USA: 29th annual West Coast Jalsa Salana at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino

Members of the Ahmadiyya branch of the faith say teaching the true beliefs of Islam counters the message of terror groups.

Source: pe.com

To Hamza Hashmi, gatherings like a Muslim convention this weekend in Chino are antidotes to ISIS.

ISIS preys on vulnerable young people in its recruiting efforts on the Internet and elsewhere, the 24-year-old Riverside man said during a break Saturday at the West Coast convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA.

People make their way into the Baitul Hameed Mosque during the 29th annual West Coast Jalsa Salana Convention in Chino on Dec. 27, 2014.

People make their way into the Baitul Hameed Mosque during the 29th annual West Coast Jalsa Salana Convention in Chino on Dec. 27, 2014.

“They’re looking for people who are isolated, people who are outside a community, people who are loners,” Hashmi said. “We create a place where youth can join and serve humanity and worship God.”

Speakers at the three-day annual convention, held for the past several years at the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, said they were disgusted that ISIS calls itself the “Islamic State,” when its beliefs and actions are the opposite of those of the Prophet Mohammed.

U.S. Representative Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, speaks during the 29th annual West Coast Jalsa Salana Convention at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino on Dec. 27, 2014.

U.S. Representative Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, speaks during the 29th annual West Coast Jalsa Salana Convention at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino on Dec. 27, 2014.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, spoke at the convention Saturday of the many Muslims who have been victims of ISIS violence, and how groups such as ISIS “have subverted Islam.”

“ISIS is a threat to every religious minority,” Royce said.

“It is a threat to every religious majority, because for those who do not agree with the tenets of ISIS, as ISIS defines them, the threat is death.”

U.S. Representative Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, speaks to hundreds about ISIS during the 29th annual West Coast Jalsa Salana Convention at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino on Dec. 27, 2014.

U.S. Representative Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, speaks to hundreds about ISIS during the 29th annual West Coast Jalsa Salana Convention at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino on Dec. 27, 2014.

Royce said that “cooperation and engagement with Muslim community leaders is essential in exposing the true nature of ISIS.”

Ahmadi Muslims, as followers of Ahmadiyya Islam are called, have been victims of terrorist attacks in several countries because of beliefs that many Muslims consider heretical, including that its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, is the messiah. Ahmadi Muslims have been murdered and beaten and their mosques and homes have been destroyed. Pakistan bars them from publicly calling themselves Muslims.

Royce spoke during a special session of the convention Saturday that included addresses from several other area elected officials, including Corona City Councilman Dick Haley, who said the battle against ISIS “is not just one group against another group. It’s one group against the world, and we’re the world.”

Imam Azhar Haneef speaks to hundreds on peace during the 29th annual West Coast Jalsa Salana Convention at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino on Dec. 27, 2014.

Imam Azhar Haneef speaks to hundreds on peace during the 29th annual West Coast Jalsa Salana Convention at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino on Dec. 27, 2014.

But most of the convention was comprised of readings from the Quran, discussions of the teachings of Mohammed and acting on the principles of Islam in daily life.

The theme of this year’s convention was reaching out to Muslim youth, and teaching young Muslims the true beliefs of their faith counters the distorted version promoted by ISIS, said convention spokesman Harris Zafar.

Harris Zafar

Harris Zafar

“We want to explain to Muslim youth that this is how you live the life of a Muslim, not by following what ISIS is telling you, but by following what Mohammed has said and done,” he said.

The Ahmadiyya slogan of “Love for all, Hatred for None,” was on banners, bookmarks and other materials at the convention, which concludes Sunday.

Bilal Rajpoot, 33, a member of the Baitul Hameed Mosque from Corona, lamented how ISIS has been able to convince some young people that Islam teaches the opposite.

“They’re manipulating young people to do the wrong thing when they think they’re doing the right thing for themselves and their families,” he said.

Contact the writer: 951-368-9462 or dolson@pe.com

Categories: The Muslim Times

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