I have been asked to give my opinion on the activities of the Muslim missionaries currently active on Norfolk Island. While I maintain that religious freedom is the bedrock of all other freedoms, I did think it best to write to you about this group particularly due to our isolation, and lack of contact and context. What we need to know most about the Ahmadi, who have come to us claiming to be “True Islam” – is that they are considered by other muslims to be a cult.
I first became aware of the Ahmadi two years ago when they arrived as guests and companions of the “Universal Peace Federation” who were manoeuvring to establish a “Peace Embassy” on Norfolk Island.
The “Universal Peace Federation” was later exposed as a front organisation for the “Unification Church”. You might know the Unification Church by their other name – the “Moonies” (the “Moonies” continue to be known around the world for their mass, public weddings). Today, the “Moonies” in Australia meet in a “Peace Embassy” in central Sydney. A quick google search reveals that the Ahmadi Muslim community and the Unification Church share a strong connection, appearing at many of the same places and events.
It interested me that these two groups were connected, and on closer examination, I discovered that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a significant Islamic cult (the equivalent of a “Christian” cult like the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints – the Mormons).
On their first visit to the island they suggested to me (and to others) that they had been asked to compile a special report for the United Nations. I consider this to be misleading.
The Ahmadi movement, which has its origins in British-controlled northern India in the late 19th Century, identifies itself as a Muslim movement and follows the teachings of the Koran. However, it is regarded by orthodox Muslims as heretical because it does not believe that Mohammed was the final prophet sent to guide mankind (as orthodox Muslims believe is laid out in the Koran). In fact, the founder of the Ahmadi movement (Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad, 1835-1908) claimed to be the second-coming of Jesus.
While they go by the phrase “Love For Hatred For None” I do urge you to research the history of their movement, using your discernment and proceeding with great caution. Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad was a noted opponent of the Christian mission to British Pakistan.
Ahmad perceived that Islam (as it was being preached and practiced in Pakistan) was inferior to Christianity, and he began a project to reform Islam to better rival Christian teaching. Part of his solution was to include more anti-Christian elements in Islam and he also wanted to remove the respect in Islam for Jesus the Messiah. In fact it could be argued that the Ahmadiyya movement is more anti-Christian than the rest of Islam.
Source: Kenneth Cragg, The Call of the Minaret, Oneworld Publications, 2003, 223.
So, how should we respond to those who want to preach another Jesus? We must pray that they would come to know the Jesus of history, the image of the invisible God. Throughout the New Testament, the Apostles sought to fight false teaching and heresy. In fact, in nearly every letter, some false teaching or heresy is exposed and dealt with. For example, 1 Corinthians deals with teachers who denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Galatians argues against those who said that justification is by Jesus plus becoming a Jew, not faith alone in Jesus alone. In Colossians, Paul warns against a strange Jewish-mystical teaching that seemed to combine Jewish dietary laws with esoteric Greek philosophy. 1 John confronts many who denied that Jesus, the Son of God, came in a human body. Over and over, the church’s leaders fought against false teaching in their churches.
This isn’t to say that in defending the faith we can or ought to forsake courtesy. One mark of our conversion is that we treat everyone, even those in error, with gentleness and respect (2 Timothy 2:24; Titus 3:2). Surely, we can disagree without being disagreeable. And yet, there are truths at stake, and even more than truths, there are precious individuals whom God has entrusted to us for pastoral care and oversight. Our task is to protect the flock even as we examine ourselves to ensure that our teaching and doctrine are pure (1 Timothy 4:16).