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Complaints to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

This afternoon, I lodged two complaints related to factually incorrect and misleading statements made by the Prime Minister during Questions to the Prime Minister (PMQs) in the House of Commons, earlier in the day.

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1. The Ahmadiyya Community

In response to a question from the SNP’s Angus Robertson, the Prime Minister stated the following:

“The attack on Ahmadiyya Muslims by other Muslims demonstrates once again that what we face is not some clash of civilizations between Islam and Christianity, or Islam and Buddhism; what we are seeing is a small minority within one of the great religions of our world, Islam, believing that there is only one way, a violent extremist way, of professing their faith. This is a battle within Islam. And we have to be on the side of the moderate majority and make sure they win it. We have to really understand what is happening here or we’ll take the wrong path.”

Aside from condemnation of the killing, extremism and criminality, which all sensible people will side with, the Prime Minister has strayed into Islamic theology to undermine and attack the position of Muslim in Britain. The largest representative organisation of Muslims in Britain, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), has an unmatched pool of scholars and Muslim civil society bodies associated with it. They have confirmed, as have every global school of Sunni and Shia Muslim thought, that the Ahmadiyya community’s views are outside of the fold of Islam. This has also been confirmed in statements by the most liberal refomational scholars in the world such as the American scholar, Hamza Yusuf Hanson, who also promotes sufism and liberal arts, as do I. As such, whatever the political matter, the Ahmadiyya community are not considered Muslims according to mainstream Muslim theology.

It is vital to note that there can be and should be no discrimination, persecution or mistreatment towards the Ahmadiyya communities and this sentiment has been made by all Muslim scholars, commentators and public figures who have spoken on the issue. They should be supported in their faith, and as a community. I have also done both within my roles with interfaith bodies and organisations. I have also made this statement on the record:

However, as a purely theological matter, it is entirely incorrect to denote despicable criminal acts against a member of the Ahmadiyya community by a Muslim as sectarian. It is a divisive and exploitative move to use it as a political wedge issue to reinforce arguments for Muslim reform. Furthermore, there is no ‘Battle within Islam’ as the Prime Minister stated. Whatever my personal views on the issue, and the right of the Ahmadiyya to self identify as they wish (in the past I have even used the term ‘Ahmadiyya Muslim’ in reference to their self identification) the consensus of all Muslims scholars and schools of thought is clear on this matter and the Prime Minister is incorrect in fact.

2. Suliman Gani statement

In response to Christopher Pincher, the PM stated

“I think my honourable friend is absolutely right if we are going to condemn not only violent extremism but also the extremism that seeks to justify violence in any way. It is very important that we do not back these people and we do not appear on platforms with these people, and I have to say, I am concerned about Labour’s candidate for the Mayor of London who has appeared again and again and again. The leader of the Labour Party is saying it’s disgraceful; let me tell him, Suliman Gani, the honourable member for Tooting has appeared on a platform with him nine times. This man supports I.S. He even shared the platform… well Mr Speaker, I think they are shouting down this point because they don’t want to hear the truth. Anyone can make a mistake about who they appear on a platform with. We’re not always responsible for what our political opponents say but if you do it time after time after time, it is right to question your judgement.”

Mr Gani has been on the record as denying any support for I.S. (Islamic State). He has also condemned their barbarity and unislamic practices. Sadiq Khan has also issued a statement about his relationship with Mr Gani. The statement ‘This man supports I.S.’ factually incorrect and should be stricken from the book and the PM brought forward to clarify what would ordinarily be a criminal and civil matter if said outside of the House. The racism and Islamophobia, with false claims of extremism, seemingly being deployed by the Zac Goldsmith campaign against a Muslim Labour candidate, is scandalous. We cannot allow British politics to fall into the gutter of hate and prejudice against Muslims.

The House should not be tackling matters of Muslim theology and making scurrilous and false claims about Muslim public figures, which seemingly reflects the current appetite on the political Right to disenfranchise Muslims in society by use of smears and false claims against them.

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12 comments on “Complaints to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

  1. Daz
    20/04/2016

    If you have read the statement from the murderer of Asad Shah (I assume you have), how can you possibly refute the murder wasn’t motivated by sectarianism?

    If an Ahmadi murdered a Sunni and made a statement that stated religiously motivated reason, would you hold the same view?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mo Ansar
      20/04/2016

      It’s an ongoing investigation and sub judice. However, Muslim on Ahmadiyya is no more sectarian than Muslim on Christian or Bahai on Jewish.

      Like

  2. David
    20/04/2016

    Daz’s comment is sub judice, but your public pronouncements aren’t? In your role as Chief apologist, does the alleged murderers statement “the Ahmadis falsely represent themselves as Muslims” amount to a partial or complete defence?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mo Ansar
      20/04/2016

      I’m not commenting on the Asad Shah case. It is not sub judice to talk about the theological position of the Ahmadiyya with regards Islam, or to say that it is outside of it. This is a mainstream position. There is no apologism for anti-Ahmadiyya persecution or discrimination (in fact I have condemned it in the media and in writing here) and any attempt to suggest there is one is entirely weak, unsubstantiated and indefensible.

      Like

    • Mo Ansar
      21/04/2016

      In every speech and public pronouncement, I have never not been. However secularism doesn’t mean to be bereft of religion in the public space, nor should it be equated with anti-theism.

      Like

  3. Lucy
    20/04/2016

    You and the vast majority of Muslims (according to your article) have decided that the Ahmadiyyas are not Muslims.

    Now you want all atheists, and people of other religions in the UK to accept your definition and say to the often-marginalised minority Ahmadiyyas “Sorry, however you might identify yourselves doesn’t matter, it is factually incorrect to say that you are Muslims.”

    Are you aware that for a casual observer in this case it would seem to be ‘taking sides’ in a religious dispute for the prime-minister to call this anything other than a sectarian dispute? Do you think it appropriate for the government to tell minorities which religion they do or do not belong to?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mo Ansar
      20/04/2016

      Government is interfering with the key tenets of a faith. That’s a problem and quite wrong.

      Like

      • Rich
        21/04/2016

        So you’re a secularist?

        Like

  4. Fitzy
    20/04/2016

    The thrust of Cameron’s point that there’s an issue with Islamic extremism in this country of which this recent murder is an example, wasn’t theological. So I’m not quite sure what the point of your argument is, to be honest, except to once again assert that the Ahmadiyya Muslims aren’t authentic.

    But as regards the semantics of ‘sectarianism’: The fact mainstream scholars don’t accept Aymadiyya Muslims as authentically Islamic doesn’t mean they’re not a sect. All sects of a particular religion disagree as to the true version of their religion by definition. The fact one might be more outside the mainstream than others doesn’t tell against its being a sect. Far from it; that’s a standard definition of the word ‘sect’.

    Like

    • Mo Ansar
      20/04/2016

      No. Cameron has a clearly set agenda – Muslim reform. Any gratuitous manipulation of wedge issues under the advisement of the discredited and darkly funded Quilliam Foundation (currently being exposed) are a major problem. Islamic theology is more or less clearly defined. There is a united front against extremism – yet seemingly not Government mandated white supremacy and Zionist extremist. It seems some killers and genocidal maniacs are more equal than others. Ahmadiyya are no more a sect of Islam as are Bahai or Sikhs. The government doesn’t get to define Islam to Muslims, not today. Not any day.

      Like

  5. Adam Waterhouse
    21/04/2016

    David Cameron lacks all credibility on this matter. He kowtows to the Saudis and makes apologies for their respective murderous, anti-democratic regimes and invites the murderous dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi whilst Egypt’s democratically elected president and thousands of his supporters and followers rot in Egyptian jails. What message does it send to Muslims world-wide when Britain and American support the very most oppressive and non-democratic Islamist regime in the world and also support the overthrow and imprisonment of relatively more progressive and democratically elected forms of Islamism which don’t serve his political interests. Ed Miliband put it perfectly: “He’s strong when it comes to standing up to the weak and weak when it comes to standing up to the strong.” He might have added that his claimed principles mirror his perceived political interests. David Cameron is someone who follows the dictum “might makes right.” He is a smooth talker and possesses some social graces but they really serve only as a cover for his political agenda of defending and protecting the interests of the ruling elites.

    Like

    • Mo Ansar
      21/04/2016

      Beautifully put, Adam. Thank you for the commentary.

      Like

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This entry was posted on 20/04/2016 by in Religion, UK Politics.

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