Posts Tagged ‘Ahmadiyya’

Jama’at-i Islami – The Pakistani Islamic Party Pushing for Theocracy

November 25, 2020

Pakistan was founded as an explicitly Muslim country. It’s a democracy, but there is a section of its parliament, if I remember correctly, that’s made up of Muslim clergy, who scrutinise legislation passed by the lower house to make sure it accords with Islamic law. Since the 1970s and the regime of the dictator, Zia al-Haqq, Islam has become increasingly powerful in Pakistani politics. I believe the current president, Imran Khan, is the leader of an Islamic party. Pakistan was one of the nations that experienced protests against France over the Charlie Hebdo cartoons and there have been official denunciations of the cartoons and President Macron’s attempts to combat Muslim radicalism.

The force behind the growth of political Islam in Pakistan appears to be the Jama’at-i Islami, whose name translates as ‘The Islamic Society.’ The article about them in The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions runs as follows

A highly disciplined and well-organised Muslim political party, founded in 1941 by Abul al-A’la Mawdudi. it aims at establishing an observant Islamic state in Pakistan. The Jam’at’s political platform offers an alternative to teh secularists and modernists, and in this lies its appeal (especially since 1977). The Ja’amat advocates that Pakistan should be a theocratic state, ruled by a single man whose tenure of office and power are limited only by his faithfulness to Islam. The ruler should be assisted by a shura (advisory council), with no political parties and no provision for an opposition. General Zia al-Haqq, the military leader after the overthrow of Z. Bhutto (1977)., used the Jama’at as a political prop for his ‘back to Islam’ campaign. The Jama’at has influence among the military, the middle classes, and the college and university students. It publishes a monthly magazine, Tarjuman al-Quran, in Lahore that has a high circulation. On the international level, the Jama’at was on good terms with Imam Khumayni and the oil rich Arab states; the Saudis have supported the movement since the early 1970s. (p. 489).

This looks like an attempt to create a kind of caliphate, and the Dictionary notes that there is considerable support for its return in Pakistan. I also wonder about the movement’s influence in British Islam, as there has been a problem with fire-breathing radicals immigrating to Britain to supply the shortage of imams for British mosques. Which is why moderate Muslims in this country have demanded government assistance in training Muslim Brits, who have grown up in our ostensibly democratic culture, as imams and community leaders.

I’m not a secularist, and believe that people of faith have a right to have their voices heard in politics and parliament, but this is just a movement for religious tyranny. In Pakistan as it is there’s persecution, including violence and pogroms against religious minorities. We’ve seen Christians murdered and imprisoned following accusations of blasphemy. There have also been riots and murders of the Ahmadiyya. Apparently even pious Muslims have been murdered because of comments they have made, which have been interpreted by others as blasphemous. There are 200 people on Pakistan’s Death Row accused of blasphemy. Many of these accusations are spurious, cynically levelled because of other disputes between the parties concerned. If a theocracy was established in Pakistan, it would only cause more oppression and violence.

I also believe that it wouldn’t be good for Islam either. Atheist sites on the web have reported that there has been a massive increase in atheism in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Iran. Six years or so ago Saudi news reported that a large number of Qurans had been found thrown into a sewer. A few days ago Iranian media reported that this had also happened in their country. A poll conducted of 50,000 Iranians found that 38 per cent of the population is either atheist or has no religion. If this is true, then it’s probably the result of people becoming fed up of the repression they are experiencing from their theocratic governments. The religious violence of the Islamist extremists, al-Qaeda and Daesh, are undoubtedly another factor. A few years ago I read a book by a French anthropologist, who came to the conclusion that the Islamist movements were the response of Muslim societies as the experienced the transition to modernity. This was comparable to the way radical, militant Christian movements had appeared in Europe in the 17th century, such as those in the British Civil War. Now Islam was experiencing the same.

My guess is that if the Jama’at ever succeeded in creating a theocracy in Pakistan, it would be massively unstable as the various sects excluded from the regime’s view of what was properly Islamic were oppressed and rebelled. I don’t believe that the Jama’at and other extreme, theocratic movements have anything to offer Muslims or anyone else anything except more oppression and violence.

A 17th Century Anglican Plea for Religious Toleration

November 21, 2020

Jeremy Taylor was the chaplain of King Charles I and the rector of Uppingham. After the royalists were defeated in the British Civil War, he fled to Carmarthenshire in Wales, where he wrote his book arguing for religious freedom, The Liberty of Prophesying. After the Restoration he was appointed bishop of Down and Connor. He was also the author of a number of devotional works and sermons, but it’s his defence of religious freedom that I find particularly interesting. He said ‘they were excellent words which St. Ambrose said in attestation of this great truth, that the civil authority has no right to interdict the liberty of speaking, nor the sacerdotal to prevent speaking what you think.’

See the article on him in John Bowker, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (Oxford: OUP 1997) 958.

I’m very much aware that throughout Christian history there has been very little freedom of religion and conscience, and that the Anglican church’s toleration of Dissenters was very limited until the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in the 19th century. Until then Protestant nonconformists were excluded from the grammar schools, universities and government, and could only hold their services five miles away from towns. Atheism and Roman Catholicism were illegal again until the 19th century. But it was clergymen like Taylor and his fellows in the Nonconformist churches, like the Quaker William Penn and a number of Presbyterian ministers, who laid the foundations for the British and American tradition of religious tolerance. The most famous of the works calling for religious freedom from this period is Milton’s Areopagitica.

Despite the passage of the centuries, their message is still acutely relevant. Many countries still don’t have freedom of conscious or religious liberty in the 20th century. The Communists attempted to destroy religious and viciously persecuted people of faith, while the Nazis, apart from trying to exterminate the Jews, also sent their other religious opponents, especially Jehovah’s Witnesses, to the concentration camps.

We have recently seen a French teacher murdered for showing schoolchildren the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Mohammed in a class about free speech, and mass demonstrations against France for permitting the cartoons in Muslim countries. To many people, their calls for legislation against such disrespect seem like demands for Muslim blasphemy laws. Christians and members of other religious minorities, such as Shia and Ahmadiyya Muslims have been murdered in Pakistan as well as orthodox Sunni Muslims because of supposed blasphemy. This is banned in Pakistan and punishable with the death penalty. The only permitted religion in Saudi Arabia is Wahhabi Islam, and a few years ago the Saudis declared that atheism was terrorism. This was just atheist unbelief itself, regardless of any act of genuine terror, such as killing people or destroying property.

I’m sympathetic to Muslims regarding the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. I don’t like the way Christianity and Christ are mocked by certain sections of the media and the entertainment business either. I’ve also heard the argument that Charlie Hebdo is a nasty rag. It’s not left-wing, but right, apparently, and its targets also include Roman Catholicism and immigrants.

But there’s a greater principle of free speech and the sanctity of human life here. All religions and ideologies, including atheism, should be up for debate, with people free to choose as they will. They’re fundamental human rights, the violation of which either leads or is part of tyranny.

Secular Talk on Donald Trump Holding All Muslims Responsible for Terror Attacks

March 25, 2016

This is another great piece from Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski taking apart some disgusting anti-Muslim comments uttered by the Trumpenfuehrer on ITV’s Good Morning show. Trump had asked rhetorically why Muslims don’t report the terrorists in their communities. Kulinski here demolishes this by showing that they do. He presents these facts:

* In 2013 a Canadian imam prevented a terrorist attack on a train by reporting the terrorists planning the attack to Canada’s finest.

* In 2015 Kenyan Muslims aboard a bus gave their hijabs to the Christian passengers to wear to prevent them from being butchered by al-Shabaab.

* During the French terror attacks last year, a Muslim waiter saved two women from being killed by leaping in front of them when the gunman was firing. He was killed, but the two ladies survived.

* Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation, comprising 50 million people, has roundly condemned terrorism.

* The Muslim community had a collection for the victims of the San Bernardino shooting that was raising $1,000 an hour at one point.

Trump is wrong. Very wrong. Kulinski points out that his default position is that all Muslims are somehow responsible for terrorism or sympathise with it. Now Kulinski says here that he believes that there is a problem with fundamentalist, Salafi Islam, beyond the terrible abuse of the Muslim world through the West’s foreign policy. But he makes the point that to condemn all Muslims, including people, who have had nothing to do with these attacks, like the Ahmadiyya, the Shi’a, Sufis – and so on, is bigoted.

Here’s the video.

Over here, I have a feeling that a number of potential terror attacks have been averted, because of information given from members of the Muslim community. And Some of the radical mosques full of the preachers of hate carried on, not because they weren’t denounced by concerned members of the congregation to the authorities, but because the authorities decided they didn’t want to act. I’ve got a feeling that the infamous mosque at Finsbury Park was one of these.

Trump’s talking populist rubbish. And the fact that he mouthed it on British television to my mind gives weight to the argument that he should be banned from coming to our great country.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Selling Poppies for World Peace

November 11, 2014

Muslim Poppy Sellers

The Huffington Post has this story, Poppy Selling Campaign By Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association Branches Nationwide , reporting that the Ahmadiya Muslim Youth Association are to begin selling poppies across Britain on Monday. The article quotes Farooq Aftab, a spokesman for the Association, as saying,

“Irrespective of whether you are Muslim or Christian there’s always going to be a few who don’t understand and try to undermine what you are doing. Thankfully most people do understand and are supportive,” he said.

Countering claims that the poppy glorifies conflict, Mr Aftab said the symbol promoted community feeling. ” The poppy is not about war; it’s about solidarity and showing loyalty to one’s country and standing together for a worthy cause. It’s about communities standing together as one.

“Lots of Muslims actually served in World War I and World War II and lots have ancestors who served in the army. We therefore hope that our participation is a clear indication of our desire for peace and unity between all nations, peoples and religions.”

The story can be read at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/29/young-muslims-poppy-selling-rembrance-_n_2038318.html.

The Ahmadiyya are quite a strange sect. They have frequently been persecuted in some Muslim countries, such as Pakistan, as they are considered to be extremely heretical. Nevertheless, I wish them every success in promoting peace and understanding between nations and communities, and welcome their support of Britain’s War dead and their reminder that the British army including many Muslims.

I found the image and the story through the anti-UKIP Facebook page, We’re Still Laughing at the UKIP. They’re at https://www.facebook.com/SLATUKIPThree. Just in case you needed reminding how nasty, absurd and farcical Farage and his party still are.