The Tale of Two Imams
Originally published in Beliefnet
By Zahid Mian
It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. This tale takes place in London and the time is now. While many of the lessons of Dickens’ classic story are lost in the world today, the contrast between good and evil remains. In today’s London there are two individuals offering a path to peace and prosperity. On the one hand there is Anjem Chaudhry and on the other, Mirza Masroor Ahmad. Anjem Chaudhry was recently arrested for hate speech and desires to be the Khalifa of Islam. Mirza Masroor Ahmad is praised for his advocacy of peace and already carries the title of Khalifa of Islam .Whether Anjem Choudhry deserved to be arrested for expressing his views in a free society is up to legal jurists to decide, but there is no doubt that his views and statements are abhorrent and misrepresent Islam. He refers to the 9/11 terrorists as “magnificent martyrs”, lauded the efforts of ISIS, declared Islam to be incompatible with democracy, has rejected the concept of freedom and human rights, and, in one inexplicable statement, called every non-Muslim a criminal in the sight of God worthy of being killed. His desire for a Khalifate to rule England and his declaration that “the flag of Sharia” will fly over Downing Street by 2020 are simply provocations to grab attention. These types of statements are not backed by the Quran or Ahadith, but a twisted sense of creating disorder. Such illogical statements are typical for the likes of Anjem Choudhry who want to divide and conquer by instilling fear and hatred among the community.
Mirza Masroor Ahmad, ever since being elected the Khalifa of Islam, has sought to unite mankind with our shared principles of decency and dignity. He embodies the community’s motto, “Love for All, Hatred for None”. He has called on both sides of the various conflicts in the world to act with justice. The mighty should not abuse their strength and the weak should not succumb to despair. Commenting specifically on the actions of the likes of Anjem Choudhry, Mirza Masroor Ahmad said, “The only thing the terrorists are achieving is to completely violate the teachings of the Holy Quran and of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Let it be clear that they are not practicing Islam, rather it seems as though they have invented their own hate-filled and poisonous religion.”
Under His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad’s guidance, the True Islam campaign was launched to counter the false message of Islam promoted by terrorists and their sympathizers. The 11 points highlighted in this campaign are those terrorists often use to radicalize others, but the goal of the campaign is to root out extremist myths using the Quran and verified Ahadith. In the short time since its launch, the True Islam campaign has been endorsed by celebrities and politicians, and thousands of ordinary citizens willing to promote a different narrative on Islam.
Unfortunately, the hate-filled words of Anjem Chaudhry receive much greater airtime than the wisdom of the Khalifa of Islam. While this dynamic has led to an increase in readership and viewers for media outlets, it has attracted the downtrodden to a false narrative of Islam. When the downtrodden need to find solace in an increasingly challenging environment, they only see the message of the likes of Anjem Choudhry. Ironically, Dickens warned the citizens of London about what could happen if social justice did not prevail. In light of that, we need the media to promote the message of social justice and peace instead of those who want to destabilize governments at all costs. Simply arresting someone who spouts hate will only encourage others to take up the “cause.” Instead we all need to support the message of His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad: social justice, patience, and respect for each other will lead to peace.