Imams failing young Britons, says Ahmadiyya Muslim leader

Mirza Masroor Ahmad

Caliph believes we must reform jihadis and put pressure on those countries who fund Isis
oung British Muslims are being let down by clerics who are under-educated and fail to preach in English, according to a leading religious figure who called for higher standards to be set down for those who can become imams.

Mirza Masroor Ahmad, spiritual leader or caliph to millions of Ahmadiyya Muslims around the world, said it was shameful that Britain had lost 500 or so young people to Islamic State (Isis) and attacked the group for paying money to teenagers to join their “barbaric” fight. He said Muslim leaders in the UK should be teaching “love of country” as well as love of god to disaffected young men and women and working harder to promote the peaceful message of Islam.

“The young people here have been raised in this country and they understand English, they should not be having to hear the messages of the Qur’an in Urdu or Punjabi, or just in Arabic alone. They should be well versed in their religious education as well as in their secular education in English,” said the caliph.

Ahmadiyya is a sect of Islam seen as heretical by some Muslims, and its believers are persecuted in many countries, particularly Pakistan. The sect, currently celebrates its 125th year, opened London’s first mosque in 1926. Its mosque in Morden, Surrey – western Europe’s largest mosque complex – this month hosted a peace symposium where the caliph’s keynote speech was attended by cabinet ministers Justine Greening and Ed Davey and by dozens of multifaith dignitaries from around the world.