Thursday, August 10, 2017

USA: Round Rock’s Ahmadiyya mosque members attend national convention


Speeches at the convention re-emphasized the Islamic teaching that treating everyone with love just like one would have for their close relatives is the essence of justice and kindness.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Statesman
By Nicole Barrios | August 8, 2017

In a time of political divisiveness and racial tension, more than 8,000 Muslims, non-Muslims and civic leaders — including several from Round Rock — came together to spread a message of community and peace.

About 20 members of Round Rock’s Ahmadiyya mosque gathered with fellow Muslims from around North America as well as interfaith community members and politicians at the 69th Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention). Ahmadiyya is a sect of Islam that believes the second coming of the messiah has happened.

The convention, held July 14-16 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, aimed to unite leaders and American Muslims in fighting against extremist ideologies and radicalization for a safer nation and world.

It was also a time for Muslim participants to reignite their faith, said Muhammad Ahmad, an outreach coordinator of the Round Rock-based Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Austin.
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This year’s theme was “Justice, Kindness, and Kinship.” Many speeches were inspirational and focused on topics of empathy, forbearance in the face of opposition and prayer and the early teachings of Islam, he said.

“We’re one community, one nation, we’re neighbors,” he said of all people.

Ahmad said the Prophet Muhammad, who preached the message of Islam in the 7th century, responded to persecution through peacefulness and forgiveness. The prophet called everyone to come together as one nation regardless of religion or race — a message Ahmad said was reiterated at this year’s convention.

“Just like any other group of people who are marginalized, it’s easy to huddle amongst yourselves, but you should invite others in,” Ahmad said. “(We invite everyone) to come to the mosque. You are also encouraged to invite (those of other faiths) inside your house. People might have perceptions about how we live that get dispelled, and in turn that establishes peace among society.”

Touba Khurshid, interfaith coordinator for the Round Rock-based Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association, said speeches at the convention re-emphasized the Islamic teaching that treating everyone with love just like one would have for their close relatives is the essence of justice and kindness.

At this year’s convention, Khurshid said she spent time with a Christian pastor from Austin, and the two now have a new connection and friendship.

Leaders such as Congresswoman Norma Torres (D-California), Eric Treene, special counsel for religious discrimination from the U.S. Department of Justice, and Erin Singshinsuk, executive director of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, also attended the event.

At the convention, Khurshid said, the women’s association was recognized for its “media watch” initiative in which members write to various local and national news outlets responding to events linked to Islam, talking about the teachings and condemning terrorist attacks.

“We really defend Islam through the pen, through writing,” she said.

Since returning from the convention, Khurshid said she is refreshed in her work as interfaith coordinator to continue connecting with community members and inviting them to the mosque.

“Our mosque doors are always open,” she said. “(Connecting with the community) is the way forward; that’s what I really believe.”


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