by Ijaz Ahmed
The city of brotherly love is rich in cultural, religious, and ethnic diversity. The incidence on January 7th of a mentally ill individual firing at and injuring one of Philadelphia’s finest was appalling. Such a deplorable act warrants condemnation no matter which religion the suspect belongs to. After this incidence Mayor Jim Kenney demonstrated a model of true leadership by stating that this act had nothing to do with the religion of Islam. Such comments from our leaders are critically important during these challenging times. With over 200,000 Muslims in Philadelphia, it is time for this diverse city to stand united with Muslims in combating the twisted ideologies that influence ill-minded individuals. Some Muslim communities across the city and indeed across the country are continually making great strides to eradicate radicalization.
One such Muslim community has been at the forefront of attacking radicalization for about 100 years. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are Muslims who believe in the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India and have been at the heart of the Philadelphia community ever since 1920 when an Ahmadi-Muslim missionary arrived in the United States and began preaching the peaceful teachings of Islam to the people of Philadelphia.
Since then, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has resided peacefully in the great city of Philadelphia. Our community has worked alongside law enforcement and public officials to clean up streets, help the homeless, and build interfaith relationships. From 2011 to 2014, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Nationwide partnered with other organizations to collect over 33,000 units of blood as part of our Muslims for Life campaign in commemoration of the lives lost on September 11th, 2011. In 2015, the youth of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community alone collected 5,000 units of blood nationally, 10% of which came from Philadelphia’s Muslim youth. On a weekly basis, members of our community cook for and feed the homeless at various shelters across the Greater Philadelphia Area. Last year, our campaign fed over 20,000 hungry individuals. This Christmas, we celebrated with our fellow Christian neighbors by distributing gifts and compliments of peace.
Our message has spread over the past 100 years in America, and thus our smaller mosque is no longer suitable for our growing membership in the Philadelphia. We have begun construction of a large-scale mosque on Broad Street and Glenwood Avenue, and expect its completion by this summer. This is an historic event for Philadelphia as this will be the first mosque built in the city from the ground up. The building of this mosque is a symbol of peace, tranquility, and tolerance in the city of Philadelphia. The true Khalifa of Islam, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, has stated that “every Ahmadi Mosque, no matter where in the world it is built, is an abode of peace, security and shelter for all of humanity.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community regularly congregates for Friday prayer service in mosques throughout the country. Our sermons are transmitted on loudspeaker for we have nothing to hide. Our doors are open to all members of the community and we welcome anyone who has any questions or would simply like to meet a Muslim. We humbly ask for everyone to stand with us in our mission to eliminate radicalization and establish brotherly love not just in Philadelphia but in our nation.