(Cross-posted at Peace, Bruv)
On Wednesday 18th May, there will be a policy debate on “the rise of extremism internationally and its impact on Britain” hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for the “Ahmadiyya Muslim Community” in conjunction with the “Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK” held in the House of Commons.
In order to register your interest in attending this event, you’ll need to write to the Ahmadiyya. That’s right, Kafka couldn’t have dreamt this up. In order to register your interest in attending a debate that will in all likelihood tar British Muslims with the brush of extremism and even terrorism, you have to write to a cult whose leader, Mirza Masroor in 2007 labelled all those who reject its founder (and self-claimed prophet) as Satan-worshippers.
Of interest is the panel. We have Jemima Khan, who is known for her humanitarian work, but whose engagement with Muslim groups seems limited to patronage of the widely discredited Quilliam Group. We have Lord Avebury, who was flown out to Pakistan to enjoy the hospitality of Ahmadis, but not Muslims as far as I’m aware, and who last year preposterously talked of an impending “holocaust” of Qadiani Ahmadis, a conclusion he arrived at with scant evidence. Finally, he called for a review of the Religious Hate Speech laws because the CPS didn’t find any actionable evidence in the “Ahmadiyya Hate Campaign” of 2010. They didn’t find any evidence because there wasn’t any. Kingston Police and the local council found the Ahmadiyya to be troublemakers. The press and media didn’t report the breakdown of the “Religious Hate” case with the same fanfare that they originally announced it. This was partly because they were complicit in the concoction of a flimsy case, openly talking of a leaflet that they’d never seen whilst misleading readers, viewers and listeners into believing that another quite ordinary leaflet that they did see was the leaflet that they were making the fuss about in the first place.
In his blog post, Lord Avebury refers to a leaflet in a shop window in the UK encouraging the murder of Ahmadis. This was absolutely false. He’s conflating the “Deception of the Qadiani” leaflet, the contents of which were not hateful, never mind illegal according to the CPS with another alleged leaflet, which we know now, thanks to the Kingston Police, never actually existed.
And we also have Ziauddin Sardar, who referred to Ahmadis in his 2006 article in the New Statesman as “British Muslims” and demanded “Islam must embrace different sects”. In a particularly uninformed passage, he wrote:
The major difference comes in the shape of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), the Punjabi founder of the sect. Orthodox Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last Prophet, and there will be no prophets after him. Now, Ahmad did not call himself a prophet, but “claimed to be the expected reformer of the latter days, the Awaited One of the world community of religions” – in other words, the Mahdi and the Messiah rolled into one
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was born in 1839, not 1835, no matter what the Ahmadis say. And Mirza Ghulam Ahmad did repeatedly call himself a prophet, violating a fundamental principle of Islam, that Muhammad (saw) is the final prophet. In fact, the Qadiani Ahmadis proudly refer to Ghulam Ahmad as “A Prophet to Unite Mankind in the Latter Days” on their website. Sardar is a fairly liberal Muslim, who is respected in some circles, but is by no means a scholar of Islam. More importantly, Sardar is dangerously unfamiliar with the esoterica of the Ahmadiyya cult. It’s rather like offering up a 16 year old to an experienced Scientologist. The latter will have the former hooked up to an e-meter before you can say Xenu.
The premise of the Ahmadiyya campaign to malign the law-abiding Muslim community is that the same extremism that sees murder of Ahmadis in foreign lands is on its way here, to the UK, and that Muslim thought leaders are inciting the “hatred” that will lead to (in Lord Avebury’s spectacularly disgraceful language) a “holocaust”. Muslims, by and large, abhor persecution, particularly given that they are more often than not, the victims of it. That this event should be held on the anniversary of the attacks on the Qadiani places of worship in Lahore is opportunistic and selfish. Over 30,000 Muslims have been murdered since the War of Terror was launched by America and its allies. The Ahmadiyya’s losses are broadly in proportion with the sad and tragic loss of life of all Pakistanis, Muslim, Ahmadi, Christian or otherwise. The point is that their suffering is not unique and to exploit that horrible day to continue to attack Muslims in the UK is short-sighted and its aim is to undermine the tolerance between the tiny Ahmadiyya community and the Muslims of the UK.
That the entire foundation of the “hate campaign” alleged by the Ahmadiyya was found to be baseless seems to have been ignored by the same people who promoted the lies in the first place. The alleged “Kill a Qadiyani” leaflet imagined by a young Ahmadi girl in south London never existed. The arrest of a “young bearded man” she so vividly described as distributing these imaginary leaflets in a sworn affidavit never happened. There is no hate campaign, except by the Ahmadiyya towards other Muslims. Their motive, like any cult, is power and prestige. This makes it even easier for them to continue to extort money from their captive membership, who are kept in a state of constant fear of Muslims.
What there is, is a growing discomfort amongst Muslims that the media gives a platform to the Ahmadiyya to voice in absentia the views of Muslims. It’s rather like letting 7th Day Adventists speak on behalf of the Church of England. Muslims are therefore quite rightly, educating each other on the true nature of the cult and its routine deception tactics. After all, if a Muslim girl marries an Ahmadi boy, the marriage is not Islamically valid. This has happened, and Muslims need to know why in 1974, the Ahmadiyya sect was declared a non-Muslim entity by consensus of all the leading Muslim scholars of the world in a meeting in Mecca, as well as being declared a non-Muslim minority by the National Assembly in Pakistan. This was not a measure taken lightly, as by nature, Islam is inclusive and encompasses a broad range of views.
That it took a press release of a document two days before the event for Muslims to become aware that such a session is being held without adequate Muslim representation should be of deep concern to us. We don’t hate the Qadianis. We just want them to be honest about who they are and to stop promoting Islamophobia at the highest levels. We also want the government to be keenly aware of the cult-like nature of the Ahmadiyya, a group that claims to be for “freedom”, but doesn’t allow freedom of opinion in its own ranks, that claims to be for “peace”, but creates an enormous fuss about a purported extremist threat in the UK based on a tissue of lies, that conflates deeply difficult issues in foreign lands with the markedly contrasting environment in the UK in order to curry political favour; a cult whose claim to be for peace rings hollow when their members rejoice at Muslim suffering and whose senior members call for more drone attacks on Pakistan. So much for loyalty then.
Muslims are against violence towards minorities, we abhor it. We are also victims of violence abroad and at home in the UK. To have the constant barrage of Islamophobia bolstered by a vociferously anti-Muslim cult who claim to be the only true Muslims is especially galling.