Two weeks ago, the Assistant National Director of Interfaith Relations for the Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya came out in opposition to the proposed Islamic center in downtown Manhattan (“the Ground Zero mosque”). In a column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Qasim Rashid argues that the mosque is an affront to “human decency” and offends the memory of the 9/11 victims.
Ironically, this is the same argument that has been used by right wing extremists who have threatened violence against the mosque for similar reasons. He also claims, without citing any sources, that the Saudi government is funding the mosque; again, fomenting hysteria about Saudi plots to take over America is a common tactic of neo-conservative Islamophobes.
With New York being home to over 800,000 Muslims, the fear-mongering in response to the Ground Zero mosque at times borders on absurdity. This is how Clyde Haberman of the New York Times summed up the controversy: “The center, which could rise as many as 15 stories and has the blessing of local officials from the mayor on down, makes some people uneasy. The reasons are understandable, if not entirely admirable. Some opponents, mostly political conservatives, have exploited the discomfort with statements that are inflammatory or misleading, or both.”
Naseem Mahdi, one of the foremost Qadiani clerics in the United States, recently claimed that his group represented “one of the leading movements” aimed at “bringing Muslims out of the dark ages.” Again, the resemblance to radical neo-conservative dogma is striking. For it was none other than Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defense secretary under Pres. Bush, who said “We need an Islamic reformation” and then proceeded to lead the invasion of Iraq.
More to the point, such remarks lead one to question how the Qadiani leadership reconciles their laudable doctrine of “Love for all, Hatred for None” with their apparent support of intolerance and bigotry towards Muslims in America.