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Why So Many Jazz Musicians Converted to a Heretical Form of Islam

Nonetheless, the Jazz Messengers might have found themselves less than welcome in some areas of the Muslim world where the most Ahmadis live, precisely because of Blakey’s identification as an Ahmadi, even though Blakey himself appears to have stopped practicing Islam in the late 1950s.

Ahmadi Muslims revere Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) as the promised Muslim messiah and mahdi, a belief that orthodox Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims consider to be a heretical transgression against the Qur’anic principle that Muhammad is the “seal of the prophets” (Qur’an 33:40). They also mostly reject violent jihad.

For these heresies, they’re harassed and violently persecuted. Pakistan’s Express Tribune reported late in March that “local clerics attacked a house belonging to an Ahmadi family in the Kasur district of Punjab on Tuesday and subjected the family members to violence allegedly over their religious belief. ... A mob led by a local cleric chanted slogans against Ahmadi families, their religious beliefs and their community before breaking into Mansoor’s house in the Shamsabad area.”