Centreville Letter: Countering Terrorism With Interfaith Prayer

Centreville Letter: Countering Terrorism With Interfaith Prayer

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:


We often see Muslims in the media creating terrorism, but the Muslims of the Ahmadiyya Community are fighting against it. On Thursday, March 31, an Interfaith Prayer service was held to mourn the loss of those who perished in the attacks at Brussels and in Lahore, Pakistan. The event was open to all who wanted to come together in peace and just share a common ground with each other.

Ibrahim Chaudhry began with reciting a few words from the Holy Quran from the fifth chapter. The verses chosen resonated perfectly with the tone of the evening, and related appropriately to the situation. It reads as follows:

“On account of this, We prescribed for the children of Israel that whosoever killed a person — unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land — it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind. And Our Messengers came to them with clear Signs, yet even after that, many of them commit excesses in the land.” (Chapter 5, verse 33)

Tariq Amjed, the president of the Virginia chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, welcomed the attendees stating the reason for this gathering. He mentioned that the supreme head of the community has pointed out many times of the world’s descent towards destruction and urged everyone to continue praying for everyone suffering, particularly Ahmadi Muslims who suffer intense persecution from Muslim countries for their faith. Amjed also mentioned that members of the mosque had been observing a fast for the victims of the terror attacks and will be breaking their fasts shortly after the event.

Their keynote speaker, Imam Rizwan Khan, took to the podium next to speak on the unfortunate acts of terror. He said, “groups that are terroristic in their ideologies are spreading a message that divides people, and ISIS is a group that claims to be gathered under a caliphate which is a true representation of Islam, God forbid.” However the supreme head of the Ahmadiyya community had addressed in his Peace Symposium a short while ago, of spreading a message of peace throughout the world. Khan commented on the current situation where Islamophobia arises, stating that whenever an act of terror occurs “there’s a new wave of ignorance, a new wave of fear,” which causes division among us. The reason this happens according to Khan, is due to the purpose of terrorism is to incite terror in society, to make us all scared and live in fear of each other. This is one of the reasons why it is the Ahmadi Muslim’s responsibility to respond to acts of terror with “inclusiveness” by removing that fear. Khan advises that one thing we could do is “to reach out to our neighbors, to reach out to those people who perhaps are becoming afraid of us, perhaps who have heard rumors about us and are becoming adverse and apprehensive to our presence in their communities, and remind them that we are fellow Americans. We are fellow citizens, and that all of us are a collective part of the United States of America.”

Rizwan Khan ended with silent prayer after which those who were fasting broke their fasts and joined everyone in the refreshments.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continues to strive for peace, and are currently involved in campaign called True Islam. More information can be found about the community at www.trueislam.com

Seher Chowdhry