In 2018 in modern day Britain, there are religious leaders who think that believers of their faith are so weak that different sects may ‘affect’ believers in their faith. Forget the fact that social media, access to the Internet, Daesh, unemployment and reduced life chances may affect the faith of the congregation, today, they are speaking about the ‘perils’ of a community that are so small and who feel so embattled, that such comments should concern us.
Who are they speaking of? Well, here is Imam Muhammad Yasir Ayub who is commenting about an open day which was held by the local Ahmadi community in Nottingham. Such is the concern around an open day held by a peaceful local community (which regards themselves as Muslim), that it led to this outburst by this Imam who has preached in several mosques and in places like Manchester.
Here are his comments on the 4th of February and made on this social media page:
Calling another community group ‘Kafir’ in today’s context and putting their address up online, is potentially putting this community at risk. and is unacceptable. It also raises the issue about spiritual guidance and how easily it can be turned to attach to the political and social views of an individual, something that we have seen over history. What this has to do with Islam, can also be questioned, when Islam repeatedly asks for patience, introspection and for moderation. This is not to detract from other verses in scriptural texts, that within historical context were made at a time of instability that affected the first Muslims. So, in other words, since there is no physical threat to Muslims as a whole, why are such statements being made and which add to community tensions and fractures and being made by someone with a pastoral and spiritual responsibility. We stress the responsibility since turning people against another set of people is, we believe, hardly responsible.
We know that the vast majority of Imams in the UK may disagree with the Ahmadi movement. That is their right to do so and they disagree by listening, through dialogue and by ensuring that they do not play a role in inflaming tensions. However, there are some Imams who believe that if someone calls themselves a Muslim, then they should be treated as such. As said before, Ahmadis are a peaceful, well integrated and deeply introspective community. Not one of their community have been involved in extremism or terrorism and they work to raise large amounts of finance for charity work. They are a community who are an asset to our country who do not deserve such outbursts made in public.