Love for All, Hatred for None
Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 10th June, 2008
Last evening I was at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster for the Khilafat centenary celebrations of the 70-million strong Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, at which the fifth Khalifa (Caliph), Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, spoke, condemning the terrorist ideology which masks the true faith of Islam. Before the speeches and the following dinner, the Khalifa gave a press conference alongside other leaders of the Ahmadiyya community and the LibDem peer, Lord (Eric) Avebury. Though the Ahmadis preach peace and tolerance as the core message of Islam, they have been regularly persecuted since their establishment and are routinely denounced as heretics by more conservative co-religionists, not least in Pakistan.
The Ahmadiyya caliphate was inaugurated in India upon the death of Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who followers believe to be the Messiah promised by the Prophet Mohammed. A theological renaissance was thereby instituted, trying to get Muslims back to what Ahmadis see as the original teachings. Their interpretation of the Koran and other Islamic texts is at times diametrically opposed to that of the so-called Muslim fundamentalists. Their motto is: Love for All, Hatred for None.
They argue that Islam testifies that the original teachings of faiths as varied as Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism and Zorostratianism all come from the one and the same God, and that Islam reinforces the concept of humanity and the respect for individual liberty — including the freedom of choice of religion. It is not hard to see why this enrages other sections of the global Islamic community, or why it appeals to politicians and religious leaders of other faiths in Britain, where the current Khalifa resides. This centenary year provides a convenient peg on which to hang a message of peaceful coexistence and understanding that is sometimes drowned out by the language of extremists and islamophobes.