LAHORE, Pakistan — Terrorists attacked two mosques packed with hundreds of worshippers from a minority sect in eastern Pakistan on Friday. Over 80 people were killed and dozens wounded in the worst ever attack against the Ahmadi sect.
The assaults in Lahore were carried out by at least seven men, including three suicide bombers, officials said. Two attackers were captured. At one point, a gunman fired bullets from atop a minaret.
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Ahmadis are reviled as heretics by mainstream Muslims for their belief
that their sect's founder was a savior foretold by the Quran, Islam's
Muslim leaders have accused Ahmadis of defying the
basic tenet of Islam that says Mohammed was the final prophet, but
Ahmadis argue their leader was the savior rather than a prophet.
pressure from hard-liners, the Pakistani government in the 1970s
declared the Ahmadis a non-Muslim minority. They are prohibited from
calling themselves Muslims or engaging in Muslim practices such as
reciting Islamic prayers.
A US-based Ahmadi spokesman, Waseem
Sayed, said the sect abhors violence and was deeply concerned about the
attacks. He estimated Pakistan, a country of 180 million, had around 5
Worldwide he estimated there were tens of
millions of Ahmadis, but said that they have faced the most violence in
Pakistan, and that this was the worst attack in the history of the sect.