Ahmadiyya Muslims raising funds for the Royal British Legion have described receiving abuse from left-wing opponents of the “racist” Poppy Appeal.
Followers of the Islamic sect, whose members are violently oppressed as “infidels” in some Muslim majority countries like Pakistan, told the Mail on Sunday that their efforts for the UK charity have seen Ahmadis branded “infidels” by mainstream Muslims, and “traitors” by the far left.
Ahmadi Muslims — who raised more than £100,000 selling the poppy last year — hit back at left wing detractors of the patriotic cause, by highlighting the thousands of Muslim soldiers who fought and died alongside British forces.
“We have all heard the calls of ‘infidel’ and the suggestion that poppies are somehow racist,” said UK Ahmadi leader Dr. Ijaz Rehman.
“But it’s rubbish. Our motto is ‘Love for all, hatred for none’ he continued, adding: “And as we live in this country, are protected by this country, then we are loyal to this country, as many of our ancestors were.
“We draw a distinction between the political arguments about where an army might be fighting and supporting the soldiers and their families, which is what the Royal British Legion does and we are proud to help with.”
Pakistani Christian beaten for displaying poppies on his car warns of more Muslim violence coming into the UK. https://t.co/JpT84BUlRQ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 30, 2017
Another poppy seller from Britain’s Ahmadi community, Uz Zafar, recalled how he and a group of his fellow believers were out selling the poppy last week in London when they were verbally abused by an “angry, white left-winger”.
According to the Mail on Sunday, the group was told that selling the poppy was a “betrayal of Palestinians”, until the leftist was shouted down by passers-by who told him Muslims from the Ahmadiyya community were “doing something for our country”.
“It was all very moving,” Zafar told the Sunday newspaper, recounting: “As we were going down the Tube escalators carrying all our poppy paraphernalia, a man on the up escalator saluted us and about seven other people on that side all joined in.”
'When you go home, tell them of us and say: For their tomorrow, we gave our today' https://t.co/hjADPVUUdR
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 2, 2017
Previously, liberal media in the West has been criticised for promoting initiatives carried out by the moderate sect — who are frequently behind initiatives promoting interfaith peace and tolerance — as representative of the wider Muslim community while ignoring the persecution Ahmadis face from many mainstream Muslims in Britain.
After an illegal immigrant from Tunisia launched a deadly truck attack at a Christmas market in Berlin last December, far-left former newspaper the Independent reported on Ahmadi Muslims handing out T-shirts bearing the sects “love for all, hate for none” slogan at a vigil in the German capital as an example of “Berlin’s Muslim community send[ing] [a] message of peace and solidarity”.