James Foley murder: Ahmadi youth members speak out on radicalisation of British Muslims

Members of the Ahmadiyya Youth Community at the London Mosque in Southfields

Members of the Ahmadiyya Youth Community at the London Mosque in Southfields

First published in News
Last updated
Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

As the hunt for the allegedly British murderer of US photojournalist James Foley continues, Muslims from the Ahmadiyya community in Morden have spoken out about combatting radicalisation in the UK.

Fears over British Muslims going to fight for extremists in Syria have intensified after Islamic State (IS) militants shared a graphic video of a man with a British accent beheading the captive photojournalist.

However, Muslim organisations, communities and individuals have condemned the killing as totally opposed to Islamic teaching which does not permit any terrorism or extremism.

Reporter Louisa Clarence-Smith discussed the radicalisation of Islam with members of the Ahmadiyya Youth Community at the London Mosque in Southfields on Saturday.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Kamran Tahar, 23, from Morden 

“We are working towards peace so when you see the news [of James Foley’s murder] it’s like taking one step forward and ten steps back.

“You have to keep reminding people what the true teachings of Islam are. It’s just disappointing and it’s hard to see this being done in the name of Islam.

“I think a lot of the problem is these Muslims don’t have a leader like we do and nowadays everybody wants to be part of something.

“They see IS is becoming a huge thing in the media which makes people think that maybe this is something to be a part of.”

“I think social media is becoming more and more important.

“Some Muslims are looking at these messages and finding themselves associated with this and it’s like a ring of fire they are dipping into.”

Wimbledon Guardian:

Surfraz Mustafa, 17, Southfields

“There’s no religion in what IS are doing. They are doing what they are doing for political and economic reasons.”

“The government should be looking at organisations like ours that are already combatting radicalisation.

“They should be able to stop these clerics from coming into the country in the first place and be able to remove them.

“Whenever something happens in the media it says Muslims should come together and condemn these acts.

“But the whole of humanity should come together and condemn these acts together as they are an atrocity against all humanity.

“It’s hard to recruit us [Ahmadi Muslims] because we are all united by one person so we are all working together and we have this sense of brotherhood.

“And some of the things that are causing youth to go there are the sense of brotherhood and leadership they don’t get in their communities.”

Wimbledon Guardian:

Thacay Ahmed, 24, south Wimbledon

“I think these people are like gangs. They are not religious, they are like the mafia and they are using religion as a recruitment strategy.

“There’s a vacuum in Muslim leadership among the other groups and there are some Muslims who are vulnerable.

“But we have a leader who’s a proper scholar and a man of peace.

“Our Caliph is like the pope. These guys are just war lords.

“The government should have the power to stop people from radicalising but needs to keep the values of freedom and democracy.

“I didn’t watch the video firstly out of dignity for Mr Foley but also you don’t want to be associated with it in any way.”

“I have got lots of friends from other Muslim communities and they wouldn’t support this.

“Our Caliph has said to political leaders on a number of occasions over the last few years if you don’t stamp out extremism in other countries it will spread.”

Wimbledon Guardian:

Anser Zafar, 20, Tooting 

“Everyone can see our Caliph. I went and met him personally, privately, when I was 17 and he gave me his blessing and I think a lot of our youth are motivated to do good just because we have this blessing from him.”

Mr Zafar contrasted the intolerance of IS with the story of the Prophet who allowed a bedouin to urinate in his mosque before cleaning up afterwards.

He said: “My question to them is would you let someone into your mosque and let them urinate and then wash it off? They’re not even letting people into their country.”

Fact Box:

There are about 150 million Ahmadi Muslims around the world across 204 countries.

• The group's members are followers of Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the third descendant of the movement’s founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who Ahmadis believe was a messiah and prophet.

• They have faced persecution for this belief from mainstream Islamic sects, who believe Muhammad was the final prophet.

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