar as to avoid the spray of bullets. One whistled past me scratching the surface of my body. Blood started pouring from the wound. Noticing the fact that I was injured, the terrorist now turned his attention to the others in the hall. Seizing the opportunity I gathered my strength and charged at the terrorist, managing to grab his neck with one hand and the barrel of the gun with the other, which prevented him firing on anyone else. Due to the constant firing the barrel of the gun was scolding hot and burnt my hand. Despite this I managed to pin the terrorist to the ground and snatched his gun from him. However, the threat was not yet over as he now turned his attention to his suicide jacket. He was struggling to free his right hand in order to blow himself up. Had this happened it would have had devastating effect. In the meantime other Khuddam arrived to help and tied down the terrorist. Huzur (atba) also mentioned this incident in his sermon of 4th June 2010.

The Khuddam took me to the adjacent room. My body was now aching all over due to my wounds, however I realised that my younger brother was downstairs and I now started to worry for his safety. I asked all the Khuddam about him but no one seemed to know of his whereabouts. Ignoring my pains I started tending to a Khadim who was severely wounded. Some managed to find juice in the upstairs fridge and gave it to the injured to relinquish their energy. They also applied ice to the wounds for relief.

The worshippers downstairs also managed to capture the injured terrorist. As soon as he was restrained, we were asked to come downstairs, at which point the ambulance service had arrived. I started to worry even more for my brother and wanted to look for him but the Khuddam forced me to the hospital. There was chaos even at the hospital. There ambulances coming and going every second. Next to my bed there was another Ahmadi who was significantly older than me and despite his severe injuries, tried to cheer me up in an attempt to divert my attention from my injuries. Since there was a shortage of beds in the hospital, I had to share my bed with another Ahmadi and when his family arrived to see him they treated me like their own. They insisted that I should be given medical attention first and even provided me with food. This is but another opportunity to witness the love and affection between the Jama’at members.

After being seen to by the doctors I left the hospital on the same night, since it was the Jama’at’s instructions that anyone who is not severely wounded should return home immediately. The Jama’at feared that an attack on the hospital maybe imminent since a vast number of the patients were Ahmadis. A fear that turned out to be correct, when on the 31st May, there was an attack on the Jinnah hospital.

All in all the firing at the Baitun Noor mosque lasted for 45 minutes, killing 25 and injuring a further 35. The police only arrived after we had captured both terrorists. Even though we had restrained both of them, they dared not approach the terrorists for fear that the suicide jackets may explode at any point. However, later on, in their press conference with the media, they claimed that they were the ones who captured one of the terrorists, which is an unashamed lie.

After this incident the morale of the Ahmadis was so high that the people, who were on duty since 10am on that Friday, did not go home for a whole week. They stayed at the mosque and performed round the clock duties. There were so many volunteers present that we had to send some of the Khuddam home.

The reaction to this incident among the non-Ahmadis was such that the less educated sector commended the event, without realising the fact that the very same terrorists also attack their mosques. On the contrary the educated sector condemned the attack. All my peers in school knew that I was an Ahmadi but most of them were pugnacious. Amongst the non-Ahmadis in my neighbourhood not a single family offered any support or comfort after this incident.

The Murabbi sahib of Model Town mosque was martyred along with the district Amir sahib and our local President. All further instructions were given out by Qaid sahib who in turn received instructions from the Jama’at’s Central Office. The following day a delegation from Rabwah arrived in Lahore to see the extent of the damage caused by attacks and also visited the injured in hospital.

The day after the incident, when I arrived at the mosque there was a strange feeling of absence. I entered the mosque with a heavy heart and embraced Qaid sahib. The whole mosque was covered with blood. In the main hall there were still body parts lying everywhere. Due to the attacks, Jumu’ah prayers were not offered, however Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Ishaa were performed as normal. In this way there wasn’t a single prayer that was missed, despite the severity of the situation. All the prayers were offered on the first floor. In every sajdah and ruku, worshipers would cry out for those martyred and would pray that God Almighty grant them patience and strength through this difficult period.

By the following Friday, we managed to clear out the mosque. The attendance of this Friday prayer was even greater than normal.

In the end, what I would like to say to the Khuddam is that we should confront every difficulty with prayer and patience. We should counter any threat with honour and dignity. In any difficult trial, it should be the Khuddam who are the first to offer their services and ensure we never fall short of the standards that our Beloved Khalifah (atba) would like to see from us. May Allah enable us to do so. Ameen.

“I will never forget the scenes I witnessed that day. The whole Jama’at was grieving with us, every heart was crying out in union.”

Read original post here: Interview with a Survivor of the Lahore Attacks

This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Ahmadiyya Times.


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One Response

  1. Maz says:

    you are not alone we around the world cry with you and pray for you all and pray that Allah grants us the same courage you all displayed.YOU ARE ALL WORLD CHAMPIONS IN MY HEART SOUL AND MIND.real soldiers of Faith those that help others even when facing death, torture and persecution. May Allah always be your guiding light and benefactor ameen

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