Thursday, May 4, 2017

Muslims in America: Ahmadiyya Women Changing the Conversation


The group took turns introducing themselves and a sense of comradery quickly arose. Visitors asked questions like, “What does the Quran say about violence?” and “Do Muslim women have equal rights?”

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: KCTS 9/What's Good 206
By Jen Germans | May 3, 2017

Maleeha Choudhry’s idea of America comes from the Woody Guthrie song that she grew up listening to, which proclaims, “This land was made for you and me.”

But the rise in hate crimes and anti-Islamic rhetoric in recent months has altered  her view.

“Seeing this kind of America, that just doesn’t seem right to me at all,” the 22-year-old says.

So she decided to do something about it. Choudhry joined a group of her Muslim peers who are working to change the conversation.

Choudhry is a member of Seattle’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community, a sect of Islam. Every Wednesday evening members arrive at a local coffee shop and wait for strangers to show up and talk with them.

Coffee, Cake and True Islam is part of a national effort by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to educate non-Muslims about Islam. Their goal? To build bridges and connect with their communities.

“To just walk up to a Muslim...that’s not something that’s easy for [many] Americans to do,” says Choudhry. “So having this platform is really amazing because [it helps us] see that we have common ground.”

At a recent meeting, a group of about 15 people gathered at a coffee shop in Seattle’s University District, hoping to learn more about the local Muslim community. Choudhry helped lead the discussion.

The group took turns introducing themselves and a sense of comradery quickly arose. Visitors asked questions like, “What does the Quran say about violence?” and “Do Muslim women have equal rights?”

Someone else wanted to know how the Ahmadiyya sect differed from the 72 other sects of Islam.

One participant drew a comparison between the variations in beliefs among denominations of Christianity and those of different Islamic sects. In her experience, wide ranges of interpretations and beliefs exist in all religions.

Choudhry says she thought the evening was a success.

“I saw young Americans coming together and opening up. We don’t see that that often. We always just see the negative. So to see a positive light was really nice,” says Choudhry. “We need to do that more.”

Participant Tamara Power-Drutis agrees, saying, “I really believe that human interaction forces us to see common ground… there’s just nothing like sitting down and talking to each other.”

In 2016, the United States experienced the largest rise in anti-Muslim hate groups in since 2010, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. FBI data reveals that in 2015, anti-Muslim assaults in the United States reached the highest levels since 9/11.

“The number one way to combat Islamophobia is to talk to Muslims, have open dialogue,” says Coffee, Cake and Islam participant Halla Ahmad. “A lot of people have a very different idea of what [they think] Islam teaches.”

According to a 2009 study by the Pew Research Center, conversations like these work:

“... people who know a Muslim are less likely to see Islam as encouraging of violence; similarly, those who are most familiar with Islam and Muslims are most likely to express favorable views of Muslims and to see similarities between Islam and their own religion.”

Choudhry says it’s data like this that motivates her and her friends to take part in events like Coffee, Cake and Islam.

“If we want to change people’s perspectives… and let them know, ‘Hey, we’re just like you,’ then we have to actually go out there and do that.”




Read original post here: Muslim in America: Changing the Conversation


This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Times of Ahmad. Times of Ahmad is not an organ of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, nor in any way associated with any of the community's official websites.

2 comments:

  1. What these girls are doing is very commendable. American youth just speaks what their media is showing about Islam,ie negative Islam.
    But in reality True Islam is the most peaceful and lovable religion.
    And these girls are really struggling to give that message to Americans..
    Good luck girls....

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is a good initiative took by Choudhry.It's very important that you tell others about the religion that is misunderstood.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments. Any comments irrelevant to the post's subject matter, containing abuses, and/or vulgar language will not be approved.

Top read stories during last 7 days

Disclaimer!

THE TIMES OF AHMAD is not an organ of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, nor in any way associated with any of the community's official websites. Times of Ahmad is an independently run and privately managed news / contents archival website; and does not claim to speak for or represent the official views of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The Times of Ahmad assumes full responsibility for the contents of its web pages. The views expressed by the authors and sources of the news archives do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Times of Ahmad. All rights associated with any contents archived / stored on this website remain the property of the original owners.