By David Frey Special to The News-Post
Courtesy photo: From left, Shahina Bashir, Fauzia Rehan and Nabeela Malik volunteer at the soup kitchen in Frederick as part of their spiritual work.
The women were more nervous than usual last Friday as they arrived to serve food at the Frederick soup kitchen in their traditional headscarves and long garments. The month before, as they stood on the downtown sidewalk across from the homeless shelter, a woman rushed up, spat on one of them, and raced off.
That sort of thing hadn’t happened to them here before. Frederick had always seemed welcoming. But they felt an anti-Islamic mood growing in the country throughout election season, and now that Election Day was over, they worried what lay ahead.
It was Friday night. Veterans Day. News reports had been filled with stories of hate incidents across the country in the three days since Donald Trump won the presidency. Schools were spray-painted with swastikas. Muslim women had been choked with their headscarves.
These women just wanted to feed the homeless. Their religion called them to serve.
The seven women, six from Frederick, one from Germantown, were part of the women’s auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Potomac chapter, which worships at a large, white mosque in Silver Spring that serves as the group’s national headquarters. For about five years, the women’s group has been coming to Frederick almost monthly to volunteer at the soup kitchen, taking turns with other places of worship throughout the area.
The Ahmadiyya follow the teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the 19th-century founder whom they consider the prophesied messiah and reformer of Islam. They stress a message of peace and service that they call “true Islam,” but many Muslims consider them heretics, and they have faced persecution and attacks around the world, particularly in Pakistan, where the movement began and still claims the most members.
Nothing like that had ever happened here, but times were… read more at source.