Source: International Business Times
By Tom Porter
The head of Britain’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has urged the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) to “take responsibility” and clamp down on hardliners, after leaflets calling for Ahmadi Muslims to be killed were distributed in London.
IBTimes UK last week exposed the distribution of anti-Ahmadi hate speech leaflets in several London locations, following the murder of Ahmadi shopkeeper Asad Shah in Glasgow in a religiously motivated attack.
Speaking to IBTimes UK in his office in the group’s mosque in Southfields, south-west London, Rafiq Ahmad Hayat said that Muslim organisations such as the influential MCB, which represents 500 UK mosques, schools and other institutions, must clamp down on the message of intolerance preached by affiliated anti-Ahmadi group Khatme Nabuwwat (KN), which produced and distributed the leaflets.
“Even if we took away all the leaflets the message is still there, they are still preaching their hate,” said Rafiq Ahmad Hayat. “If there is scrutiny and mosques are open you will find that is the first change required.”
In the wake of Shah’s murder, the MCB released a statement, in which it said “the targeting of Ahmadis for their beliefs is totally unacceptable”.
However it refused to acknowledge the group as Muslims: “Muslims should not be forced to class Ahmadis as Muslims if they do not wish to do so, at the same time, we call on Muslims to be sensitive, and above all, respect all people irrespective of belief or background,” said the MCB.
Hardliners associated with the KN group have branded the Ahmadi apostates, or those who reject their religion, and claim the Sharia law prescribes death as punishment. In Pakistan the group is forbidden from calling itself Muslim for its belief that its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, is the Mahdi or Muslim saviour.
The MCB claims to represent diverse parts of Britain’s 2.8 million strong Muslim population. On its website it describes itself as “a broad-based, representative organisation of Muslims in Britain, accommodating and reflecting the variety of social and cultural backgrounds and outlook of the community.”
Critics though allege it is dominated by orthodox Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Arab Muslims who freeze out smaller sects. The group’s decision to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day between 2001 and 2007 drew widespread criticism, and in 2009 a council member declared support for Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group classed as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the UK.