Being Female & Ahmadi | VOICES

Jan 2016

VOICES is a Tanqeed series of first-hand accounts by journalists, refugees, activists, marginalized community members and others documenting their adversity — and their resistance — in their own words.
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I spoke with this female Ahmadi student to document the tribulations Ahmadi women go through once they step out of the security of Rabwah, the Ahmadi secretariat situated in Central Punjab in district Chiniot. “Aisha” — not her real name — is a young woman who has lived in Rabwah her entire life except for a few years while she went to university for her masters’ degree. During that time, as Aisha details, she faced severe harassment.

Ahmadi women wear a distinct cut of burqa which makes them instantly recognizable. As a result, practicing Ahmadi women cannot camouflage their religious identity once they step out of their homes. In this context, the burqa is not only an act of faith but an act of resistance in the face of violent adversity. It is not unusual for an Ahmadi woman to get harassed and be called a “Mirzai” or “Mirzain” — derogatory terms for Ahmadis. “Mirzain” refers specifically to female Ahmadis.

This situation often results in gendered discrimination: Ahmadi women often face discrimination at marketplaces.
Whether it is buying clothes or groceries, Ahmadi customers are frequently rejected goods at all kinds of shops due to their faith.

The consequences of this gendered discrimination can sometimes strengthen patriarchal norms both outside and inside the Ahmadi community. This interview touches upon some of the patriarchal restraints Ahmadi women face while asserting their rights — like many Pakistani women from any faith, ethnicity or social class.

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One Response to Being Female & Ahmadi | VOICES

  1. Aseerzad on Jun 2016 at 6:49 AM

    Alhumdulilah Ahmadies men and women are not behind in any field of life despite all this hatred and discrimination

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