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Thousands attend funeral of Dr. Mehdi Ali Qamar killed by extremists in Pakistan

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Family, friends, and politicians attended the funeral of slain cardiologist, Dr. Mehdi Ali Qamar, today in Vaughan, Ontario. Dr. Qamar was gunned down by two men in Rabwah, Pakistan on May 26, 2014 as he was visiting the cemetery where several of his relatives were buried. He was shot 11 times while his wife and toddler son watched in horror.

Dr. Qamar, who held a dual US and Canadian citizenship, was visiting Pakistan on a humanitarian mission. This was not his first trip as he had traveled to his homeland many times before to volunteer at the Tahir Heart Institute in Rabwah. Dr. Qamar was a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a sect of Islam which has been outlawed in Pakistan. His brutal murder has been attributed to the hate campaign against the Ahmadi Muslims and the Pakistani government’s backing of atrocities committed against them.

In 1974, Pakistan passed a constitutional amendment declaring Ahmadi Muslims to be “non-Muslim.” In 1984, Pakistan passed anti-blasphemy and anti-Ahmadi laws criminalizing religious practices of Ahmadi Muslims, which are punishable by fine, imprisonment or capital punishment. To date, militant extremists have murdered hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan with impunity.

“Dr. Mehdi Ali Qamar, an American physician on a humanitarian mission has fallen victim to an unspeakable act of terrorism,” said Dr. Nasim Rehmatullah, National Vice President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. “Pakistan’s state-facilitated persecution of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has emboldened militant extremists to engage in horrific acts of violence against Ahmadi Muslims and other religious minorities. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community implores Pakistan to abide by international human rights commitments, repeal all hate-filled anti-blasphemy and anti-Ahmadi laws and provide adequate security and police protections for vulnerable religious communities.”

The National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Canada said that the murder of Dr. Qamar was a “direct result of the state-sponsored extremism that is practiced in Pakistan.” He is now included among the 137 Ahmadi Muslims killed during the last four years. The worst of these killings were the twin attacks on Ahmadi Muslim mosques in Lahore, Pakistan on May 28, 2010 in which 86 lives were lost.

Dr. Qamar’s burial took place at the Maple Cemetery in Vaughan. He is survived by his wife and three sons.

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