Muslim Leader Heads to St. Louis To Talk Peace, Rebuke Terrorism

naseemmadhi.jpg
Naseem Mahdi
Religions have different traditions, rituals and beliefs, and sometimes they clash. But, says an imam who is heading to St. Louis for an interfaith symposium on peace this weekend, their similarities are striking -- and ultimately promote peace between faiths.

Naseem Mahdi is the national vice president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a denomination of Islam formed in 1889 which has been active in the U.S. since 1920. The Ahmadiyya tradition, he says, has been holding discussions between people of different faiths -- and people of no faith -- for a century.

"Our goal is to bring all the different faiths onto the same platform," Mahdi says. "We are so lucky to be in the USA where we enjoy freedom of religion. In many countries it is impossible for a Muslim to sit with a Jew. Radical Muslims will say, 'Go bomb this meeting.'"

The Ahmadiyya tradition has been mounting a campaign this year aimed at spreading the message that Americans have nothing to fear from their Muslim neighbors, blanketing buses and billboards with messages of peace and loyalty to the country.

Mahdi says that terrorists claiming Islam are perverting the faith. He also says other faiths have had similar problems in the past.

"The religion of Islam does not promote terrorism. This is a politicized Islam where people have political motives," he says. "They are greedy and power-hungry and they want to control the illiterate masses."

He points to European Christians in the Middle Ages as another example of misused faith: "When the Bible was not translated, people were very religious and the cleric had control. Perhaps Muslims in many countries have medieval thinking and don't realize they have gone astray."

Madhi says that besides the misconception of Muslims as terrorists, the biggest question he gets from non-Muslim Americans is about the patriotism of Muslims in this country.

"I quote from the Quran: We are required to be loyal to the country we live in. It's not our political statement, it's our religious responsibility."

The symposium, "How My Faith Promotes Peace, Love and Harmony in Our Diverse Society Today,"  is is free and open to the public and includes dinner. It will feature clergy from half a dozen faiths, including Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Mahdi stresses that it's a discussion, not a debate, so don't expect fireworks.

It's Saturday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Bait ul Hafeez Masjid, 4529 Emerson Avenue.
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7 comments
Peace among men
Peace among men

It's a shame Muslims have to go out and convince people that Islam is a religion of peace and violence is intolerable. It's like a Christian telling people that Christianity is a religion that teaches forgiveness and love. The ahmadiyya community are doing a good job teaching the public the truth about Islam, working against the media is a difficult job. The public needs to realise any religion could get this tainted image due to finatics and at the present time Islam is being given a bad label. I'm sure the ahmaddiyya community will help give out the truth of any other religion that gets victimised like this as all religions are god sent and deserve the utmost respect from the public.

Ronald
Ronald

Great to see Naseem Mahdi Sahib making it to StL.

Ahmadi Muslims (www.alislam.org) have been thriving in the United States for almost 100 years, living and serving as peaceful and loyal citizens and true model Muslims. Outreach to people of other faiths is an important part of Islam and I am glad to see the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community engaging in it.

Tahir Butt
Tahir Butt

The word Islam literally means ' Peace'. This little word reflects the core of all the teachings of Islam. The true understanding of Islamic teachings would lead its followers to peace in every sphere of human interest.

There is a lot of false propaganda against Islam that Islam does not accommodate other religions and teaches hatred or intolerance and unfortunately some of the so called followers virtually has helped such propagation. But every sane man can understand that a religion should not be blamed for a wrong act of an individual or a group who apparently belong to that religion.

Islam stands firm for par, equality and justice for all and gives all the same right to a non Muslim what a Muslim enjoys in an Islamic state. He is free to practice and preach his religion.Ahmadiyyat is the only True Islam to know more plz visit http://www.alislam.org/

Alm757
Alm757

It is true that every religions have different traditions but no religion teaches terrorism. I support the statement of Mr.Mahdi VP of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community which believes in Messiah of the age Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani that "The religion of Islam does not promote terrorism. This is a politicized Islam where people have political motives," he says. "They are greedy and power-hungry and they want to control the illiterate masses." Interfaith dialogue will help to remove the misconception and promote love and harmony between communities. I support the effort of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in this respect

Dallas Muslim
Dallas Muslim

Well said. All religions promote harmony, peace and love. True teachings of Islam are no different. In today's world, we all need to be more tolerant of each other and break stereotypes. Love for All, Hatred for None.

SLatif
SLatif

As Mr. Madhi said we want to promote love, peace and,Harmony in society. We should learn to be kind to everyone as Quran teach us. improve our level of tolerance for each other. Islam re-en forces the concept of humanity and respect for individual liberty.

SLatif
SLatif

Islam is religion of peace. . In Quran Allah "Say, `We believe in ALLAH and that which has been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and in that which was given to Moses and Jesus and other Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and to HIM we submit." (Qur’ân 3-85) and in chapter 2 verse 257 Allah says "There should be no compulsion in religion". As muslim we should respect all prophets and their teaching. Islam is teaching to abide your Authorities. Not mentioned that only Muslim Authorities. We should be a loyal citizen of United State Of America. We should be thankful to United State of America, who gave us the freedom of belief. in Quran Allah says in chapter 4 verse 64 "O Ye who believe! obey Allah and obey his messenger and those who are Authority among you. Ahmadiyya muslim Community that is founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed in 1889 is believing in true teaching of IslamThat is Love and peace. Our Motto is " Love for All Hatred for None. To get real picture of Islam, please visit www.alislam.org

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