Ahmadiyya Muslim leader Naseem Mahdi dies, leaves behind legacy of religious freedom and tolerance

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Source: CBC

A leader of Canada’s Ahmadi Muslims has died, leaving behind the community he helped grow.

Naseem Mahdi, former national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat of Canada, and a recipient of the Order of Ontario, died on Tuesday at the age of 69. His funeral at the Baitul Islam Mosque in Vaughan, Ont., was attended by thousands.

“He was the face, the leader, and the father of the community,” said Lal Khan Malik, the Jamaat’s national president.

Before coming to Canada, Mahdi lived in Switzerland and served its small Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

Soon after he arrived in this country in 1985, he began welcoming many Ahmadi Muslim newcomers seeking a safe haven after fleeing Pakistan, where they are a persecuted minority.

“He welcomed them, guided them, and the community grew under his care,” Malik said.

As an imam, an educator and a missionary, his achievements include establishing Peace Village  — a housing community in Vaughan for Ahmadi Muslims centred around a mosque, Jamaat spokesperson Safwan Choudhry told CBC News.

“Imam Naseem Mahdi brought to life a community and a vision,” he said.

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