From tackling the rise of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and the far Right to learning to love your neighbour, Noor Hadi – one of Britain’s youngest Imams – shares his human rights hopes and concerns as he answers EachOther‘s big questions.
The 23-year-old Imam, who is part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, is based at south London’s Baitul Futuh Mosque.
The mosque runs a number of youth outreach programmes, aimed at young people both inside and outside the Islamic community. Hadi believes that this is helping to curb radicalisation and gang violence locally.
The Ahmadiyya community, founded in 1889, describes itself a “revival movement” within Islam that emphasises the “essential teachings of peace, love, justice, and sanctity of life”.
Describe what you do in 10 words or less
Propagate the peaceful message of Islam and empower Muslim youth.
What is the most important lesson you learned while growing up?
Love everyone like they are your own family. I learnt this from our Caliph, seeing him as I grew up. He is a spiritual father of millions, my inspiration.
What advice would you give a ten-year-old you?
Keep on going. The challenges you face will be the same challenges you solve for others. Make sure you maintain a strong connection with the Caliph.
Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Will Smith or Dwayne Johnson (I wish)… more like Kevin Hart.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud to be British, I’m proud to be the child of my parents, I’m proud to be a humble servant of the Caliph.
Is there anything you would like to achieve which you haven’t yet?
I would like to let the world know that – in a climate of global and geopolitical tensions – we need to turn to our creator, and unite under one banner of love and understanding.
If you could immediately put right one injustice in the UK right now – which would it be? Why?
Generally, the UK is a wonderful place to live in terms of freedom of expression and religion. However, due to the rise of the far right and other extremist groups, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia is on the rise. I would like to see this tackled from the highest level.
Which human right the most important to you? Why?
The right to believe in what you want. Our community stems from India and Pakistan, in Pakistan our community is not even allowed to call themselves Muslim and can face jail time or even death for practicing Islamic practices.
Hundreds of Ahmadis have been martyred just for practicing their faith. This is why I feel this should be tackled.
Do you have any ideas about what should be done to help heal the divisions in society right now?
In the words of our Caliph, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community:
“Irrespective of differences of race, religion or social background, we are united as human beings and so it is vital that we interact with other people, rather than isolating ourselves or only mingling with members of our own particular community… For the advancement and evolution of society, and to foster an atmosphere of peace and togetherness, respectful discourse and discussion between people and amongst different communities is vital.”