Spiritual leader of Ahmaddiya Muslims visits Australian flock | Asia Pacific

Spiritual leader of Ahmaddiya Muslims visits Australian flock

Spiritual leader of Ahmaddiya Muslims visits Australian flock

Updated 7 October 2013, 14:08 AEDT

The global head of the Ahmaddiya Islamic Community has used a visit to Australia to highlight the persecution of his followers in some parts of Asia.

Mirza Masroor Ahmad is visiting Australia for the first time since 2006.

He's also used the trip to reiterate concerns that the conflict in Syria could spread further.

Presenter:Bill Birtles

Speaker: Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Spiritual leader of Ahmaddiya Muslims

BIRTLES: For Ahmadi Muslims, seeing their spiritual leader is a rare and special opportunity.

This year's visit to Australia by Mirza Masroor Ahmad, known by followers as the Caliph of Ahmaddiya, was his first in six years.

The tight-knit community only has around 5-thousand followers in Australia, but claims tens of millions around the world - a figure which is difficult to determine.

Ahmad used the visit to warn that conflict in Syria could spiral out of control if major powers get involved.

AHMAD: 'Even just recently, three or four weeks before, I delivered a sermon, and my sermon was translated into more languages, in it I explained clearly that the government and the public should behave in a way which is human. They've already ruined the peace of their country, but they're going to doom their country, and moreover, this could expand to the region, and there's a fear, I am scared, that it could spread even all across the world. And it could be the cause of the third world war. '

BIRTLES: The Ahmaddiyas have long rejected extremism and say true Islam involves promoting peace.

Mirza Masroor Ahmad says if the international community worked together, it could stop extremism in Syria and other places.

AHMAD: 'You see, these fundamentalists are always there, and they are not in the majority. But the question is, none of these organisations or Muslim countries have any arsenal or armaments industry. Where are they getting it? Obviously from the West, either it is from Eastern Europe or through another way, underhand dealing, I don't know how. This is what I've been telling the politicians. So if the big powers want to control these extremists, they can control them. They don't have oil money, somebody who has oil money, or some wealthier nations, are helping them. This is why they are running their notorious task'.

BIRTLES: But the main focus for Ahmad's visit is his religious community, many of whom are greatly concerned about longstanding legal persecution against Ahmadis in the country where the sect originated from, Pakistan.

AHMAD: '2010 in two of our mosques, almost 90 of our people were killed, and hundreds were injured, and even every off and on, even every one or two weeks, I receive news of one or two Ahmadis being murdered or martyred. So this is an ongoing process, and it can never stop while that obnoxious law is there and continues to exist.'

BIRTLES: Ahmad says sporadic mob violence spurred on by Muslim clerics in Indonesia also continues to affect the community.

AHMAD: 'In certain areas where demonstrators are against us, they are creating problems. And the mullahs are also very furious there, they can go to extent they want. This is why sometime ago three of our Ahmadis were beaten to death in a mosque.'

BIRTLES: Mirza Masroor Ahmad is continuing his Australian visit this week, before heading to New Zealand, then Japan, before returning to London, where he lives in exile from Pakistan.

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