‘Coffee, Cake, and True Islam’: How Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Is Fighting Islamophobia

Source: https://rewire.news/article/2017/08/04/coffee-cake-true-islam-muslim-community-fighting-islamophobia/ | Katie MacBride


Qasim Rashid holds his phone out to me over the table at the Starbucks where we are having coffee. Someone has tweeted, “I will give anyone who kills the basterd [sic] Qasim Rashid one thousand dollar.” “First of all, I’m a little offended it’s only a thousand dollars,” Rashid says with a laugh. “I’d like to think my life is worth a little more than that.”

The soft-spoken man sitting across the table from me doesn’t seem like someone who would inspire regular death threats—even on the notoriously troll-happy Twitter. The project for which Rashid draws so much ire is called True Islam, an educational campaign dedicated to highlighting the “true” values espoused in Islam. “There is so much misinformation about Islam,” Rashid says, and in December 2015, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to which he belongs decided to do something about it.

Religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity were among the fundamental tenets of the religion Rashid had always known.

“There are extremist groups and some Muslim clerics who are really the epicenter of misinformation about Islam,” says Salaam Bhatti, another member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community involved withthe True Islam campaign. “It’s not that they don’t truly understand Islam, it’s just they have selfish, geopolitical, and financial incentives to spread misinformation.”

Rashid says, “[Extremist groups] literally fabricate things [about Islam] that don’t exist.”

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