PakSoc screening controversy attacked in parliament

The MP for Mitcham and Morden expressed concern at persecution towards Ahmadi Muslims, referencing last weeks film screening controversy


Siobhain McDonagh MP has condemned the Oxford Pakistan Society’s reluctance to co-host a documentary screening, calling their actions a “scourge of extremism” in a parliamentary debate last week.

The House of Commons Select Committee was debating the motion, “That this House notes with concern the rising tide of persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan, Algeria and other countries around the world; …[and] calls on the Government to make representations to the Governments of Pakistan and Algeria on the persecution of Ahmadis…”

McDonagh, the Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, said in Parliament: “We return a final time to the case of Nobel prize winner Professor Abdus Salam.

“Earlier this month, Oxford University hosted the first UK screening of a film about him, but the university’s Pakistan society has been accused of discrimination due to its reluctance to get involved based on Professor Salam’s Ahmadi faith, forcing an apology after an extremely successful event.

“Such a scourge of extremism is a stain on the freedom of religion that we rightly and proudly celebrate in the UK.”

In response to McDonagh’s comments, Oxford Pakistan Society told Cherwell: “We respect the religious freedom of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. We apologised for any miscommunication and delay in our response. We realise the huge amount of work needed to highlight the plight of minorities within our community.

“We reject the suggestion that the Pakistan Society was discriminatory. As documented, any reluctance was based on the controversial nature of the event and not out of any desire not to recognise the incommensurate achievements of Abdus Salam.”

Oxford University Ahmadiyya Muslim Student Association President, Noman Chaudhry, told Cherwell: “Oxford University Pakistan Society’s reluctance to be involved with the screening event is specifically highlighted by MP Siobhain McDonagh as an act complicit to these prejudices, and one of many examples of discriminatory behaviours prevalent within the UK Muslim community.

“We are humbled that our cause has reached Parliament, and that such aggressions against the Ahmadiyya Community are recognised as being in direct conflict with the values and principles championed by our nation.

“These are values and principles that we believe must also be maintained and upheld by those in positions of leadership amongst the student societies of UK universities, as a matter of duty and responsibility.”

During the debate, Glasgow SNP MP Patrick Grady added: “We have heard from Members on both sides of the Chamber about other incidents of intolerance and bigotry towards the Ahmadi community throughout the United Kingdom. We have also heard about the issues at Oxford University this month, and all that is a matter of great concern.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Pakistani Government continue to condone and oversee the conduct of religiously motivated attacks. We call on the Foreign Secretary and Foreign Office Ministers to press the Pakistani Government to take action against religious persecution.”


  1. It is sad that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community indulges in the same actions that it condemns others for. To give just one example, the AMC believes that people who do not take an oath of loyalty to their khalifa are kafir (heretics). Further, they do not pray behind other Muslim imams, even those who regard them as Muslims. A little honesty from the AMC will go a long way.

    • Its mind boggling that you would blame Ahmadi Muslims of doing the same things they complain about. Ahmadi Muslims do not kill or persecuted Khatam e Nabuwat people while the reverse is not true as we are often reminded of through credible proof. The issue of not praying etc is just red herring; everyone has the right not to pray if they don’t want, and also have a right of freedom of beliefs.

  2. Dear Shahid Aziz
    I’m afraid to say you are exposed to the stereotypes and prejudices which is predominant within other Muslims communities towards Ahmadis Muslim.

    Being an Ahmadi Muslim, I can tell you that your first statement is simply WRONG. Ahmadis consider everyone Muslim who calls and identifies himself a Muslim. This is what the Holy Quran and the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (pbuh) has thought and this is what Ahmadi Muslims follow. As simple as that. Please don’t bring up any insufficient and contextless quotes. For that I can also provide quotes where it says in the Holy Quran to not pray. It’s important to always consider the background and context. OR simply ask an Ahmadi Muslim OR listen to their Friday speeches. Again, please don’t follow predominant, false narratives.

    Yes, Ahmadi Muslims don’t pray behind A non-Ahmadi Imams. Why? Historically it was those who shunned them out of their mosques and isolated them within themselves and went to the extend of persecution. So how can you expect to pray behind such people? Even if an Ahmadi wanted to, he would not be allowed to pray in a non Ahmadi-mosque – not only in Pakistan but also in the UK- such is the hatred against the community due to misconceptions and lack of education.

  3. If anyone is interested in learning more about the type of things that Ahmadi Muslims have to worry about in the UK, I suggest Googling “Asad Shah”.


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