Desktop version

Home arrow Education

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Asylum and the Ahmadi diaspora

This chapter is primarily concerned with examining the history of Ahmadi asylum seekers who have sought refugee status in the UK. It focuses in particular on the social and political circumstances that have fueled the Ahmadi flight from Pakistan, and on the ways in which those working for, and officials representing, the British government and government institutions, politicians, and the Ahmadi jama 'at, have dealt with the rise in numbers of those seeking asylum and how this has developed over time. To set this discussion in a broader historical and social context, the first part of the chapter offers a brief survey of migration patterns that were common to Ahmadis and other South Asians before the rise in the numbers of Ahmadi asylum seekers which began in the mid 1980s.

There are many reasons why people migrate from one country to another, and over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries the reasons for international migration to the UK by members of the Ahmadi community have changed in some general but also very stark ways. Some of the changes in migration patterns can be understood as responses to changing British government immigration regulations and asylum practices and of the Africanization policies in East Africa from the late 1960s. For more recent decades they are also a consequence, at least in part, of what has happened in Pakistan and can be understood as responses to the political and social situation of Ahmadis there. First, I briefly outline the history of short-term migrants who came to Britain to work or study for a few years in the early to middle decades of the twentieth century. These were the pioneer sojourners who paved the way for the later post-war permanent settlers, the migrants who established perduring family lives in the country. I then consider in more detail the asylum claims of South Asian Ahmadi asylum seekers who have arrived in the UK since 1984 and the British Ahmadi institutional rationales for gathering objective data on the plight of Ahmadis in the subcontinent. The examination of these forms of migration and how the Ahmadi jama ‘at has responded to them offers valuable insights into the complex nature of the Ahmadi diaspora and the transnational networks that have resulted from the complicated migration history of the South Asian Ahmadis1 who find themselves in the UK today. The chapter concludes with a discussion of recent Ahmadi engagements with British politicians in All Party Parliamentary Group meetings and in British parliamentary debates.

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics