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Canada: For Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Peace is the goal


Ahmadiyya followers have a different interpretation of “jihad,” which is at the core of Islam. “Jihad” means struggle, which many interpret to mean a literal struggle, but Ahmadiyya followers interpret at a personal struggle for self-improvement.

Imtiaz Ahmed, Ahmadiyya missionary for Eastern Ontario, and
Azizullah of Cornwall’s Ahmadiyya community stand in the prayer hall of
the community centre on Balmoral Avenue. (Cornwall Standard Freeholder)

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Cornwall Standard Freeholder
By Kathryn Burnham | November 8, 2012

The Ahmadiyya Muslim community centre on Balmoral Avenue blends into the neighbourhood, so it is easy to mistakenly drive by — even if you are looking for it.

But it is where a steady and faithful group of devoted Muslims visit to pray, gather and to celebrate.

A group of just 20 families, the Ahmadiyya community in Cornwall is smaller than most congregations, but they have had an active presence in recent months as they host information sessions and door knocking campaigns.

In early October, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association from Montreal, Ottawa and Kingston visited Cornwall to knock on doors and discuss Muhammad with Cornwall residents.

This is part of the group’s efforts to dispel myths that link Islam to terrorism and, more recently, inappropriate stories of Muhammad and embassy stormings.

“We’re here to dispel that myth. Muslims are not what you see in the news,” insists Imtiaz Ahmed, the missionary for the Eastern Ontario branch. “We believe in a peaceful protest.”

Ahmed is relatively new on the job, with just eight months under his belt. But with seven years of religious study, he is well-versed in the history and teachings of the Ahmadiyya sect.

It is the peacefulness that marks them as distinctive from — and often at odds with — other Muslim groups.

Ahmed explained that Ahmadiyya followers have a different interpretation of “jihad,” which is at the core of Islam. “Jihad” means struggle, he said, which many interpret to mean a literal struggle, but Ahmadiyya followers interpret at a personal struggle for self-improvement.

The division of Muslim groups is more visible in Pakistan, where many Ahmadiyya followers are outcast for their beliefs and punished for calling themselves Muslims, said Ahmed.

‘Beauty of Canada’

“This is the beauty of Canada. You live with people of different backgrounds, different cultures, yet we live in peace,” said Ahmed.

The fundamental differences between the two beliefs extends from Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who lived at the end of the 19th century, and is believed to be the reformer, according to Ahmadiyya followers.

The believers in the reformist movement are now trying to return Islam to its peaceful routes.

“We have to work on different levels,” said Ahmed. “We’re small in numbers, but everyone’s active.”

Read original post here: Peace is the goal

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