Since the end of the nineteenth century, Ahmadiyya Muslims have endured the most brutal persecution by their Sunni and Shi’a counterparts. In Pakistan, since General Zia ul-Haq’s Ordinance XX in 1984, Ahmadiyyas have been forbidden from calling themselves Muslims, their religion Islam, or their temples mosques. It is also illegal for them to perform the call to prayer, pray in the manner of Muslims, quote the Qur’an, or even greet each other with “as-salamu alaikum”. Ahmadiyyas are the victims of Muslim intolerance, just as much as non-Muslims.
With this in mind, Alliance of Former Muslims does not hesitate to condemn yesterday’s assault on Mosque Maryam in Galway, Ireland’s largest Ahmadiyya mosque. Indeed, while we are appalled at the terror attacks in London and Manchester, it is the height of ignorance to associate these atrocities with the Ahmadiyya community, who are arguably the most peaceful Muslims going; the imam of the mosque, Ibrahim Ahmad Noonan, has always been explicit in condemning terrorism. To quote Noonan from The Irish Times:
I was leading the prayers when we heard an extremely loud bang. We were in the middle of the prayers so continued on, but there were one or two people who left the prayers to see what the bang was.
A group of individuals were seen smashing our windows and we believe from the descriptions given, these men are understood to be Irish. They ran away once we came outside to investigate.
The rocks came smashing through the windows and could have seriously injured one of my members. We have had attacks in the past, but I feel this is a deliberate attack. We can tell that this is an attack based on the tragic events in London and Manchester in recent weeks.
Alliance of Former Muslims recognises that it is right for Irish non-Muslims to be apprehensive, particularly given that Rachid Redouane lived in Rathmines for two years. However, if people wish to demonstrate against the evils of Islamic supremacism, then let them join us in our efforts to expose the Clonskeagh Mosque, whose demagogues have a penchant for extremist ideas: witness the bigotry of Ali Selim, who is quite open about his desire for stricter blasphemy laws in Ireland, and is quick to dismiss Ahmadiyya Muslims as “heretics”.
Now of course, we understand that the Regressive Left’s absurd denial of faith-based terrorism compels some people to embrace right-wing sentiments. Ultimately, however, each of us has a responsibility to think for ourselves. In our response to jihadist atrocities, let us not discard the Enlightenment values of rationalism and humanism, but rather affirm them with equanimity. To finish with a previous quote from Ibrahim Ahmad Noonan, stressing the collective duty of Muslim leaders to combat extremism:
Until all the imams and sheikhs in Ireland – and indeed, around the world – stand up and condemn this wrongful interpretation of Islam by ISIS and all the other so-called ‘Islamic’ organisations, these acts of evil will not be halted.
Ibrahim Ahmad Noonan, Michael Nugent (Atheist Ireland) and others meet with Council of Europe representatives to discuss secular schools in Ireland.