Interfaith Dialogue – Initiatives to Create Love, Peace and Tolerance
There is no religion in the world- be it Islam, or Christianity, or Hinduism that advocates discrimination and destruction of peace.
The Women’s Auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Georgia chapter) and United Methodist Church of Decatur has launched an interfaith discussion group. Its purpose is to understand each other’s faiths so that they can build bridges of understanding, respect and make lifelong friends. This discussion group is being held under the supervision of Carolyn Chandler of United Methodist Church and Mehmooda Rehman of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
The group meets once a month and this month the topic of the discussion was
“Hatred and negative climate shown towards many people in America.”
Carolyn Chandler mentioned that she has faced minor hatred based on gender but other than that she has never come across a situation where she was discriminated based on religion or color. Mehmooda Rehman said that there is no religion in the world- be it Islam, or Christianity, or Hinduism that advocates discrimination and destruction of peace.
Everyone likes peace and hates disorder.
Amtul Qudoos Bhatti said that if we need to establish peace and harmony, then we will have to respect the sentiment of each other and safeguard the rights of the society. His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Khalifa (Caliph) said that, “The erosion of peace is on the tip of everyone’s tongue…All the causes that disturb peace, be they major or minor, and whether they are manifest or hidden and working underground, are attributable to man’s growing selfishness and his forgetfulness of why he is here in this world. In turn, this selfishness and conceit at various levels lead to usurping the rights of others … The Holy Quran teaches us that to maintain peace, it is essential to establish justice in society.” (The Review of Religions)
In this regard, Bano Malik mentioned the Farewell Sermon (last sermon delivered by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) which reminds us of the importance of equality, justice, rights and responsibilities, and elaborates the Islamic message of dignity, justice and freedom for all. The Holy Prophet said that, “…Allah has made you brethren one to another, so be not divided. An Arab has no preference over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab; nor is a white one to be preferred to a dark one, nor a dark one to a white one…” (Farewell Sermon)
Adding to this, Attiya Ghani said that God wants us to show love, affection, peace and tolerance to his creation as He, Himself is Al Raheem (The Merciful), an attribute of God which has been mentioned in the beginning of every chapter of the Holy Qur’an except one. And to be godly (like Him), He wants us to show love, affection and kindness to His creations. Therefore, a true Muslim can never raise his voice in hatred against his fellow citizens, nor for that matter against the ruling authority of the government of that time.
A senior member of United Methodist Church asked if these are the real teachings of Islam then why name of Islam is linked to violence, hatred and terrorism? Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community replied that unfortunately, a group among the Muslims commits violent deeds in the name of religion but they are not closely connected to our religion Islam. They do not understand the true concept of jihad and other Islamic teachings. Because of their lack of knowledge and understanding, people make Islam, the religion of billions, the primary target for the lack of peace and tolerance. Mehmooda Rehman added that this was also one of the prophecies of the Prophet of Islam that in the latter days a time will come when Islam will be divided into many sects and its teachings will be distorted. At that time Messiah and Mahdi will appear as a reformer of the latter days. And we, the members of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believe that the Messiah has come almost a century ago and his name is Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. M
This discussion group is getting popularity due to its interactive nature. Carolyn Chandler mentioned that in the next meeting we will have addition of four new members from the United Methodist Church.
Some of our fellow Americans may already be working towards establishment of peace in their own domains, so, our coming together is a link of that same chain of human endeavor.
By Attiya Ghani (Patch Poster)