Imam, 26, says Not ‘a single word’ in the Quran justifies terror attacks
One of Britain’s youngest Imams says he knew he wanted to dedicate his life to a caliphate as a teenager, while his siblings dreamed of being doctors – and he’s leading five prayers a day at just 26.
Imam Adeel Shah, 26, who lives in East Hampshire and attended a Catholic secondary school in South London growing up, decided to pledge allegiance while in his teens and began studying to be an Ahmadi Muslim Imam at just 17.
Now fully qualified as an Islamic leader, Shah, who came to the UK from Pakistan as a baby, slams terrorists who use the religion to commit atrocities and says his Caliph promotes only ‘love, harmony and brotherhood’.
Shah has four siblings, including two who are now training to be NHS doctors, and says the doors of his mosque are open to anyone, even those who practice different religions.
In 2017, after Shah saw that Westminster Bridge terrorist Khalid Masood, 52, had killed five people and injured 49 in the attack near the Houses of Parliament, he says his first instinct was to go to the scene to protest against Masood’s actions.
After unfurling a banner at the scene of the attack with ‘love for all, hatred for none’ written across it, he wore a t-shirt with the words ‘I am a Muslim, ask me anything’ on it, and some of the questions were harder than others, he admits.
‘A gentleman walked by and looked at the banner…and he looked at me and he said: “Why are you here?” with a tone that suggested “this atrocity has been because of you”. The good thing about him though, was that he was open to dialogue.’
Shah says he explained about the charity work he’d done – he helped raise £1million for ten British charities last year – and the man admitted he’d been living in London for nine or ten years and had never spoken to a Muslim.
‘We ended up hugging’, he adds.
Shah says: ‘He’s been to Capitol Hill, the Houses of Parliament, New Zealand’s parliament – he’s travelled to country after country visiting political leaders explaining how there’s a dire need for world peace to be established in the world.’
The young Imam is perpetually frustrated by the portrayal of British Muslim men in the media, saying he only needs to ‘read a headline’ to know by the ‘tone’ that the story will involve a Muslim.
He tells FEMAIL terrorists who use the name of Islam to cause bloodshed have ‘misunderstood’ the Quran, explaining: ‘I have read the Quran word for word and I have failed to find a single verse or a single narration of the founder of Islam where he’s inciting people to cause bloodshed, to pick up the sword, or to ram you car into people.’
Shah’s own focus remains on charity work – picking up litter on New Year’s Day, planting trees, donating blood – and working with other religions to promote tolerance.
He says: ‘Islam is a peaceful religion. We haven’t got any hidden agenda. We want to promote love, peace and harmony and we are we continuously looking to find how we can do that.’