Monday, February 27, 2017

Australia: Ahmadiyya Muslim leader says Islam not the same as some Muslims’ actions


“We respect the right of women to practise what they want to practise, they can talk wherever they want, men can talk wherever they want. In certain aspects of life there are separations, like sport.”

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | AU Desk
Source/Credit: The Australian
By Verity Edwards | February 27, 2017

The president of an Adelaide mosque says Muslim extremists are abusing Islamic teachings of the Koran, including interpretations that domestic violence is accepta­ble if marriage counselling fails.

Nasir Zia, who heads the Mahmood­ mosque at Beverley in Adelaid­e’s west, is an Ahmadiyya Muslim, and follows a more liberal interpretation of the Koran.

The Ahmadiyya community invited The Australian to prayers and to explain misrepresentations perpetuated by a small minority of the Islamic faith, which Mr Zia said demonised Muslims.

“When people do not make a distinction between an ill-practising Muslim or someone and Islam itself, Islam is a very pure religion and people abuse the religion,” he aid. “All too often we forget to distinguish between the actions of some Muslims and Islam.”

Mr Zia’s concerns and those of student Khizar Rana came after federal Minister for Women Michaelia Cash called for Australian Federation of Islamic Councils president Keysar Trad to stand down for condoning domestic violence as a “last resort”.

“Never is there sayings that the holy prophet beat his wife or was angry towards her,” Mr Rana said.

He said the prophet Mohammed was kind to his wives and his teachings showed people should aspire to that. If there were problems, they should have counselling or “cut out the relationship”.

The Ahmadiyya community did not support sharia and Mr Zia, who migrated from Pakistan 21 years ago, said the Australian Constitution was absolut­e.

The Ahmadiyya follow the Koran interpretations of London-based Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmed, Khalifa of Islam, who last week supported a decision by France’s National Front leader Marine Le Pen not to wear a headscarf when meeting Leban­on’s Grand Mufti.

Despite the Ahmadiyya being more liberal, women at the mosque were still segregated during prayers. “We respect the right of women to practise what they want to practise, they can talk wherever they want, men can talk wherever they want,” Mr Zia said. “In certain aspects of life there are separations, like sport.”

The community’s women’s auxiliary president, Shaheena Rana, a GP, said segregation ended after prayers and women were given complete freedom to go where they wanted without being accompanied by a male relative or husband. “And we don’t have segregation in the home,” Dr Rana said.

Young mother Mashal Rana called herself “a feminist at heart”, disagreeing that Muslim women were oppressed, and said it was her choice to wear a headscarf.

“I cover up because I don’t want people to look at my body before they see in my head, my intellig­ence: I would rather them see who I am as a person,” she said. She refused to be in photos, saying she wanted to be respected for her opinions, not her image.

Islam attracted further deris­ion last week when The Australian revealed that a Sydney public school had adopted an Education Department-endorsed protocol permitting Muslim male students to decline to shake hands with females­ ­because of their faith.

Ms Rana agreed: “I would accept­ that, not that’s it’s part of my religion, it’s because I’m open to different cultures.”


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