Kirklees’ Muslim Community needs to reassess its leadership…

In Huddersfield the Kirklees’ Muslim Action Committee, claiming to represent 15,000 Muslims, is deeply upset at a Muslim group that held an Exhibition on the Holy Qur’ān (see Newspaper report HERE).

Surprisingly, the spokesman of the Action Committee, Mr. Amar Usman Ali, is reported to have said:

“We believe that it is time the Muslims of Huddersfield did not allow a local group to use our name to hold any future exhibitions, and have been hurt and deeply upset over the lack of consultation with the Muslim community prior to holding this event.”

The Qur’ān Exhibition held in Huddersfield Town Hall was attendede by the Mayor of Kirklees and a Member of Parliament.  Notably, Mr. Ali’s statement seems highly irrelevant and shows an immense lack of maturity…

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community always holds its events under their registered names, so those who do not want to attend, such as Mr. Ali’s associates and perhaps his congregation, are not in any way mistaken about who is organising the exhibition. 

Notwithstanding this,  it would be interesting to see what form consultations would take since Mr. Ali does not even seem to consider Ahmadis as ‘Muslims’ (see quote below).  I cannot but help think that Mr. Ali and his community would not entirely support the holding of an exhibition on the Qur’ān in any case, so to insist on ‘consultations’ seems highly covetous.

“Whilst we do not expect the community to be sympathetic we would like to clarify our position on this group.

“The World Muslim League in April 1974 declared that the Ahmadiyya are falsely claiming to be an Islamic sect.

“The Koran is the holy book of the Muslims and it should be patently obvious to all that matters concerning Muslims such as an exhibition should be left to the Muslims themselves.”

Perhaps Mr. Ali is upset at the use of the terms ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslims’ – the terms all other Muslims except for the Ahmadi-Muslims apparently patented for their sole use!!  In any case, his highly unrealistic desire that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community should have consulted with them prior to holding the exhibition is entirely spurious and masks the real issue.

Last I checked, the haphazard and highly questionable decisions of the World Muslim League, thankfully(?) do not have legislative force in the UK.  And their entirely arbitrary and subjective decisions (often in line with their sources of funding – e.g., Saudi/Wahhabi clericdom) are wholly spurious.  Their allegations of Ahmadi-Muslims ‘falsely’ claiming to be an Islamic Sect bear no legitimacy for the vast majority of Muslims who pay no attention to the WML except when they have to, namely when their Hajj bookings are supervised by a subsidiary body of the WML.

Now, if this report above, and Mr. Ali’s comments have been accurately reported, then I would humbly suggest Kirklees’ Muslims to seriously reconsider the amateurs that seem to be representing their leadership and communal views.

Sure, Mr. Ali is just the spokesman, but it is the body that he is speaking on behalf of that must be called to account.



The Exhibition

This exhibition was not about intra-religious differences of opinion within Islam. Imagine if every time the Kirklees Muslims or another deobandi or salafi group in Huddersfield set up an exhibition trying to educate non-Muslims about Islam: would you take kindly to three or four other sects protesting at your exhibition on the basis that they do not believe you represent ‘their’ schools of islamic thought and intra-religious opinions??

The Kirklees Muslim Action committee have acted highly immaturely – this isn’t a playground, so leave the games at the door. Think about the kind of dialogue you are trying to promote here.  If they want to debate religious beliefs with Ahmadi Muslims, then they should contact them separately.

An exhibition on the Holy Qur’an aimed at introducing the Holy Qur’ān to non-Muslims who may be interested in Islam, looking for guidance, or even those who have misconceptions about the Qur’ān is surely to be celebrated and commended.  It is certainly not the appropriate forum for intra-religious debate.



Kirklees’ Autocratic Approval Committee

The other thing Mr. Ali seems to want to promote is that any exhibition in the name of Islam must be ‘approved’ in some way by them, or that they must be consulted prior to such events.  Again, they seem to be oblivious to the fact that, although there are many Pakistani Muslims in Huddersfield, Huddersfield is, thankfully, not Pakistan.

They are not a legislative body and do not grant ‘warrants’ to permit exhibitions on Islam or the Qur’ān.  Similarly, they do not have warrant to annoint people as ‘Muslims’ and thus have no say in the matter as to who is or is not a Muslim.

If they perceive themselves to be representing Islam, then they are free to hold their own exhibitions.  We will not stop them, and we certainly won’t protest against them.  They have every right to do so.  But at the same time, they cannot dictate our religious affairs, or our claims.

The Qur’ān is our sacred scripture and the Prophet Muhammad (saw) is our Prophet (peace be upon him).  If they want to argue with that, then approach the appropriate forum.  They cannot dictate our beliefs, no matter which advisory opinions and fatwas they obtain from whichever quasi-religious institution.



Your Qur’ān, My Qur’ān: Whose Qur’ān?

It should be ‘patently obvious’ to Mr. Ali and to those he seeks to represent that we recite the Qur’ān and believe it to be the Word of Allah. 

This is manifestly obvious from observing my 3-year old son who knows not to touch the Qur’ān unless he first washes and cleans himself, dons his kufi-hat, or my turban, and sits facing the Qibla as advised in Islamic Law.  He also knows not to speak when the Qur’ān is being recited, and knows the Fatia, the four Suras at the end of the Qur’an starting with ‘Qul’ and the āyat al-Kursī, all of which he recites daily.**

As these are all matters that concern only a Muslim, according to Mr. Ali’s definitions, perhaps he could kindly explain to my son that he should refrain from such practices as the WML and the Muslims of Kirklees would not take kindly to it, and publish his statement for the approval of the Kirklees’ Muslims.

**(Although I am sure that my son would nevertheless continue, knowing that his ‘permission’ to recite from Allah’s sacred scripture is granted to him through the Command of Allāh and the Instructions and blessings of the Noblest of the Noble, the Prophet elect, Muhammad al-Mustafa (allAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and not from self-styled clerics in the ‘Dales)