Recently Luton on Sunday carried a double spread advertisement celebrating 125 years since the Ahmadiyya movement was founded. This was greeted with complaints by some local Muslims, leading to this groveling response by the newspaper, assuring its readers that they ‘completely disassociate’ from the advertisement. Included is a quotation from one of the ‘representatives’ they met with which thanks them for their sensitivity over a matter relating to the ‘fundamental beliefs of all Muslims’.
It really isn’t for Luton on Sunday to decide who is, or is not, a Muslim. It’s not as though all Sunni and Shia Muslims think the Ahmadis are outside the fold of Islam, and some who may have doubts still would not interfere with their right to identify as Muslim.
Tell MAMA, for example, has made it clear that it disapproves of this kind of sectarian bigotry, and written very warmly about the Ahmadi Muslims’ contribution to our society:
Who exactly made you judge and jury on this matter Dr Naseem? This is the very kind of thinking that has led people to believe that Ahmaddiyas are not Muslims when they pray 5 times a day and where Islam drives them to do good for all communities in the UK. In fact, Ahmaddiyas and minority Muslim communities have done more for the image of Muslims and Islam, then we have seen from other Muslim groups.
So why does the paper seek to placate the most intolerant Muslim voices? A Sunni Muslim has written an eloquent open letter to Luton on Sunday expressing her concern and disappointment at the way the paper has treated the Ahmadi:
As a fellow Muslim woman, I am deeply disturbed by some of the world news I have seen lately, relating to Ahmadiya Muslims and some active Muslim groups which strongly oppose them. I am not disturbed by the ways in which they differ in their beliefs from the majority of Muslim groups. It is not my place to judge, and only Allah has that right. It does not concern me, whether they are considered, as some say, “within the folds of Islam” or out of them. What I am concerned with, is our ability to look away when people not so entirely different from ourselves, are treated unkindly, not by overenthusiastic Islam critics, not by misinformed outsiders, but by us.
The paper should publish her excellent letter in full.
Hat Tips: Qasim Rashid and Sunny Hundal