Ahmadi Muslims in East Valley seeking peaceful image

eastvalleytribune.com:

Jessie Baade, Ann Wilcox, Laila Johnson and Dereck Johnson with their dogs, Ida and Chip, at their Mesa home on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 [David Jolkovski/Tribune]

Jessie Baade, Ann Wilcox, Laila Johnson and Dereck Johnson with their dogs, Ida and Chip, at their Mesa home on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 [David Jolkovski/Tribune]

Ann Wilcox’s daily routine looks like any other American Muslim woman’s. She covers her head with a hijab, abstains from alcohol and pork, and rises before sunrise to perform the first of her five daily prayers.

But the Mesa resident, and many of her family members, belong to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community — an Islamic group severely persecuted by its parent religion outside of the Western world.

“We cannot claim to be Muslims,” said Latif Ahmed, Gilbert resident and Ahmadi. “We cannot, for example, even call our mosques ‘mosques,’ we cannot call our prayer by Islamic names, we cannot use the creed of Islam.”

Her Messiah

Wilcox’s denomination sprang from Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a late 19th-century prophet known by his followers as the messiah who, according to tradition, reappears every century. He did not call himself a command-issuing or “law-bearing” prophet like Muhammad, Wilcox said, but rather, he was a reformer.

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