BBC coverage of Ahmadi convention
Mr S Whittle
Editorial Policy, BBC
27 July 2003
I am writing regarding the BBC News 24 item that was aired throughout the day on Saturday 26th July 2003 about the Ahmadi convention in Surrey.
Your reporter Barnie Choudury repeated the outrageous Ahmadi claim that they are a 200 million strong community without subjecting it to any serious scrutiny. We believe you will be hard-pressed to find a single reputable scholar of Islam in the entire world - whether Muslim or non-Muslim - who will back the claim that there are an "estimated 200 Million" Ahmadis worldwide. A figure of 10 million is closer to the reality.
Remarkably, your reporter also failed to sufficiently explain the fundamental difference between the global 1.2 billion strong Muslim community and the Ahmadis: namely the Ahmadi's central belief that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet and the Promised Messiah. It would have been interesting to see your viewers' reaction to the latter claim.
The Ahmadi community are unanimously regarded by all Muslim scholars as a non-Muslim sect and are viewed by mainstream Muslims in a similar manner to which mainstream Christians would view the Mormons or the Seventh Day Adventists.
We are surprised at the wide coverage that the BBC gave to this sect. From Thursday 31st July till Sunday 3rd August 2003 there will be a large Muslim Family Summer Camp held in the 200 acre site of the Lincolnshire Showground organized by the MCB-affiliate the Islamic Society of Britain. Go to www.isb.org.uk or www.livingislam.co.uk for full details. We hope you will give this mainstream Muslim event the same wide coverage as you did the Ahmadi convention.
Mr Inayat Bunglawala,
The Muslim Council of Britain
London E15 1NT