A Philadelphia man was murdered in Pakistan Thursday in what relatives say is a case of religious persecution.
Habibur Rehman came to Philadelphia from Pakistan 20 years ago. He raised a family and ran a newsstand in Germantown. But Rehman belonged to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a group that believes the long-awaited Messiah came to earth in the late 19th century. Jamal Elias, chairman of religious studies at Penn says the group is persecuted in Pakistan:
“The Amadddis could not call their places of worship a mosque,” he says. “It was a crime essentially to refer to themselves as muslims.”
And there’s been violence from muslim extremists. Rehman has been in Pakistan taking care of his father, and his brother in law Mujeebullah Chaudhry says he was driving with young children in the car when he was targeted
“Two guys came on a motorbike,” he says. “They came close to the window, and bang, bang, two shots, and that’s it, and they disappeared.”
Chaudhry says he doesn’t expect Pakistani police to take the crime seriously.