Urgent steps needed to curb anti-Ahmadi extremism in UK, report says

Posted: Thu, 23 Jul 2020

Report on anti-Ahmadi discrimination

The government must take "urgent" steps to curb the rise of extremism and hate against Ahmadi Muslims in the UK, a parliamentary group has warned.

The all party parliamentary group (APPG) for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community highlighted anti-Ahmadi discrimination and propaganda in the UK in a report published on Monday.

The report, Suffocation of the faithful: Persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and the rise of international extremism, was written in response to the "worrying" increase of persecution against Ahmadi Muslims and other religious communities in Pakistan.

Anti-Ahmadi discrimination and hate in the UK

Chair of the APPG Siobhain McDonagh MP said the "overspill" of hatred against Ahmadi Muslims to the UK was "perhaps the most worrying" issue identified in the report.

The report said the murder of Ahmadi Muslim Asad Shah in Glasgow in 2016 served as a "stark illustration" of the effects of anti-Ahmadi sentiment.

Other incidents detailed in the report included:

  • Extremists delivering anti-Ahmadi propaganda through TV, radio, literature and the internet. This included literature displayed at the mosque of a registered charity, Khatme Nubuwwat Centre (KNC), calling for the killing of Ahmadi Muslims.
  • The resignation of a councillor in Cardiff who was forced to quit her position for defending Ahmadi Muslims in council meetings.
  • The refusal of Birmingham's SACRE – a body tasked with promoting religious education in schools – to let Ahmadi Muslims join unless they agreed not to register themselves as Muslims.
  • The termination of an Ahmadi Muslim advertising campaign due to demands from local non-Ahmadi Muslims.
  • The cancellation of an Ahmadi Muslim exhibition on the Qur'an in Dewsbury following objections from a local Muslim group.

The report said Ahmadi Muslims also face day-to-day discrimination, including unfair dismissals from employment, boycotts of their businesses, and bullying of children from Ahmadi families at school.

It also highlighted the Muslim Council of Britain's track record of not accepting Ahmadis as Muslim.

Persecution in Pakistan

Ahmadi Muslims or Ahmadiyya are a minority sect in Pakistan, where their persecution is "severest" according to the report.

It is a criminal act punishable by imprisonment or death for Ahmadis to identify as Muslims under Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

Much anti-Ahmadi hatred stems from their support for a secular state of Pakistan rather than a model based on Islamic law.

The report said anti-Ahmadi hatred is taught to children in schools, including in their textbooks. It said a large amount of aid granted to Pakistan by the UK and other countries is used to support education, but "insufficient checks" mean UK aid could be used to further anti-Ahmadi propaganda.

NSS comment

National Secular Society head of policy and research Megan Manson said the report "raises an important and disturbing issue".

"Anti-Ahmadi hatred and discrimination is an insidious threat to community cohesion, equality and in some cases even the lives of Ahmadi Muslims in the UK. Authorities must not turn a blind eye to anti-Ahmadi extremism – especially when it is facilitated by the charitable sector and UK aid."

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Tags: Discrimination, Extremism