WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Ahmadiyya Muslim Caucus Co-Chairs Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Pete King (R-NY) released the following statement today, in celebration of the launch of the Caucus for the 115th Congress.

“Today, over 100 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are gathered for their 7th Annual “Day on the Hill” to launch the Congressional Ahmadiyya Muslim Caucus for the 115th Congress. As co-chairs of the Congressional Ahmadiyya Muslim Caucus, we commend the efforts of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United States for spreading Islam’s true teachings of moderation and restraint with compassion, patience, and prayers in the face of bitter opposition.

The Congressional Ahmadiyya Muslim Caucus was formed in 2014 to highlight the religious and human rights abuses regularly suffered by the members of the Ahmadi community across the world. Today, the Caucus continues to press onward toward the ultimate goal of societal and religious freedom for this oppressed community. We represent a bipartisan effort to advocate on behalf of oppressed Ahmadi Muslims consistent with the objectives of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

We remain extremely concerned about the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims worldwide.  In Pakistan, in particular, they have suffered for decades as victims of sectarian violence and of state-backed institutionalized discrimination. Under the 1974 Constitution, Ahmadi Muslims are considered non-Muslim and in 1984 Pakistan enacted the so-called “blasphemy laws” that target Ahmadi Muslims. Ahmadis account for almost 40% of all arrests under the blasphemy laws. Ahmadis are also disenfranchised, and in order to vote they must either declare that they are non-Muslim or sign a statement denouncing the founder of the Ahmadiyya Community as a false prophet.

The struggle of the Ahmadi community is one nearly every American has some connection to. Religious freedom is enshrined in our Constitution as a basic human right, and America has always idealized the concept of religious acceptance. As we re-launch the Congressional Ahmadiyya Muslim Caucus, we remain committed to shining a spotlight on instances of persecution and oppression faced by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.”