Muslim group bridges gap between faiths

Source: The Star Phoenix

Rizwan Rabbani, National director of Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth of Canada, and Imran Babar, youth president in Saskatoon, were set up in the Cliff Wright Library with an information day promoting peace, condemning terrorism and bringing awareness about a peaceful Islam.

A group of Ahmadiyya Muslims had an open house in Saskatoon Saturday to try to dispel myths about Islam. “There is a lot of misconception out there, especially with the jihad,” said organizer Rizwan Rabbani.

He said that, though there are different forms of jihad, they apply more to self-struggle and selfdefence. “Nowhere does it say, ‘Oh, if people don’t believe in you, go kill them.’ Nowhere,” said Rabbani. “We believe in peace, harmony and religious freedom. We can live together in this world being brothers of different faiths.”

Rabbani and his group have been touring the country holding these open houses since April as a peaceful reaction to the March 20 burning of the Qu’ran by Florida Pastor Terry Jones, which led to a violent uproar in the Middle East, including an attack on a United Nations compound in Afghanistan that killed 12.

The Ahmadi church leader called on its members to reach out and educate people about the Qu’ran instead of reacting violently.

Ahmadiyya is an Islamic sect that originated in India in the late 18th century. Followers believe Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who passed away in 1908, represented the second coming of a messiah awaited by Muslims. His descendants now sit at the head of the sect.

Rabbani and his team of volunteers were giving away copies of the Qu’ran Saturday and answering any questions people had about their particular brand of Islam. Curious Saskatonians steadily trickled through the open house, located at the Lakeview Civic Centre, during the course of the day.

A team of more than 2,000 volunteers has been holding open houses and door knocking across the country during the past year. They have talked to more than a million Canadians so far.

For 26-year-old missionary Maqsood Mansoor, an Ahmadi newly living in Saskatoon, it’s all about building bridges between faiths.

“We believe there is no monopoly over salvation,” he said.


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