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Pure-istan: Identity, Secularism and Pakistan’s Contested Struggle: The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

Ahmed, Sania N.

In Pakistan, the issue of religious freedom is deeply embedded in the trajectory of the political construction of religious identity, a process that has caused severe violations of human rights for many groups, particularly the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. This community has been historically excluded and discriminated by law and society on the basis of religious distinction. The question of exclusion and persecution may be unpacked through a critical analysis of the role of secularization, and particular variants of secularism exclusive to non-Western states. The objective of this paper will be to address the difficulty of applying a simplistic rendition of a Western template of secularization in Pakistan and the difficulty of repair. I will argue that the vision of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the primary founding father of Pakistan, had been the most prime example of how both secularism and religious moral ethos may be negotiated to yield a form of secularism that is exclusive to non-Western states with regards to religious identity. It is this framework that ought to be kept in mind when approaching the Ahmadi issue today and formulating solutions.

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Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Ikawa, Daniela
Martin, J. Paul
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
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