PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you happened to be in North Philadelphia Friday afternoon, you may have noticed a heavy security presence. That’s because a religious leader, equivalent to the Pope, came to the city to dedicate a new mosque.
The mosque belongs to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, a community with strong ties to Philadelphia. The dream of this mosque, located at 1215 West Glenwood Avenue, began many years ago.
“We want this mosque to be a place where people can come together. Whether you’re Muslim or not, this is a public space,” Qasim Rashid, an Ahmadiyya Muslim told Eyewitness News.
This mosque is part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. It also happens to be the city’s largest mosque, and inside you’ll find messages of peace and understanding.
The worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, his holiness Khaliah Mirza Masroor Ahmad, was on hand for the dedication. He’s the equivalent of the Pope to the Ahmadiyya community. He oversees 20 million Ahmadiyya Muslims around the world and traveled from London for the dedication.
“We are united as human beings and so it is vital that we interact with other people rather than isolating ourselves,” Ahmad told the crowd.
Mayor Jim Kenney and other city dignitaries welcomed the Khalifa to town with open arms. If anyone from the public is interested in taking a look inside, there is an open invitation.
“For anyone who sees this mosque, who drives by and wonders about stopping by, don’t wonder. Come knock on our door, have a cup of coffee, a cup of tea on us,” Rashid said.