Prominent Muslim leader greeted by thousands at Calgary mosque

The Caliph, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad arrives at the Baitun Nur Mosque arrives in Calgary, Alta., on Tuesday November 8, 2016. Leah Hennel/Postmedia
The Caliph, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad arrives at the Baitun Nur Mosque arrives in Calgary, Alta., on Tuesday November 8, 2016. Leah Hennel/Postmedia

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Thousands of Calgary’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community gathered at Canada’s largest mosque to welcome their religion’s top cleric, representing tens of millions of faithful worldwide.

His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the fifth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim faith, arrived in Calgary Tuesday for the final leg of his six-week visit to Canada, delivering a message of peace and co-operation at the Baitun Nur Mosque in the city’s northeast.

Spokesman Safwan Choudhry said despite leading one of the largest religious flocks on the planet, in some places there remains considerable uncertainty about the religion and its values, and the Caliph’s cross-Canada tour aimed to dispel some of those doubts.

“He holds the highest office in our faith, the equivalent of the Pope,” Choudhry said.

“His message is one of the role Canada needs to play around the world, and what role Muslims need to play as good citizens of this city.”

The Caliph was on hand in 2008 for the opening of Calgary’s Baitun Nur Mosque, dubbed the Big Mosque on the Prairie, and last stopped in Calgary during a short tour in 2013.

Based in London, England, Mirza Masroor Ahmad has held the office since 2003, representing the faith in more than 200 countries.

Choudhry said the tour comes as the Ahmadiyya faith celebrates 50 years in Canada, and included a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of the federal Liberal cabinet last month.

He added that given what seems to be a growing atmosphere of distrust spurred by a polarizing election south of the border, it’s important to ensure the Ahmadiyya faith remains open and maintains a dialogue with Canadians.

“We, as the Canadian community, requested he help address the misconceptions around the faith,” Choudhry said.

“Canada is different and it is unique compared to the U.S. We are truly a country that has embraced multiculturalism.”

Mirza Masroor Ahmad is slated to address Calgary media on Wednesday, the last official function of his Canadian tour.

slogan@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @ShawnLogan403

SOURCE:   http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/prominent-muslim-leader-greeted-by-thousands-at-calgary-mosque?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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