‘Islam’s real message is peace’, says visiting Imam

royalgazette.com: by Sara Westhead

Exploring social peace is the focus of a faith-based seminar being held today by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Bermuda, in conjunction with the Anglican Church and CURB at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.

The event will feature presentations by the Rev Anthony Pettit, vicar at St Paul’s Anglican Church and Dr Kim Dismont-Robinson, Folklife Officer for the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, as well as youth representatives, and will be facilitated by Cordell Riley of CURB.

The key speaker for the event, however, is Imam Azhar Haneef, vice president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United States, who is making his second visit to the island.

Islam, on a global level, has received a great deal of attention in the last few years, both positive and negative, but particularly in the last year in view of the Arab Spring and the persecution of religious minorities in some Islamic countries. In spite of efforts for more positive press, current media portrayals continue to lead many to view Muslims, particularly those of Middle Eastern descent, questionably.

That said, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community globally has continued to press forward to bring greater understanding and awareness of their traditions beliefs and teachings according to the Qur’an.

“First and foremost, we hope to offer concepts from the Holy Qur’an,” Imam Haneef explained of what he hopes to share at the Social Peace symposium. “It is an underlying message that is almost global – they are practical teachings.”

He understands, though, that because of current events around the world, some may have a difficult time seeing that Islam could offer peaceful answers, especially when they view the violence and oppression seen in some Islamic countries.

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