In November 2018, Masroor Mosque in Prince William County was officially inaugurated by the worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad.
An inauguration reception and dinner was held for His Holiness and guests. Many dignitaries, including federal, state and county elected officials, law enforcement officials, educators, religious leaders and friends of the community, attended. At the inauguration reception, His Holiness delivered a keynote address. He began by thanking all the guests for their participation in the Mosque Inauguration.
His Holiness’s Speech
He spoke about the true teachings of Islam, which have no place for violence. His Holiness said:
“The despicable acts of certain groups or individuals who use Islam’s name to justify violence and extremism have nothing to do with the true teachings of Islam. Islam’s teachings are of peace, love, reconciliation and brotherhood. In fact, the literal meaning of the Arabic word ‘Islam’ is ‘peace’. When the very name and foundation of a religion is peace, it is impossible for that religion to promote or permit anything that undermines the peace and well-being of society.”
The goal of religion is to bring people closer to each other rather than promoting differences. His Holiness said, “Islam’s teachings unite mankind and foster a spirit of mutual love and respect between all people, irrespective of racial, religious or social backgrounds. It is a religion that breaks down barriers and encourages peaceful and tolerant dialogue.”
His Holiness explained that the true purpose of a mosque is to become a welcoming source of love and peace for all and to inculcate this spirit in those who attend the mosque. “Certainly, I hope and expect that in your interactions with Ahmadi Muslims in the past you will only have felt a spirit of love and respect from them towards you. Now this mosque has been officially opened, this spirit will only increase and our message of peace and humanity will reverberate ever louder and echo in all directions. The local Ahmadi Muslims will intensify their efforts to fulfill the rights of the neighbors of this mosque.”
Talking about the responsibilities of our generation towards peace, he said: “From the depths of my heart, I pray that after we have departed this world, our children and future generations remember us with love and affection. May they affirm that their elders spared no effort to foster a spirit of love, peace and brotherhood amongst mankind and to leave behind a peaceful and enlightened world. Surely, the alternative does not bear thinking about – that our children remember us with nothing but contempt and consider us to have been belligerent warmongers, who destroyed their futures and left behind only a trail of war and destruction.
Highlighting the need of mutual respect and understanding, His Holiness said: “Thus, in order to protect our future generations, it is essential we set aside our differences and focus on fulfilling each other’s rights and serving humanity. It is our responsibility, and indeed our obligation, to ensure we leave behind a peaceful and prosperous world for those that follow us. To achieve this great objective we must be ready to expend all our energies on striving for peace. A fundamental principle of Islam is to hold all religions and their founders in great esteem. As I said at the beginning, we believe in all of the prophets, and so it is not possible for a true Muslim to ever speak against them or their teachings.”
Comments from Guests
The speech by His Holiness was very well received by the guests and many of them shared their impressions. Hala Ayala, Virginia State Delegate from the 51st District, said, “Being the daughter of an immigrant and being internationally diverse myself, I think his words are of comfort—especially in a time when we need hope. We need unity. We need people to come together for the greater good of this country.”
Corey Stewart, Chairman of Prince William County’s Board of Supervisors, attended the event. He said, “I found His Holiness’s sentiments today very deeply touching—very, very wise and something that we need to hear more of in America and around the world; and the importance of peace, of course, and “love for all, hatred toward none”, and on tolerance. We need tolerance in this country, and tolerance all over the world.”
Director of Communications for the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy Roberta Auster said, “I was inspired by His Holiness’s comments. I could feel his love and his wisdom, and his generosity and his spirit. I felt very moved to see someone of his holy status advising all of us to live a life of focusing on justice and love and respecting religions and respecting our differences. I was thrilled to be here.”
Executive Vice President of Congregation Ner Shalom Adam Manne was also among the guests. He said, “His Holiness’s message really touched me. We all worship the same God. We might go about it in different ways and in different settings. But his message of what Islam is and what Islam isn’t really struck home.”