AGM Of the APPG for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, 22 October 6pm in Room Q PCH
Attendees: Siobhain McDonagh MP, Sir Edward Davey MP, Tom Brake MP, Seema Malhotra MP, Lord Tope, Ruth Cadbury MP, Henry Smith MP, Zac Goldsmith MP, John Spellar MP, Steve McCabe MP, Fareed Ahmad (Ahmadiyya Muslim Community)
- Welcome: Election of Officers; Apologies
Officers were elected as below:
Siobhain McDonagh MP-Chair
Zac Goldsmith MP-Vice Chair
Sir Edward Davey MP-Vice Chair
Alison Thewliss MP-Vice Chair
Paul Scully MP- Vice Chair
Mike Gapes MP-Vice Chair
Lord Tope- Vice Chair
Seema Malhotra – Vice Chair
Tom Brake MP-Secretary
Virendra Sharma MP-Treasurer
- Update on the APPG’s current inquiry into the denial of freedom of religion and human rights violations of Ahmadi Muslims and other religious communities in Pakistan:
The key findings from the inquiry were noted and included how case studies and the evidence submitted reinforced the severity of persecution in Pakistan, how such extremism is over spilling into the UK, the issue of hate preachers from Pakistan coming to the UK and the prevalence and growing impact of media and internet in spreading hate.
Recommendations will be aimed at both Pakistan and the UK and highlight the need for urgent action. There is a continued pattern of targeting Ahmadis in Pakistan such as the recently proposed Electronic Media Bill in Pakistan that would explicitly extend the anti-Ahmadi and Blasphemy laws to cover actions by individuals on social media.
In discussions it was agreed that the APPG would also raise the issue of any hate preacher coming to the UK, so that immediate action was taken.
It was also agreed that a report launch plan and media plan should be developed to maximise the impact of the report in the UK and internationally.
The launch is expected to be in January 2019 and the APPG agreed to seek senior Ministerial attendance for the report. The report will be illustrating the link between hate speech and extremism in Pakistan, and the overspill of it into the UK. This would be of significant interest to the UK and EU.
Points made by Sir Ed Davey MP advocated for the involvement of other countries, UK and EU parliamentarians in the campaign against extremism and persecution. MPs were updated on the fact that Canada was now also getting involved in campaigning against persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan.
On hate crime, Seema Malhotra MP queried how issues were raised and what further support was needed. She was advised that where a member experienced hate crime in the UK, they would inform the central team who would then reach out to the Home Office and Metropolitan Police and other relevant authorities.
Tom Brake MP agreed that he would seek a further meeting with Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner and the Thai Ambassador to highlight the community’s concerns.
Siobhain McDonagh MP will also set up with the Commonwealth to brief them further on the issue of persecution and extremism.
- Update on Pakistan:
The impact of the new Pakistan Government was discussed, and it was noted that the situation for Ahmadis remains bleak, with a continued denial of human rights. Three Ahmadis remain on death row for removing a poster that incited hate and violence against Ahmadis.
Additionally, there has been an increase of anti-Ahmadi rhetoric from extremist clerics leading to attacks on mosques.
Sir Ed Davey voiced his concerns that the situation in Pakistan and noted his commitment to ensure Ahmadi issues were represented to relevant Pakistani authorities. The APPG asked for further briefings and agreed to take action on this matter.
- Urgent Issues in Thailand:
A new Immigration Police Chief has launched a crackdown on refugees and 46 Ahmadis have been put into detention centres despite most being granted refugee status. There is a serious risk of their deportation back to Pakistan, where their lives are directly under threat. The APPG agreed to take action on this issue and had written to the Foreign Minister and Thai Ambassador already. Further action to follow.
- AOB: Thursday’s Debate on International freedom of religion or belief day 2018:
The APPG agreed to speak at the Freedom of Religious Belief debate to highlight the issue of the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims.