by Qasim Rashid
We read with interest the Trentonian Editorial Board’s article, “U.S.-Approved ‘Muslims’” (May 21). While we appreciate the newspaper’s efforts to highlight some of the repression that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community faces, we must take exception to several of the article’s erroneous and speculative assertions concerning the Community.
For those unfamiliar with the group, Ahmadi Muslims are Muslims who believe in the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), of Qadian. Ahmad claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus of Nazareth and the divine guide, whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes that God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace. This is, and has always been, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s clear objective. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA has no political ambitions and no political alliances. We are a spiritual organization dedicated to the service of humanity and worship of God.
Next, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA rejects the article’s speculative and baseless assertion that it has pursued or is pursuing “CIA or State Department” (or any U.S. government) funds. Throughout the Community’s 124-year existence, it has never once accepted any sort of financial support from any external public or private organization, government, or charity. The Community consists entirely of unpaid volunteers who quietly and peacefully practice their Islamic faith while also demonstrating a deep commitment to civic engagement and public service. Under the guidance of its central spiritual leader, the Khalifa of Islam, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Community has spread to over 200 nations worldwide through service to humanity and inter-faith dialogue. His Holiness recently completed his landmark visit to the West Coast. During his visit, he publicly remarked, “True justice and fairness requires that rather than judging Islam in a prejudiced manner or by making false assumptions based on hearsay, a person should study the religion and try to develop an understanding of its teachings before criticizing it and its Founder.” His Holiness’ guidance is clear and serves to effectively dispel ignorance and bigotry. Were it followed, it would dramatically increase understanding, respect, and civility among different peoples worldwide, including here in America.
Finally, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has spread and found favor in many nations worldwide due to our service to humanity and humanitarianism. We operate dozens of hospitals and hundreds of schools worldwide, offering free health care and education to anyone of any race, color, or creed. Ahmadi Muslims fully fund and operate each of their schools and hospitals, and do so per Prophet Muhammad’s example of peace and service. Altruism, absolute justice, and service are the Community’s driving motivators — not money, political alliances, or worldly power.
Indeed, it should be a source of celebration that our Community has helped bridge the divide between the political right and the left in this country for the common cause of serving humanity and protecting international religious freedom. This outcome demonstrates that our Community’s purpose is to unite people in understanding and in peace — not to promote any form of violence or supremacy. For this reason, all American Muslims should be offended by the article’s attempt to typecast the U.S. government as making judgments as to who is or is not an “approved” Muslim. All American Muslims are equal citizens of the United States — equal to each other and equal to any American of any faith, color, or creed. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes all human beings are equal and there shall be no discrimination or compulsion in matters of faith.
In fact, we invite all readers to attend our national conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from June 28-30, 2013. This annual peace conference attracts over 10,000 American Muslims and over 1000 non-Muslim Americans to unite in peace, service of humanity, and tolerance. Come see for yourself that American Muslims are committed to our nation’s peaceful advancement, promote tolerance, and love humanity. Register at http://www.jalsasalana.us/ or email email@example.com with questions.