The Ahmadiyya Muslims from Pakistan are enjoying their three days of religious freedom fully during the community's annual convention at the sect's headquarters here.
From December 27 to 29, they'll take pleasure in the small privileges they are denied in own country that considers them non-Muslim. In Pakistan, they can't call themselves Muslim, or perform "aazan" (a call to the people to assemble in the mosque for prayer), or participate in the Friday prayer at the mosques. Sometimes, they are target of communal hatred, which has killed many of their preachers.
While in India, they are free to observe their faith and attend its rituals. On Friday, they are blessed to be praying at the Ahmadiyya mosque at Qadian. It does not in any way weaken their patriotic feelings for Pakistan. They'd listen to no word against their country and its government. Restrictions, they say, are their internal matter.
In spite of active opposition to their faith, the Pakistani Ahmadiyyas avoid discussing it with the Indian media to save the image of their country. A community that's denied fundamental rights tolerates atrocities, hoping good sense will prevail one day.