Dear Respected Angela Merkel,
We write as an informal group of organizations and individuals who are scholars, religious leaders and human rights advocates. We are from many faiths or acting in a secular capacity, representing a high degree of diversity. While there may be very little we agree on theologically, or politically, we all agree on the importance of freedom of religion or belief for all faiths and none.
With this letter, we respectfully urge you to stop all deportations of the Ahmadis from Germany.
Recently in September 2021, a report was issued by the UK Home Office titled “Country Policy and Information Note Pakistan: Ahmadis” where it was clearly stated:
“The background to the risk faced by Ahmadis is legislation that restricts the way in which they are able openly to practise their faith. The legislation not only prohibits preaching and other forms of proselytising but also in practice restricts other elements of manifesting one’s religious beliefs, such as holding open discourse about religion with non-Ahmadis, although not amounting to proselytising. The prohibitions include openly referring to one’s place of worship as a mosque and to one’s religious leader as an Imam. In addition, Ahmadis are not permitted to refer to the call to prayer as azan nor to call themselves Muslims or refer to their faith as Islam. Sanctions include a fine and imprisonment and if blasphemy is found, there is a risk of the death penalty which to date has not been carried out although there is a risk of lengthy incarceration if the penalty is imposed’ (Page 11).”
In addition, recently the three Special Rapporteurs of the UN (Ahmad Shaheed Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief; Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression; Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues) issued a joint statement highlighting the perilous situation for Ahmadis in Pakistan:
In addition, a Joint Motion for a Resolution that was adopted on 28 April 2021 by the European Parliament (2021/2647(RSP) recognised Pakistan as a dangerous country for Ahmadis where they face persecution and their lives are at risk. Please find enclosed the full resolution.
Ahmadis facing deportatio in Germany
This month two innocent Ahmadis were deported:
Name: Waqar Ahmad Tallah
Date of Birth: 17.10.1989
Status: In Germany since September 2018.
Name: Hafeez Ahmad
Date of Birth: 12.05.1959
Status: In Germany again since June 2012.
Cases are being rejected continually. Around 350/400 Ahmadis are facing threat of deportation. On average, two Ahmadis are on deportation flights to Pakistan from Germany every month.
Courts in eastern areas of Germany reject 100% of cases. Most of them have no right to appeal and are asked to leave the country as soon as possible.
People are homeless, without jobs, they spend nights on the streets because of fear of deportation. Social help and medical facilities have been withdrawn in order to pressurise them further. There are many such cases in East Germany.
German authorities are deporting innocent asylum-seekers belonging to the Ahmadiyya faith in breach of all national and international laws and conventions. The eligibility guidelines of the UNHCR explicitly state that:
“In light of the foregoing, UNHCR considers that members of the Ahmadi community, including those targeted by militant groups or charged with criminal offences under the blasphemy or anti-Ahmadi provisions, are likely to be in need of international refugee protection on account of religion, ethnicity, (imputed) political opinion, and/or other relevant grounds, depending on the individual circumstances of the case.”
Despite clear and unequivocal guidelines by the UNHCR, the deportation and denial of asylum cases by German courts and immigration authorities are placing the lives of Ahmadis at risk. The Ahmadis in Pakistan are continuously facing brutal and unjust criminal charges, due to their faith. Additionally, the official latest Report of the Dutch Government, United Kingdom Home Office of 2021 and Austrian Red Cross (ACCORD) testify that:
“Unlike the position of Ahmadis, Christians in general are permitted to practise their faith, can attend church, participate in religious activities and have their own schools and hospitals”.
This shows the brutal and horrific treatment of Ahmadis in Pakistan. Please find enclosed copies of all reports.
Germany has always been at the forefront of protecting minorities and is the signatory of multiple international conventions. As the European Parliamentarian recognized, Ahmadis in Pakistan are religiously, socially, and economically discriminated against and all their rights particularly the right to profess and practice their faith have been taken away.
We appeal to the German Authorities and those concerned parties to acknowledge the fact that the Blasphemy laws are a real and existential threat to the fundamental human rights of minorities including Ahmadis as noted by the Resolution passed on 28 April 2021 by the European Parliament (2021/2647(RSP).
We urge the German Government to stop the deportation of all other Ahmadis to Pakistan, who can potentially face life imprisonment or the death penalty under
blasphemy law for practicing their belief. These members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are currently seeking protection in Germany.
International Institute for Religious Freedom