The Ahmadis: Community, Gender, and Politics in a Muslim Society
Following on the work he began in Conscience and Coercion: Ahmadi Muslims and Orthodoxy in Pakistan, Antonio Gualtieri returned to Pakistan to continue his conversations with devotees of the Ahmadi community. He reveals how this traditional society deals with conflicts arising from contact with the non-Ahmadi and shows how the Ahmadi survive in a country that is generally hostile to them. Dedicated to supernatural revelation and the divine governance of society, Pakistan's Ahmadi community has endured mob violence and penal sanctions for refusing to embrace the beliefs of the Sunni majority. They disagree with fundamentalist ideas of exclusiveness and consider themselves a reformed version of Islam. Although they have adopted Enlightenment ideas about the pursuit of scientific knowledge and produced a notable number of technicians, doctors, and scientists, women continue to live under a strict definition of purdah and the community remains conservative. The Ahmadis reveals a society strictly grounded in divinely prescribed patterns - including parental authority, close family ties, a disposition towards gender-specific roles, and separation of the sexes - but at odds with fanatical Muslim fundamentalism, whose wrath has spread beyond the Ahmadi minority to include the West.
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