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USA: Local Muslim group hosts blood drive

After 2010’s failed Times Square bombing attempt, the group launched a major campaign to stress that Ahmadiyya Muslims value loyalty to country, peace and the sanctity of life.

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Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Morning Call
By Scott Kraus | September 9, 2012

Effort honors victims of 9/11 terror attacks

In the wake of 9/11, many Muslim Americans were subjected to suspicion, even harassment from people who associated their Islamic faith with that of the terrorists whose attacks claimed more than 3,000 victims.

In an effort to honor victims of the attacks, and demonstrate that their faith is not one of violence, members of the Lehigh Valley’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Community held a blood drive Sunday outside the Bethlehem Community Center.

The drive was part of the second annual national “Muslims for Life” campaign conducted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of the United States of America aimed at donating at least 11,000 pints of blood to honor 9/11 victims.

If the terrorists were Muslims who took lives, the Ahmadiyya community want to be Muslims who save lives, said Asad Chaudhry, a dentist and spokesman for the group’s Lehigh Valley chapter.

“Blood doesn’t have a religion,” Chaudhry said.

The local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community signed up members of its own 52-person mosque and worked with the Miller Keystone Blood Center to arrange donor appointments, contacting local churches, mosques and the Jewish community to solicit donations, he said.

At about noon, they had collected 16 donations and were hoping to surpass last year’s tally of 25 donors.

“We wanted to do something actively,” Chaudhry said. “It is all about the sanctity of life, that is what Islam is all about.”

Whitehall Township’s Laura MacDonald donated blood to support a coworker who is a member of the Ahmadiyya sect.

“It’s good,” she said. “It’s a very good cause for a very good group of people. You are donating to everybody. You can’t be closed-minded.”

The Ahmadiyya Muslim faith was founded in India in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, whose followers believe him to be the Muslim messiah or mahdi. Ahmadis differ from mainstream Muslims on some key theological points and for that reason are persecuted in some parts of the world.

After 2010’s failed Times Square bombing attempt, the group launched a major campaign to stress that Ahmadiyya Muslims value loyalty to country, peace and the sanctity of life.

The Lehigh Valley Ahmadiyya chapter does not have a mosque of its own and is currently worshiping at one of its members’ homes, Chaudhry said.

Scott.kraus@mcall.com – 610-820-6745

Copyright © 2012, The Morning Call

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