The fringe Muslim Ahmadiyya sect, which is feted by the ruling Conservative Party in Britain, has been rocked by a scandal involving its members and claims that its spiritual leader insisted that the relatives of an alleged rape victim should keep quiet about the case.
An audio recording has emerged which reveals that the leader of the Ahmadiyya community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, encouraged a woman named as Nida Ul Nasser to keep quiet and urged her against taking the matter any further.
"My advice to you will be that you drop this case, even if the rape happened," the person said to be Ahmed explained. He pointed out that he cannot be sure if the alleged rape happened or not. "Even if it has, I am sure those involved would have asked for forgiveness from Allah already."
Nasser is said to be the granddaughter of the previous leader of the sect, Mirza Tahir Ahmad. She is a British national and lives in London, as does the current leader, who is also a British national.
The conversation took place in July last year. It was recorded by Nasser and released to the public in December. She can be heard objecting to the advice from the Ahmadiyya leader. "You are asking me to keep quiet on [sexual abuse]. Although Allah has asked us to hide the sins of our fellow Muslims, He has never asked a victim to remain silent on the oppression/exploitation he/she has endured," said the 36-year-old.
In what appears to be an abuse of power, Ahmed cites religious text when insisting that the victim should bury the case. The 71-year-old also claimed that the victim will need four witnesses to prove a rape claim. Nasser shot back, telling Ahmed: "Whosoever has seen that chat and text will tell you that no British court will accept that there are no indecencies in them. I am clear cut about that he is not the supreme head of the British Government, no British court will accept his stance."
An official complaint of multiple instances of sexual abuse has been made to the police who are investigating. The Ahmadiyya community has not challenged the authenticity of the audio but denies that the group's leader tried to bury sexual abuse allegations.
The Ahmadiyya movement was founded in British-ruled India in the 19th century by Ghulam Ahmad. It is regarded as a very small fringe group by mainstream Muslims, most of whom do not accept its members as fellow Muslims at all. Nevertheless, that has not stopped it from becoming feted by the Conservative Party as a legitimate voice of the Muslim community in Britain.