Shunned for saying they’re Muslims: life for Ahmadis after Asad Shah’s murder

Source. The Guardian

Tributes left at a memorial for Asad Shah, who was killed in what police are treating as a ‘religiously prejudiced’ attack.

Tributes left at a memorial for Asad Shah, who was killed in what police are treating as a ‘religiously prejudiced’ attack. Photograph: John Linton/PA

Some of Samia Sultan’s neighbours don’t greet her any more, and sometimes it’s hard for her to understand why. Sultan, a dentist, lives in Glasgow, in an area of the city that is – like most Muslim populations in the UK – majority Sunni. But Sultan isn’t Sunni: she is Ahmadi. And that is the source of the problem.

“My neighbours were fine, but when they came to know I was Ahmadi, their attitude changed,” Sultan explains. It is a bright morning in Glasgow, but the boredom of the school holidays is beginning to bite, and her daughters are impatient to borrow her smartphone so that they can use its stopwatch to time their game. Sultan passes her palm gently over her older daughter’s hair as she sends her back out to play. “They would no longer reply to my greeting As-salāmu ‘alaykum [peace be upon you]” with Wa’alaykumu s-salām [and upon you peace].”

At first hearing, it seems almost negligible; a petty withholding. But this doorstep refusal to return the universal Muslim greeting is blunt in its intended humiliation: a denial of the basic vocabulary of belonging. Sultan shrugs lightly. “We can’t stop it by ourselves and we are taught to bear hardship with patience, so we try to be friendly.” She pauses. “But it is hard. Sometimes you think: what is wrong with me?”

The answer to that question is a complicated one, with roots in theology and Pakistani history. But whatever its origins, it has recently come to seem more urgent than ever. When Asad Shah, a popular shopkeeper living in the multicultural Shawlands area of Glasgow, was fatally stabbed outside his newsagents on the night before Good Friday, the initial local presumption was that this had been a white-on-black hate crime. A candlelit vigil, organised by two local women – one Muslim and one Christian – the day after the killing, was publicised on social media under the hashtag #thisisnotwhoweare.


3 replies

  1. All over it is same. In Croatia Islamic centre is main hurdle to Ahmadiyya activities. Except Germany where Ahmadiyya is now officially Muslims, in all other countries are religiously motivated prejudice based problems. But still Ahmadiyya caravans marching forward all over. Alhamdolillah.

  2. People residing in countries like UK are supposed to be literate . Do they not know ” say not to anyone who greets you with the greeting of peace , Thou art not a believer — Quran 95/ 4 ” ? Is it not true that when a people offers peace , he should be respected ? By rejecting the gift of peace , such people are demonstrating that they don’t need peace while Islam directs not only to accept but also return in more better way . Since entire Muslim world is living in the atmosphere where there is no peace . It is said that when a person rejects one gift , Allah does not like it . Muslim countries could not understand this truth and they are striving for peace . Muslims living in Europe and America should analyze the situation of Muslim countries and take lessons .

  3. One wonders which of the two groups are really Muslims. The ones who follow the ways of the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet Muhammad(pbuh), who do not retaliate when persecuted and murdered by others who call themselves Muslims or the ones who because of a debatable issue of the finality of prophethood are committing all kinds of atrocities in Islam’s name?

    The ones who give proper thought will know who really have the right to be called Muslims, I think….

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