As the world marked the 10th anniversary of 9/11, a leading Muslim group took the issue of the rise of religious extremism. The debate was hosted by Dr Tannock and
organised in conjunction with the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the South Asia Democratic Forum. It took place on Tuesday 20 September at 17.00 hours in room PHS 3C50 of the European Parliament.
The event featured a special message from His Holiness Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad in which he called for greater tolerance and for the respect of human rights, noting that: “Polarisation has beset the world, whether it is manifested in the discriminatory laws of Pakistan, Indonesia or Saudi Arabia that are used to target smaller religious groups, or the laws in Western countries that target manifestations of religious observances, such as the use of the hijab in France or the minaret in Switzerland”.
Mr. Rafiq Hayat, National President Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK briefly but very precisely explained the roots of extremism in Islam. He warned of the alarming spread of a narrow and intolerant interpretation of Islam inPakistan and other countries, which is coming toEurope through media such as satellite television and the internet.
Sofia Lemmetyinen highlighted research that showed that imposing curbs on religious freedom actually created violent religious persecution.
Dr Charles Tannock MEP, Member of Human Rights Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee and Vice-President of the EP delegation to NATO Parliamentary Assembly underlined the threat of Wahhabism with particular reference to some of its literature which was banned in theUK, which targeted Jews and Christians. He also said: “Some countries do too little either directly or indirectly to stem the growth of extremist thinking, both in their own countries domestically and abroad.
Mr Mohammad Ayub, First Secretary to the Embassy of Pakistan in Belgium who represented the Pakistani Government wasn’t impressed and he made his feeling clear by walking out after saying that: “Any notion that Ahmadiyyat as community have been subject to human rights violations inPakistan is completely devoid of facts.”
Mr Tunne Kelam MEP from Estonia expressed his dissatisfaction for the non impressive statement made by Pakistani diplomat.
Dr John Bew, Co-Director, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation was one of the speakers.
Mr. Khalil from England also made a well prepared representation of Ahmadiyya cause.