In a recent televised speech at a conference in Chicago, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey called for unity and solidarity among Muslims in response to a rising Islamophobia in Europe and across the world. The President rallied Muslims to put aside their cultural differences and play an active civic role in their respective countries. Mr Erdoğan has previously called for unity in the face of rising global hatred towards Muslims. In October 2020, French President Mr Emmanuel Macron said Islam was “in crisis,” triggering a global backlash from Muslim leaders. Mr Erdoğan immediately called for a boycott of French products.
No one knows for sure whether Mr Erdoğan’s speech will positively impact the majority of the Muslim world. If we suppose past behaviour serves as the best predictor of future behaviour, then Mr Erdogan’s plea will only fall upon deaf ears. When France chose to republish the cartoons of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), there was a hue and cry, protests and calls for boycotts among Muslims. However, within a few months, everything died down. Similar short-lived reactions from Muslims have occurred in the past. Undoubtedly, Muslims’ sentiments were hurt whenever there was an attack on the Holy Prophet’s character. If they continued to exert pressure collectively through the media and diplomacy, Mr Macron would have retracted his shameful comments. The West would not have dared to insult the Holy Prophet in the future.
Calling people to unite in light of difficult circumstances is a noble thing to do. However, Mr Erdoğan is a national politician, not a global leader. His call for Muslim solidarity has a limited effect upon the 1.2 billion Muslims spread across the globe. Muslims are deeply divided and hold diverse political as well as religious opinions. Mr Erdogan is fully aware of these issues, which is why he has emphasised the need for Muslims to put aside their ethnic and cultural differences. Muslims desperately need a global voice free from assumptions and biases based on nationalism, culture, politics, and individual opinions. Although we live in a modern global village, the world seems to be more divided than ever before. It seems almost impossible for Muslims to find a leader who can listen to all the different opinions and make a unifying decision that will help advance the cause of Muslims.
Despite this, one Community under one leadership has been championing the cause of Islam for more than a century. That Community is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, and that leader is His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. His Holiness is the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph) or successor of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s coming was mentioned in previous scriptures and foretold by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Under religious leadership, the Community calls upon Muslims to forego their personal and national biases and to turn their attention towards fulfilling the rights of their Creator and the rights of humanity. The Community’s phenomenal growth and success lie in its promotion, practice and defence of the actual teachings of Islam according to the Holy Quran and Sunnah (actions of the Holy Prophet). This method has been most influential in tackling Islamophobia.
Muslims have to admit that mere rhetoric from political leaders will not lead to progress in the Muslim world, let alone pose an intellectual challenge to Western nations. Instead, they should consider coming forward and joining hands with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. One does not need to give up one’s core beliefs to do so. Muslims are believers in One God and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). Furthermore, the Community has been working with Muslims and non-Muslims alike in areas of common human interest. Let’s not waste precious time anymore. Muslims, of all the people today, are in dire need of unity and not more division.