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Channel 4 Investigates Anti-Ahmadi Sentiment in the UK

07/12/2010

Over the last few months, this blog has covered various news stories about the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims, both in this country and abroad. Most recently, Dr. John Bew flagged up a disturbing report from Surrey, where a man was arrested for distributing leaflets inciting the murder of ‘Qadianis’ (a derogatory term for Ahmadis).

Channel 4’s recent report on the extent of the threat to Britain’s Ahmadis is one of the best investigations into this problem to date. The wellspring of this ongoing campaign is not, as one may expect, the ideology Britain’s increasingly anti-Muslim far-right, but rather extremist Islamism ‘being exported from Pakistan onto the streets of the UK.’

Channel 4 has found that the discrimination of Ahmadis in Britain ranges from them losing their jobs after refusing to denounce their beliefs, to physical attacks on the streets. They also found that the source of much of this sectarian hate mongering is the British wing of Khatme Nubbawat, a Pakistani group formed in order to prevent the spread of Ahmadi beliefs and practices. According to the Khatme Nubbawat’s website, ‘Qadianis…fraudulently claim to be one of the Muslim sects but infact [sic] they are [sic] unrighteous cult, kafir and non-muslim’, and the purpose of their organisation is ‘to educate the Muslims about the reality of Qadiyanism keeping within the law of the country.’

As well as producing and disseminating anti-Ahmadi leaflets, Khatme Nubbawat also organises conferences, with the most recent one held on 18 June in Newham. According to a report on the event by the Independent, one of the speakers claimed that the attacks on two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore which left 93 dead were an Ahmadi conspiracy:

Imam Suhail Bawa, a leading Khatme Nubbawat preacher, told worshippers: “This will become apparent very soon to you all that Qadiani [a derogatory term for Ahmadis] themselves are behind this whole conspiracy. [They] are responsible for whatever has happened in Lahore. This is all Qadiani conspiracy. They now come to television programs to try to “falsely” demonstrate their victimisation.”

The same report also quotes the Khatme Nubbawat preacher threatening a repeat of the1953 massacre of Ahmadis in Lahore if any attempts were made to change blasphemy laws in Pakistan which currently forbid Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslim:

If the anti-Qadiani laws or the blasphemy laws are touched by anyone in Pakistan then the 1953 Lahore agitation against the Qadianis will be repeated in the streets once more. The streets and roads of Lahore were filled with blood in that agitation.

Thus far, the Crown Prosecution Service has not been convinced that the level of hatred being incited by Khatme Nubbawat has reached criminal proportions, but according to Channel 4 the Amhadi community is attempting to persuade them to take another look. Here is a video of the investigation.