I have had the following comment published in response to Ruth Gledhill’s “Articles of Faith” blog in The Times, which featured a view of the tragedy of the slaying of Ahmadi Muslims – including British members of the Ahmadiyya muslim community – in Pakistan.
So sorry to see the diversity of Islamic ideas erupt in such tragedy. We have staunch members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in my local Interfaith Forum, and they are lovely individuals. One of them has been a local Councillor, and is always active in arranging charity events for the community. However, even at the local level we are aware of the intolerance of some “mainstream” Muslims to this group. But there is nothing “mainstream” about intolerance that can lead to such hatred that it becomes violence.
As a profound believer in a God that is Love, and as an equally profound believer that the proof of knowing God is to develop one’s own expression of that spiritual love, I find it hard to figure out how anyone can so much as lift their voice in anger at another person in the name of God, let alone kill others. I have been grateful to find anger dissolved in me – and have seen it dissolved in others – through seeing things through God’s eyes, even when anger might seem justified. That, to me, is religion: that which heals, unites, forgives, uplifts, renews, restores.
Hating the haters doesn’t help – and so the Ahmadiyya response of “no retaliation” seems as wise as it is admirable. All strength to them, and to all Sunni, Shi’ite, Sufi, and other Muslims – and those in all denominations, and none – who believe that violence is unacceptable in the business of working through theological differences.