British Government Reaction

In a letter from Sir Hugh Clifford (Governor-General of Nigeria) to the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Edward Cavendish, in July 1923, the following two paragraphs are worthy of note. The subject is the request for "recognition" by Abdur Raheem Nayyar, the Ahmadiyya missionary.

The Lieutenant-Governor of the Southern Provinces (non-Muslim majority) writes:

"... If by "recognition" Mr. Nayyar wishes some assurance that his Sect will, as far as it is possible for Government to do so, be protected from religious persecution, and the educational efforts which he has started will receive the encouragement and support of the Government, if continued on its present lines, I can see no possible objection to affording him such recognition."

4. The following are the observations of the Acting Lieutenant-Governor of the Northern Provinces:

"I do not quite know what Mr. Nayyar understands by Government recognition. Government in the Northern Provinces offers facilities to all sects and creeds to practice their faith, and even to proselytize freely, except where such work would be universally resented by a community as an attack on their existing religion. The very fact that Government grants this freedom of conscience in the widest possible way prevents any recognition being given to a particular creed, such as would stamp it as having the special favour of Government.

“When Mr. Nayyar visited the Northern provinces he was given facilities to visit and discuss his mission with the Emir and Native Authorities of Kano. He informed me personally and has also stated in the Nigerian Press that he was pleased with the facilities given to him. The Emir and Mallams of Kano were charmed, as I think everyone would be, by his personal distinction and courtesy but I do not think they would be prepared to allow the public preaching of his doctrines to their people. No objection however would be raised to his doing so in the sabon gari of Kano Township, and his application for two plots of land for School, and Mission purposes has been recommended."