Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK have expressed concern at Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks on measures that claim to promote integration.In a detailed response they called for the Prime Minister to spend more time talking to Muslim women in particular before announcing measures that would impose restrictions and limitations on personal choice. They stressed that issues of gender segregation and dress codes in compliance with religious beliefs should remain a matter of personal choice.
On the issue of segregation Mrs Nasira Rehman, National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association UK said:
“The UK is a beacon of freedom of choice so we, as Muslim women, strongly feel that men and women should be free to choose where they would like to sit. Is that not better than the Government imposing restrictions or limitations on personal choice? The Government should at least consult Muslim women and ask their views.”
Commenting on the issue of the veil, Mrs Rehman added:
“Whenever there are security concerns or necessary reasons for identification then the Government or authorities have the right to ask women to show their face and we have no objection to that. However, our experience is that Ahmadi Muslim women have excelled in the UK in their education careers and become integrated and active members of society whilst abiding by their faith and wearing their Hijab. If the Government seeks to remove the Hijab or creates conditions to make it difficult for Muslim women to continue with their work or education, then it would deny the UK of a talented and loyal workforce.
“Such a move would stifle opportunities for educated Muslim women and be a loss to the nation. Serving the nation and abiding by the teachings of Islam are not mutually exclusive. Islam teaches Muslim men and women to pursue knowledge and to use that to serve their countries.“Whilst we would not encourage banning the veil in any circumstances, let us be clear that according to Islam the standard of basic Hijab requires a Muslim woman to cover her head, hair and chin. It is not essential for the face to be covered.”
Whilst the Ahmadiyya Muslim community UK welcomed support for migrants to learn English, they expressed concern at how the measures could impact families and the rights of the child.In response to the proposals on English language Mr Rafiq Hayat, National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK said:
“We agree all immigrants to the UK should seek to learn English – this is essential not only for people to integrate better in society, but to communicate with their own children and develop a closer relationship.
“However to separate a parent from their child, through non-extension of a spouse visa, because the parent did not speak English proficiently would be wrong and would violate the human rights of the child. It would be better for the Government to focus on helping all immigrants learn English.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK is one of Britain’s oldest Muslim communities, having been established here since 1913. It now has 129 branches across the UK with its headquarters at Britain’s largest mosque, the Baitul Futuh Mosque in south London. It is currently running a nationwide campaign ‘United Against Extremism’ to highlight the true teachings of Islam and its Islam’s rejection of extremism. Further details can be found at http://www.UnitedAgainstExtremism.com
Basharat Nazir media(at)ahmadiyya(dot)org(dot)uk Tel +447703 483 384
Mahmood Rafiq Tel +447971 060 962