Muslim cleric banned in Pakistan is preaching in UK mosques

A Pakistani Muslim cleric who celebrated the murder of a popular politician is in Britain on a speaking tour of mosques. The news has alarmed social cohesion experts who fear such tours are promoting divisions in the Muslim community.

Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri has been banned from preaching in Pakistan because his sermons are considered too incendiary. However, he is due to visit a number of English mosques, in heavily promoted events where he is given star billing.

Qadri publicly praises Mumtaz Qadri who in 2011 murdered his employer, Salman Taseer, a popular Pakistani politician who spoke out against the country’s blasphemy laws. Qadri was executed earlier this year but to his tens of thousands of supporters he remains a hero who defended their interpretation of Islam.

Mumtaz Qadri was a key influence on Tanveer Ahmed, the Bradford taxi driver who in March stabbed to death Asad Shah. Shah, a member of the Ahmadi Muslim community who ran a convenience shop in Glasgow, was targeted after messages he put out on social media including an Easter greeting to Christians.

His was one of several recent high profile murders in which a Muslim from one community was killed by a Muslim from another community for holding what they considered to be “blasphemous” views. In February, a former Sufi imam in Rochdale was murdered by two Islamic State supporters whom they claimed was practising “black magic”. In May, a Sufi Muslim leader was hacked to death near the north Bangladeshi town of Rajshahi in what police said was an attack by Islamic extremists.

Qadri, considered by many scholars to hold moderate views except on blasphemy, was due to speak at the Falkirk Central mosque in Scotland, but his invitation was withdrawn after a public outcry. However, the Observer has established that he is due to appear at several mosques in England.

The Sunday Post in Scotland reported that Qadri has been labelled a “firebrand” by the authorities in Karachi and barred from preaching his incendiary sermons. He was accused of acting in a manner “prejudicial to public safety and maintenance of public order”. He was banned from addressing crowds in October, according to a legal document seen by the Post.

Haras Rafiq, chief executive of the Quilliam Foundation, said Qadri was the type of preacher who presented new challenges for promoting cohesion in Britain’s Muslim community.

“These are people who may not be extremist in the way that we know Isis or Boko Haram are extremist,” Rafiq said. “But when they apply the blasphemy law to justify the killing of other Muslims for not being the right Muslims then we have a huge challenge. Anybody who supports the murder of another person is dangerous.”

Ahmadi Muslim leader pushes plight in Congress

WASHINGTON — The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is persecuted around the world, but it has plenty of friends on Capitol Hill.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined more than 20 House colleagues and at least one senator Wednesday (June 27) at a reception to mark the first visit of the Ahmadiyya’s spiritual leader, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, to Congress.

The Ahmadiyya have faced severe repression, Pelosi said, “but you refused to turn to bitterness or vengeance.”

“The message we carry is ‘if you are being hurt, do not respond with hurt,’” said Ahsanullah Zafar, president of the Ahmadiyya community in the U.S.

Katrina Lantos Swett, the chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, asked the audience to stand up for the Ahmadiyya.

“The message of the Ahmadiyya community is a positive call for world harmony and liberty,” Swett said. “We who believe in peace and freedom dare not be silent.”

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland lays foundation stone for first mosque in Galway

17 September 2010

The foundation stones for the first purpose-built mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Ireland have been laid in Galway by Mirza Masroor Ahmad, world leader of community, during his first visit to the country. The Masjid Maryam (Mary Mosque) is only the third purpose-built mosque in Ireland and the first in Galway.
Ahmadi Muslims have been living in Ireland for more than three decades. Several hundred members of the Ahmadi community were present at the foundation stone laying, which was followed by a civic reception which local religious leaders from different Christian churches and politicians attended.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1889, and it is estimated that there are several million followers worldwide, mainly in a number of African states, Pakistan and Indonesia. Ahmadi Muslims face severe discriminations in several Muslim countries, such as Pakistan where they have been banned from identifying themselves as Muslims since the early 1980s.

Uneasy Peace for Berlin’s New Ahmadi Mosque

Berlin’s first Ahmadi mosque opened its doors in the former eastern side of the German capital last month. The building and the religious group are putting religious tolerance to the test. A 13-meter-high (43-foot) minaret competes for attention alongside pillars advertising the fast food outlets at a busy intersection in Pankow, a north-eastern suburb of Berlin. Inside the mosque, the call to Friday prayer echoes as men fall to their knees. Upstairs, women turn to the loudspeakers relaying the imam’s chant. It is not audible from the streets, where the mosque draws suspicious disapproval. The Khadija Mosque, which opened on Oct. 16, has met with strong opposition ever since its inception in 2006. The first purpose-built mosque to open in former East Germany, it provides a new center for Berlin’s Ahmadi community. Ahmadiyya Islam is a reform movement founded in India in the 19th century. The Ahmadi are not recognized by mainstream Muslims, and many have left Pakistan where they face religious persecution.

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Islamic sect complaint highlights Ofcom’s increasing impotence

A small Islamic sect that is deemed heretical by some mainstream Muslims has complained to Ofcom after being labelled “liable for death” by a Pakistani television show broadcast in Britain via the Sky satellite platform. The complaint, made by leaders of the Ahmadi community in Britain, is being investigated by the watchdog and raises concerns over how much control it has over the content of the burgeoning number of foreign language channels UK viewers can access. The comments were made during a live broadcast of Aalim Online, a religious discussion programme aired daily on Geo TV throughout the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. It is viewed by millions of Urdu speaking viewers worldwide. Aalim Online, available in Britain on Sky Channel 815, is presented by Dr Aamir Liaquat Hussain, a former minister for religious affairs turned popular spiritual television host. Ofcom is investigating the 7 September edition of the show, which included views from a number of prominent Pakistani Muslims scholars as guest speakers. The broadcast coincided with the anniversary of a change in Pakistan’s constitution in 1974 that officially classified Ahmadis as “non-Muslims”. Human rights groups say this event legitimised persecution of the sect in Pakistan and eventually forced the leadership of the 70 million strong community to flee to London. The Ahmadis are deemed heretical by hardline Islamic authorities because of their belief that their 19th century founder was the Mahdi – Islam’s equivalent of the messiah – and the successor to the Prophet Mohamed. Dr Hussein asked his guests during the broadcast how orthodox Muslims should respond to the claims made by Ahmadis. One speaker, Dr Saeed Ahmad Innayatullah, responded: “As long as this sedition is alive and even one [Ahmadi] remains on this earth, there is need to eliminate it.” Two other speakers, meanwhile, used the Arabic phrase “Wajb-ul-Qatal” (liable for death) to describe those who believe in Ahmadi doctrine. Dr Hussein did not intervene to moderate those views, nor was a member of the Ahmadi community invited to speak. Earlier this year, Ofcom ruled Geo TV had breached guidelines during another prayer show hosted by Dr Hussein, when the host called for the death of Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie. During evening prayers he said: “Ruin Rushdie. I beg you for his death. O God, give him death.” Jerome Taylor reports.

Taliban claims attack on Dutch chief’s son is retaliation for ‘Fitna’

Lieutenant Dennis van Uhm he son of the Netherlands’ new military chief was one of two Dutch NATO soldiers killed in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan on Friday. Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the attack, and said that the attack was in retaliation for the anti-Islam film _Fitna’ released by a Dutch MP. “We knew that the son of Dutch chief of staff was in the vehicle” said rebel spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi – changing his account from a previous statement that the militant group did not know the identities of those in the car. “This [attack] was part of our operation against the Dutch. First it was because they have occupied our country and secondly it was in retaliation to the Dutch insult to our great prophet Mohammed,” said Ahmadi.