My letter to the ‘Luton on Sunday’

After the Luton on Sunday ran a doublepage advertisement for the local Ahmadiyya community, the paper was accused of having ‘misrepresented’ Islam: the Ahmadiyya cannot be Muslims, goes the argument, because they don’t believe that Muhammad was the final prophet. The paper ran a suitably vague statement on the issue, distancing itself from the advert.

I wrote to the editor, explaining why this reaction was inappropriate.
 
 

Sir,

I was disappointed by your recent Statement, in which the Luton on Sunday distanced itself from an advertisement previously run on behalf of the Ahmadiyya.

While I appreciate your good intentions in trying to avoid offence, in this case offence was inevitable. The Ahmadiyya consider themselves Muslims; other Muslim denominations disagree. The question is, simply, whether the Ahmadiyya have the right to choose their own identity.

When you received complaints, you should have defended the advert as a harmless celebration of a religious minority. Instead, you have conceded the high ground to those Muslims who claim the copyright to Islam: who would impose their ‘orthodoxy’ on a diverse, loose-knit fellowship of British Muslims.

I do hope you will continue to accept adverts from the Ahmadiyya, and from all peaceful denominations.

Yours ecumenically,

Ian D. Morris

National Research Council
Madrid

Ian D. Morris

Ian D. Morris

Historian and occasional human, powered by tea and cat videos.

2 Comments

  1. Absolutely spot on. Most of their statement is a case of carefully avoiding apologising to offended Muslims, except for when they label the oppressed group as their oppressors wish them to be known, and say, “we had accepted in good faith, but now understand has caused offence”. I’d guess that privately they had the basic sense to realise that the Amadiyya Muslims and the paper have done nothing to apologise for (and they should have said as such), but with this sentence they are cowardly prioritising the intolerant beliefs of these representatives over those of another group to state their own. Moreover it implies that the paper will henceforth enforce Muslim intollerence against Amadiyya Muslims’ freedom of expression in future articles and adverts. I’m considering what I can do to bring this matter to wider attention by contacting other publications. Luton on Sunday have already responded to pressure once, so maybe they will see the error of their ways. Thanks for highlighting it.

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