Report by Mashhod Mirza Chicago
Sept. 11, 2016, Glen Ellyn, IL: On the 15th anniversary of the tragic incident of 9/11 when terrorists attacked the twin towers of World Trade Center, New York on September 11th 2001 and when thousands of innocent people had lost their lives while they were going to start their workday as their normal routine and were totally unaware of their fate. No doubt it was an incident which has put a permanent affect the on American social, political and religious culture and hence this day will always be remembered as a black day in the American history.
Pastor Jeremiah Lee of St. Thomas United Methodist Church invited Imam Shamshad of Baitul Jaamay Mosque to attend the anniversary event during the Sunday worship service at 11 am. In return Imam Shamshad not only welcomed the offer warmly but also offered to bring delicious food for the whole church congregation and all attendees from both sides and it made a very informal friendly environment in the church when members from both sides sat in the same hall and participated in prayer in their own individual way.
Pastor Jeremiah started the program with his remarks in honor the victims of 9/11 incident and their families and then briefly told about himself and then he invited Imam Shamshad of Ahmadiyya Mosque to express his feelings and views.
Imam Shamshad deeply praised and admired Pastor Jeremiah’s invitation and idea of getting together at this occasion and to pray for the victims and families together while promoting the love and peace and maintaining the historically deeper ties of friendship between Ahmadiyya Mosque and United Methodist church. Imam shamshad shed some light on the past and long time relationship between the two communities how they have been cooperated with each other and nurtured the friendship through the course of the time and by the grace of God that friendship is still progressing and nurturing day by day.
By expressing Islam’s message of peace and love Imam shamshad condemned any idea of terrorism and killing the innocent people. He said in Islam there is no room at all for these kind of practices by any individual or group or state, instead Islam stood firmly against even shedding a drop of innocent’s blood and teaches to its followers that “ killing one person is equal to the killing of entire humanity”.
At the end of his brief address Imam shamshad presented a book “10 Conditions of Bai’at” to Pastor Jeremiah as a token of friendship. The book is compiled from the Friday sermons delivered by His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the worldwide head and fifth Caliphate of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Pastor Jeremiah than went on leading the Sunday service. At the end Minister Mr. Rick Bryant who happened to be a very warm friend of Ahamdiyya Muslim community since he has been working with the church, he offered very inspiring and heart warming remarks about Ahamdi Muslims and especially about Imam Shamshad, Also on behalf of the church he presented a tower model to Imam Shamshad which has different prayers imprinted on it, in recognition of Imam Shamshad’s services to promote love and peace and harmony among different religious communities of the area.
This beautiful program was concluded with a combined silent prayer lead by Imam Shamshad and then the lunch was served for everyone.
For the kid’s amusements, the church had made special arrangements. They have set a bouncy house outside on the grassy area which became the favorite spot for all kids.
Everybody enjoyed the time while eating delicious lunch provided by Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the sweets provided by the church and having light discussions on the lunch tables.