Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 147, Issue 96

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

The Senate

Motion to Condemn Attacks on Worshippers in Mosques in Pakistan and to Urge Equal Rights for Minority Communities—Debate Continued

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak on the motion to condemn attacks on worshipers in mosques in Pakistan and to urge equal rights for minority communities, which was presented by the Honourable Senator Finley.

The events that took place in Lahore, Pakistan, on May 28, 2010, were truly horrific. The coordinated bombings of not one, but two places of worship that left more than 80 dead and hundreds injured was a clear act of terrorism and is unacceptable.

Those in attendance at the mosques were a part of the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam, a smaller religious group that has existed in the country for a number of decades now. It was due to their divergent religious views that they were attacked in one of the holiest places for a Muslim, a mosque. As Senator Finley stated, and I completely agree:

To kill in a place of worship is the ultimate insult to faith and religion.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the Ahmadiyya sect has been a victim of religious violence. Just a few weeks ago, 1,500 people stormed a mosque in Indonesia to stop 20 Ahmadiyya followers from worshiping. The mob killed three men and severely wounded six others.

It is important to highlight that these acts, which were committed by a group that justifies their ways in the name of Islam, can in fact not logically be associated with the faith itself. The killing of innocent individuals, regardless of their religious beliefs, is unacceptable in Islam. The aggressive nature and approach of the small minority of extremists in dealing with people of other beliefs is incorrect and un-Islamic.


The Holy Quran states:

Whosoever killeth a human being, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.

Honourable senators, in spite of what ideology was promoted by the fundamentalists who committed the bombings of the mosques in Lahore, true Islam promotes the value of all human life. Every person in the world, regardless of faith, should be treated with full respect and human dignity. The Ahmadiyya minority deserves no less.

I ask these fundamentalists and extremists not to use my faith of Islam to carry out these murderous acts.

Honourable senators, as Canadians, we are fortunate enough to have our basic rights and freedoms, which in turn allow us to speak up against injustices in the world without fear of repercussions. As such, we should stand up against both of these events and do what we can to ensure that such tragedies do not occur again.

We Canadians need to encourage foreign states and police forces to protect not only the rights but the lives of Ahmadiyyans. We need to help ensure that governments remain tough on Islamic extremists and no longer fear the backlash that might be perpetuated by doing so. We can no longer sit back and watch ignorance and bigotry prevail.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Senator Ataullahjan and Minister Kenney for attending the funeral of Minister Bhatti, the minorities minister of Pakistan. By attending this funeral, they pointed out what Canada stands for. As Canadians, we must act to protect the rights of religious minorities.

I give my full support to Senator Finley’s motion, and in doing so I urge:

That the Senate condemns last Friday’s —

— that is, May 28, 2010 —

— barbaric attacks on worshippers at two Ahmadiyya Mosques in Lahore, Pakistan;

That it expresses its condolences to the families of those injured and killed; and

That it urges the Pakistani authorities to ensure equal rights for members of minority communities, while ensuring that the perpetrators of these horrendous attacks are brought to justice.

Honourable senators, I believe that we live in a country that lets all its citizens practice their faith. This is a value we are proud of, and we should use our government’s good offices internationally to state that we as Canadians stand for all people practising their faith and that we will support people all over the world in practising their faith. That is our Canadian value, and we are proud of it.


Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I see that the bill, as currently worded, indicates that the Senate condemns last Friday’s barbaric attacks.

I would like to speak with Senator Finley to see if there is a possibility of proposing an amicable amendment to make this motion receivable. That is why I am moving adjournment of the debate until I have a chance to speak with Senator Finley.

(On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.)