Ten days after what was billed as a “historic” meeting to rebuild community relations damaged by a hate campaign against a minority Islamic sect the main participants seem unable to agree what, if anything, it has achieved.
In October, the Wimbledon Guardian and the Wandsworth Guardian revealed evidence of a hate campaign against the Morden-based Ahmadis, an Islamic minority sect considered non-Muslim by many mainstream Muslims.
Our investigation focused on Tooting and the Tooting Islamic Centre (TIC) in Upper Tooting Road, where an anti-Ahmadi conference was held in March in which worshippers were told to boycott Ahmadi-run shops.
After that conference, Ahmadi-run shops complained of a sharp loss of trade and anti-Ahmadi leaflets have been found on display in a Tooting cosmetics shops and on the main noticeboard of the Tooting Islamic Centre.
Following our investigation, a meeting, organised by Tooting MP Sadiq Khan, was held at Wandsworth Town Hall on Monday, December 13 to discuss the Ahmadis’ concerns.
It was attended by Mr Khan, Wandsworth police borough commander David Musker, Wandsworth Council Leader Edward Lister, four representatives from the TIC and nine representatives from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association (AMA).
A joint statement was due to be issued last week on behalf of the TIC and the AMA, but so far no statement has been agreed and no further meetings have been planned.
This newspaper was denied access to the meeting and the participants are remaining tight lipped on the outcome – billed by Tooting MP Sadiq Khan as a “historic” chance for the TIC and AMA to clear the air.
In an interview last month Mr Khan said he did not know about the anti-Ahmadi campaign until told by this newspaper in October.
At the time he said he was pleased to “organise this historic first meeting”.
But yesterday his only comment was to issue a two line statement saying: “It was agreed the management of TIC and the Ahmadiyya community leaders would try and agree a joint statement, and I am hopeful this will reflect the goodwill and positivity that was evident from all sides during the meeting.”
Kingston police were investigating allegations of hate crimes after a leaflet was allegedly distributed in Kingston town centre.
A teenage Ahmadi girl, who did not want to be named, gave police a statement claiming the leaflet, which she said was written in Urdu, said: “Kill a Qadiyani [Ahmadiyya] and doors to heaven will be open to you”.
Kingston police later said it had never been handed the leaflet and has not received any other allegations.
Copyright 2001-2010 Wimbledon Guardian, UK. All rights reserved.