Sect seeks tolerance, peace in roots of Islam

Lancaster.com: It’s a long road from India’s peace-preaching 1800s villager, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, to 9/11.

Reformist Ahmadiyya Muslim followers, gathering in Harrisburg this weekend for the fourth year in a row, say they want to get back to the tolerant roots of their religion.

“The word Islam means peace,” said Dr. Mubashir Mumtaz, a Harrisburg heart surgeon publicizing the annual Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA meeting. “Islam does not teach the destruction of community or society.”

The conference has been held for 65 years.

This year’s edition, which started Friday and ends Sunday at the Farm Show Complex & Expo Center, 2300 N. Cameron St., will feature ethnic food, prayer and talks about “Finding God in Youth,” “Avoiding the Drug Culture” and “Muhammad, Messenger of Peace,” among other topics.

The event is expected to draw about 10,000 Ahmadiyya Muslims from North America and abroad, and about 1,000 non-Muslims.

A visitor period is scheduled from 3:30-6:30 p.m. today, but Mumtaz said the public may come in any time.

Guests are asked to register by calling 800-949-4752 or emailing convention@muslimsforpeace.org.

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