Imams failing young Britons, says Ahmadiyya Muslim leader


Love of your country is part and parcel of a Muslim’s faith.  The Holy Prophet Muhammad

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad: the Worldwide Leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad: the Worldwide Leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

Guardian: Young British Muslims are being let down by clerics who are under-educated and fail to preach in English, according to a leading religious figure who called for higher standards to be set down for those who can become imams.

Mirza Masroor Ahmad, spiritual leader or caliph to millions of Ahmadiyya Muslims around the world, said it was shameful that Britain had lost 500 or so young people to Islamic State (Isis) and attacked the group for paying money to teenagers to join their “barbaric” fight. He said Muslim leaders in the UK should be teaching “love of country” as well as love of god to disaffected young men and women and working harder to promote the peaceful message of Islam.

“The young people here have been raised in this country and they understand English, they should not be having to hear the messages of the Qur’an in Urdu or Punjabi, or just in Arabic alone. They should be well versed in their religious education as well as in their secular education in English,” said the caliph.

Ahmadiyya is a sect of Islam seen as heretical by some Muslims, and its believers are persecuted in many countries, particularly Pakistan. The sect, currently celebrates its 125th year, opened London’s first mosque in 1926. Its mosque in Morden, Surrey – western Europe’s largest mosque complex – this month hosted a peace symposium where the caliph’s keynote speech was attended by cabinet ministers Justine Greening and Ed Davey and by dozens of multifaith dignitaries from around the world.

The caliph spoke of Islamic anger against extremism and called for wider efforts for peace.

He told the Observer the British government should be forgiving to returning jihadis. “These are the frustrated people, educated people, they don’t get a proper job here and so the education is not giving them any return. They are frustrated. I myself feel their frustration. These people deserve a second chance. If they come back, of course we have to be vigilant and keep an eye on them.”

The caliph said that Britain’s small Ahmadiyya community had lost none of its young people to Isis, attributing this to the sect’s tradition of investing heavily in youth work that encouraged children to grow up understanding the peaceful teachings of Islam. He has called on other Muslims to help in drawing widespread attention to the verses of the Qur’an that promote peace, but he also attacked the reluctance of the international community to tackle Isis where it hurts: funding. Isis, he said, was not only well-equipped but could afford to offer thousands to the young fighters they recruit. “In other countries their families are given money – even here, if he goes he gets a lump sum of money.


6 replies

  1. Subject: Bilingualism

    “one in five pupils now speak English as a second language”. This does not mean that their level of English is poor or non-existent. In some cases it is very good. Being bilingual will help in their general education.Stop hating on the immigrants their children also have the right to go to school like the British children and the British children are not good in school!!!!

    Speaking English does not promote integration into British, American and Australian societies, and broaden opportunities. English speaking Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist, thanks to state schools with monolingual non-Muslim teachers and English language. English language is not only a lingua franca but also lingua frankensteinia. Human right are also covers linguistic right. Cultural and linguistic genocide are very common. British schooling is murdering community languages like Arabic, Urdu and others. English is today the world killer language. Linguistic genocide is a crime against humanity and British schooling is guilty of committing this crime. Language is not just a language. It defines one’s culture, identity and consciousness. It defines how we think, communicate and express ourselves. The fact is the most South Asian Muslims have come to know Islam by way of Urdu, the children’s alienation from the language that connects them the heritage of their parents and grandparents is disturbing. As a matter of fact, one has to get to know his mother tongue well if one is to master any other language.

    “A good grasp of one’s mother tongue is an essential base for a child who then has to get to grips with the language of their host country,” reckons Amelia Lambelet of the Fribourg Institute of Multilingualism. Therese Salzmann, an expert in multilingualism at the Swiss Institute of Youth and Media, agrees. “The teaching of mother tongues reinforces self-confidence and gives the child a feeling of security.” She adds that “taking account of a child’s double cultures is a determining factor in their social integration and professional success.”

    I regard Muslim schools not just Faith schools but more or less bilingual schools. I set up the first Muslim school in Forest Gate London in 1981. Special attention was given to Standard English, Arabic and Urdu languages along with National Curriculum. The teaching of Standard English will help them to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village, he/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit.

    The sound knowledge of one’s owns language would appear to help – not hinder the acquisition of a second language and bilingual children may even have cognitive advantages and that the ability to speak more than one language is going to be increasingly important for the world of the future. Therefore, Muslim children and young Muslims have potentially a major educational advantage, although sadly this is not being developed well at present. British policy makers now recognise bilingualism as an educational asset rather than a problem. Education plays a central role in the transmission of languages from one generation to the next. The teaching of mother tongues is essential in terms of culture and identity. Arabic is a religious language for the Muslims but for Pakistanis, Urdu is also essential for culture and identity. Blind Muslim children in Bradford are learning to read Arabic and Urdu Braille, by a blind teacher who travelled from Pakistan. Now blind Muslim children are not going to miss out on culture, religion, language and the social aspects and integration into their own community and identity.

    As a British Asian myself, and a Muslim, I am deeply proud of my heritage and language. At home i speak my own languages, Punjabi and Urdu.

    A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit. A Muslim must learn and be well versed in Standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time they must learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. English is their economic language while Arabic and Urdu are their religious, social and emotional languages. It is purely an educational question.

    The largest ethnic minority groups in British schools are children of Pakistani origin: a community often accused of resisting assimilation and integration. Ann Cryer, the MP for Keighley blamed Imams for not speaking English. She should blame British schooling for not teaching Urdu/Arabic to Pakistani children, thus depriving them of understanding the Sermons in Arabic/Urdu. They are unable to enjoy the beauty of Urdu/Arabic literature and poetry. Imams are not part of the problem rather than the solutions. There is a proposal to teach Urdu as a compulsory language instead of French and German in British schools. The British Government is urged to remove the requirement in the National Curriculum that children between the ages of 11-14 study at least one European language. The linguistic abilities of large number of Muslim children were being ignored because they had to learn another European language as well as mastering English. The Government must promote the status of Urdu language instead of languages of European origin. Tim Benson, head of Nelson primary school in Newham said that the “nationalistic curriculum failed to recognize the staggering array of linguistic abilities and competencies” in schools such as his, where the pupils spoke more than 40 languages. The linguistic dexterity of families speaking an array of languages was celebrated but the “awesome achievements” of children mastering three or four languages were barely recognised by the education system. Social and emotional education comes with your own language-literature and poetry. A DFEs document clearly states that children should be encouraged to maintain and develop their home languages. A study shows that bilingualism is a positive benefit to cognitive development and bilingual teacher is a dire necessity and is a role model. The price of ignoring children’s bilingualism is educational failure and social exclusion. Bilingualism could be developed by bringing a partner from Pakistan. The kids will get better at both languages. One will speak English while the other will speak Urdu.

  2. It is about time the Muslim clergy were told about their responsibility to impart with real Islamic Teachings of peace, harmony, live and let live. Especially to be loyal to the country one lives in as the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community stated in his address at the Annual Peace Conference. First and foremost would be for the musllim clerics either to educate themselves to the standards of the country they are residing to cater for the needs of the Muslim youth to stop them going astray so far their Religious knowledge and needs are concerned or get the ones who are suited for this task. The Khalifa of Islam Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has put it far more eloquently.

  3. Ok I only spoke Polish or Lithuanian in theUSA I would be in trouble! If I were to move to Saudi arabia I would make an effort to learn Arabic as quickly as I could! Or the language of any place I moved! I enjoy talking to people! By the way I would never move to any country that limited my rights because I’m a women! I love driving!

  4. It is O.K. and necessary to learn the language of a country where one lives. But what the travelers will do? English is known to be spoken all over the world.
    Sometime, the travelers get into trouble like I did in Paris when I needed milk for my one year old daughter. The restaurant servants did not help me. Perhaps they could not speak English or otherwise (because I noted some taboo or dislike about English in France).
    I told the people there that I was traveling and going to many countries. I could not learn every language. I do not know French.
    Then some one sitting there came forward to help me purchase a bottle of milk.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.