Akaash Ashar is another Ahmadi who grew up in Rabwah and was raped multiple times by other Ahmadi’s. His story was posted on the indus scrolls website just today. Akaash Ashar is a Toronto-based human rights and child abuse. He can be reached on twitter herein– @free_thinker3. More and more Ahmadi’s are coming forward and confessing to being raped or sexually assaulted at Rabwah. Afzal Upal came forward a few weeks ago and shook the #exahmadiamovement as well as the story of Nida Al-Nasser. Akaash explained how AMJ’s doctrine clearly states that every office-bearer is Khalifa’s respected representative. Therefore, compliance to every office-bearer’s authority is interpreted as allegiance to the Khalifa himself. This isn’t his only story, Akaash saw firsthand many cases of paedophilia involving Jama’at leaders and minors during his stay in Rabwah.
Ahmadiyya Rape Row: Another adult survivor of child sexual abuse speaks out against paedophilia in Jama’at; calls for awareness
Silencing triggers trauma in children: “We need to protect children against sexual abuse”
Arecent debate in social media involving an Ahmadi alleged sex abuse victim and the leadership of Ahmadiyya Jamaat (AJ) has reminded me of my own experiences and observations of sexual abuse in my hometown, Rabwah, Pakistan. I have personally gone through child sex abuse on several occasions in my childhood in Rabwah. I have been living with these very disturbing memories for over 40 years. The sole purpose of sharing these experiences is to create awareness in the general public and those authorities who have created an environment that allows such abuse to thrive with impunity. Furthermore, I would like to discuss the reasons that contribute to child sex abuse in Rabwah.
It happened again when I was about 7 years old. This time, it was in my own home — a place where I thought I was safe. Alas, that was not the case. The perpetrator was my cousin who was 15 years older than me. I was put in bed with him for the night by my parents — people who I thought would protect me.
I was only about four years old when I used to go to one of our neighbors’ house to read Qaida. Their son who was probably 10 years older than me used to play with my genitals. I never told any of my elders about any of this. I can’t remember why. With the fog of time, it’s hard for me to remember what was going through my mind back then.
It happened again when I was about 7 years old. This time, it was in my own home — a place where I thought I was safe. Alas, that was not the case. The perpetrator was my cousin who was 15 years older than me. I was put in bed with him for the night by my parents — people who I thought would protect me. Why did my parents think that this was a good idea is something I never asked them. As a parent, it’s hard for me to imagine doing anything close to that to my kids. Sadly, this was not the only time I was asked to sleep with older male relatives. It happened again a few short months later. My parents never seemed to suspect anything and I never dared to tell them, or anyone else, about it.
Besides my family, I also observed many other people in positions of authority over young vulnerable children acting obliviously to their safety. I have always wondered as to why? I believe the reasons go beyond individuals like my parents and that there are social structural reasons for the cavalier disregard for the safety of children.
Ahmadiyya Muslims Jama’at is a hierarchical organization headed by the Khalifa — who is believed by Ahmadis to be infallible. Jama’at promotes a culture of full obedience to the Khalifa. Allegiance to Khalifa is engraved in every child’s brain by the parents and by AMJ’s clerics and other intellectuals in religious programs. AMJ’s doctrine clearly states that every office-bearer is Khalifa’s respected representative. Therefore, compliance to every office-bearer’s authority is interpreted as allegiance to the Khalifa himself. Parents entrust their children to office-bearers of the Jama’at who organize many religious-educational and sports events in various neighborhoods of the town. I am not painting all office-bearers with the same brush but some of them happen to be paedophiles just as it happens in other societies. However, unlike other societies, there are no safety measures for preventing sex abuse at any of the events, the vulnerable children become easy prey for these paedophiles. During my stay in Rabwah, I saw firsthand many cases of paedophilia involving Jama’at leaders and minors.
This type of hierarchical culture promotes complete obedience by children for all elders, especially Jama’at officials. Being reasonably respectful is very different from being servile. This way of grooming completely enfeebles children’s personalities and shatters their confidence. It was this culture that encouraged those who sexually abused me when I was young. On all occasions, I was unable to assess the situation and resist the evil approach made by the elders whom I was supposed to obey.
Like other orthodox societies, sex is a taboo in AMJ, hence, there is absolutely no education provided on this topic. Neither parents nor children are aware of the precautions they are supposed to take with respect to an adult and a child contact. Most children are left on their own to learn everything about their sexuality and safety. In Rabwah, there are many private schools that are operated by the AMJ. There is no material found in their curriculum concerning the child’s sexual safety and training. Moreover, I have attended AJ’s religious educational events for more than forty years but I have never seen any content regarding sex abuse in their programs. Children have not even been given a very simple but extremely important lesson of ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’. Not just children but most parents are also ignorant about protecting their children from sex abuse. On two occasions I mentioned above, I was put in bed with someone 10 to 15 years older than me by my parents. My parents never gave it a single thought before giving my custody to these family guests for those nights in which I was sexually abused. How ignorant is this behavior of my parents? I cannot explain it. This is not just my story but this practice of putting children in bed with guests was very common there.
Ahmadiyya leadership claims to be the only one in the world that is on the right path defined by the divine. Its followers also believe that and would always be compelled to glorify their affiliation with AMJ. Any shortcoming such as child sex abuse is overlooked by the leadership as well as the followers. These people ignore the fact that the little innocent children pay the price for their organization’s deceitful honor. They continue to hide every sex abuse case and mute the victims. Very few such cases are reported to the authorities. The community leadership takes no initiatives to hamper this evil practice. They must understand that the acknowledgment of this issue and solving it would dignify their reputation rather than jeopardize it.
Although I could discuss only a few factors behind child sex abuse in my community, the fact remains that it is real and it is around us. It is probably happening in our home or the family living next door. It takes little courage to ponder over this very serious issue in our community and address it for the betterment of the little children. However, since the word ‘sex’ has been overly stigmatized in the AJ, people are so terrified of the consequences they might encounter down the road. Therefore, they choose to be quiet. I believe we must act now to educate our people and hold the authorities accountable and convince them to adopt children’s safety and security policy at every organizational level. To ensure children’s healthy self-esteem and confidence that is essential for their brain development, we must awaken each and every soul. Just look around and have a glimpse at the innocent faces and feel the pain that their body and soul both might have gone through!
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