Civic, political and religious leaders across Southern California joined Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA during its 34th Annual West Coast peace conference in Chino on Dec. 21 to discuss ways to resolve conflict with compassion.
The special event brought together thousands of people across the religious spectrum (Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims) and political spectrum (Republican and Democrat leaders) to share dialogue and a meal together.
The gathering (called Jalsa Salana) featured various speeches on social and religious topics for men, women and children.
San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford, whose district includes part of Fontana, was one of the political leaders who addressed the conference.
“Despite different faiths, ethnicities, races, beliefs, and habits, we share a community,” Rutherford said. “I commend you for the tremendous service you have rendered to this community … Thank you for holding up a light for all of us to see and all of us to follow.”
Assemblymember Eloise Reyes, whose district includes Fontana, has attended this conference for several years.
“This is a special day for many reasons. We are here to join hands, to uplift each other, to celebrate unity among all people. I commend your dedicated service,” said Reyes. “Today I want to present this resolution from the State Assembly to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to say to our neighbors, friends and constituents that we stand with you against islamophobia and hatred, and we will work to defend your right to worship.”
Congresswoman Norma Torres, whose district includes part of Fontana, also spoke at the event.
“From feeding the hungry to welcoming refugees, it is clear to see how our values align…The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been steadfast in its support for charity and generosity. You dedicate your free time and resources to helping those in need because you believe in ‘Love for All and Hatred for None,’” said Torres.
Torres noted the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s 100-year anniversary approaching in 2020. “I want to extend my early congratulations to your centennial. I look forward to celebrating with you,” she said.
The event concluded with a keynote address by Islamic scholar Imam Azam Akram, who said: “All of you are here today with the heartfelt wish that the world comes to be filled with love, affection and friendship.”
He quoted the Khalifa (Spiritual Leader of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community), His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who said: “We must endeavor to always consider and respect the feelings of one another; and I would also request all of you to help and assist in our efforts to fulfill this crucial object. We must try to promote peace and reconciliation in society, because the alternative is that burning flames of hatred and conflict will continue to erupt and will come to engulf the entire world. Thus, it is my prayer and desire that all of you should help us to promote love, affection, reconciliation and brotherhood throughout society.”