In a shocking report, UK’s IBTimes has revealed how city council of Britain’s second most populated city, Birmingham favored Muslim religious extremists against the persecuted Ahmadiyya sect. The report revealed how Birmingham’s education authorities blocked one of UK’s oldest and most peaceful Muslim sect from being represented on an interfaith council.
City of Birmingham’s Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) told members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community that in order to be represented on the city’s SACRE committee they would have to declare themselves as non-Muslims first.
SACRE’s committee member demanded Ahmadis to declare themselves as non-Muslim after right-wing Muslims threatened a walkout.
In an email message published by IBTimes, Councillor Barry Henley, Chairman of Birmingham SACRE committee said that the body would welcome an Ahmadi representative provided they describe themselves as “Ahmadiyya Community or similar wording and not Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.”
Chairman Henley insisted that if he allowed the Ahmadiyya to be admitted he would be “breaking the law because the other Muslim representatives would leave.”
Responding to the judgment, Fareed Ahmad, a member of the Ahmadiyya National Executive Committee, said the Labour-led council had failed to defend religious tolerance.
In July, the SACRE committee rejected a new membership application from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
British law expert, Barrister Neil Addison has said that the committee broke the law in excluding the Ahmadis: “It is endorsing sectarianism, we wouldn’t allow it with anyone else in the UK, and it is not lawful.”
The controversy began in 2012 when Birmingham’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Community first applied for SACRE membership. Soon after the initial application, SACRE changed it’s charter so that only candidates chosen by committees representing faith communities would be considered for membership.
Members of Birmingham SACRE’s Muslim Liaison Committee have so far refused to support membership of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.