Dr. Mehdi Ali Qamar, an American cardiologist from Columbus, Ohio, was brutally killed in front of his wife and toddler son in eastern Pakistan this weekend. Dr. Qamar was reportedly shot 10 times by one of two men on motorbike as he entered a cemetery to visit a family grave. He was an Ahmadiyya Muslim, a religious community that faces severe governmental and social discrimination in Pakistan. Dr. Qamar was in Pakistan on a humanitarian mission, providing free services to all those in need of medical care, regardless of religion. He leaves behind a wife and three sons, ages 16, 6 and 2.
Pakistan’s constitution explicitly declares that Ahmadis are non-Muslims and denies them equal rights with other Pakistani citizens, which can create a climate of impunity surrounding attacks against Ahmadis. The country’s draconian blasphemy laws further contribute to the problem.
The Christian woman, Asia Bibi was denied her appeal hearing for the wrongful death sentence, this morning. Life in Pakistan grows harder each day for minorities, especially Christians. Advancing towards religious freedom in Pakistan has taken many steps backward. There is a pushing an all Islamic State and minorities are being stripped of their human rights, imprisoned or killed.
We are seeking to aid a Pakistani family suffering extreme persecution and now a false blasphemy charge. A charge wrongfully imposed on them due to speaking out for the religious rights of Pakistan’s minorities and for devoutly following the Christian life. They have done nothing wrong. They are loving and giving people, many times giving to suffering Muslims. What is the Muslims issue with them? It’s simple, they are active in the church and faithful Christians.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), co-chairs of the House Ahmadiyya Caucus, today released the following statement regarding the assassination of the American cardiologist:
“Dr. Qamar’s assassination is symptomatic of an environment in Pakistan that is hostile to religious freedom at both the governmental and societal level. Grievous violations routinely occur that especially impact religious minorities including Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus. I have called on the State Department to designate Pakistan a Country of Particular Concern for these very reasons. Dr. Qamar was an American citizen on a selfless humanitarian mission. His grieving family must be given every assurance that America’s first freedom, religious freedom, will be a cornerstone of U.S. engagement with Pakistan, which to date it has not been.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Dr. Mehdi Ali Qamar who was brutally killed simply for his faith. Discrimination, hatred and violence toward the Ahmadiyya community has long been sanctioned by Pakistan and must be addressed by U.S. foreign policy. We cannot tolerate the cold-blooded killings of American citizens traveling abroad. Dr. Qamar was a humanitarian silenced forever for selflessly caring for others regardless of religious differences. Peace, education, pluralism, racial and gender equality are the hallmarks of the Ahmadi people and true religious freedom is an absolute essential human right. I will continue to stand in solidarity with Ahmadiyya Muslims as they seek to live in a world free from hatred.”
Pray for the doctor’s family in the pain of grief due to a senseless act. Pray for the dark cloud to be lifted from Pakistan and for religious minorities suffering severe abuse. And may God have mercy of His faithful. In Jesus name, we pray.