Following the statement issued by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in relation to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on 6 April 2016, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community United Kingdom states the following:
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is pleased that the MCB has condemned violence against all people on grounds of faith.
However, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community contends that it is not for anyone or any organisation to determine who is and who is not a Muslim. Everyone has the right to self-identify as a Muslim or as the follower of any faith for that matter.
Certainly, all members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community consider themselves to be Muslims and practice the teachings of Islam. Therefore, if the MCB sincerely wants to illustrate its commitment to peace and tolerance they should publicly and categorically state that Ahmadi Muslims have the right to identify themselves as Muslims and followers of Islam.
Further, it is a fact that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has faced decades of brutal and sustained persecution in Pakistan, where laws have been enacted that prevent Ahmadi Muslims from calling themselves ‘Muslim’ and from practicing their religion. In a free and fair society like the United Kingdom, it is unacceptable that any group would seek to follow such a dangerous precedent by denying Ahmadi Muslims the right to identify as Muslims.
Chapter 22, Verse 79 of the Holy Quran states “So follow the faith of your father Abraham; He named you Muslims both before and in this Book”. This verse makes it clear that no individual or group can claim to monopolise the term ‘Muslim’ and that the term existed even before Islam itself.
Freedom of religion and belief is a fundamental tenet of Islam and so the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes that the people of all religions and beliefs should respect one another and should seek to establish true peace, rather than to sow the seeds of conflict and division.
All people and groups must take a stand against all forms of discrimination, extremism and hate rather than making declarations about other people’s religion or beliefs.