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Ahmadiyya Muslim celebration
September 13th, 2010
12:32 PM ET

Trying to define Islam as a religion of peace

Editor's note: CNN's Tricia Escobedo spoke to the leaders of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Atlanta, Georgia, at their Friday prayer service and celebration marking the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Ahmadi Muslims across the United States began taking to the streets earlier this year to spread their message that Islam is a religion of peace.

They've been showcasing their message in pamphlets, advertisements on city buses, and in face-to-face conversations with fellow Americans.

Hazeem Pudhiapura is asking his Atlanta, Georgia, congregation to personally hand out pamphlets with that message in a nationwide effort to reach two percent of all Americans this year. 

He admits that the campaign probably won't receive as much attention as, say, the planned Quran burning on 9/11.  But he said that anti-Islam sentiment is why their message needs to be heard now, more than ever.

"The main goal is to remove the stereotypes," said Pudhiapura, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Atlanta.   "Islam got introduced to this country in a very bad way on 9/11. And it's unfortunate.

"[But] we cannot be a closet Muslim. We cannot afford to do that. If we don't do it today, my kids ... their identity will be lost.

"It may take a long time, but it will be the right way to do it."

Ahmadi Muslims are in a unique position to speak against Islamist extremism. Their sect has been persecuted for years, particularly in Pakistan, where the movement was founded in the late 19th century.  In May, militants with ties to the Taliban targeted their mosques in Lahore, Pakistan, killing more than 80 Ahmadi Muslims.

In addition, Pakistan's government does not recognize the sect as legitimate.  The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has cited Pakistan as imposing "the most severe legal restrictions and officially sanctioned discrimination" on the Ahmadi Muslims.  

Pudhiapura said those restrictions include forcing Ahmadis to either lie about their religion or declare that they worship a "false prophet" when applying for a Pakistani passport.

The sect also faces persecution in Indonesia, where they can be criminally charged for their religious beliefs. 

Ahmadi Muslims believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who lived between 1835 and 1908, was sent by God as the Messiah that other Muslims are still waiting for.  Most mainstream Muslims - Sunni and Shia - say Ahmadis are not Muslim because they do not regard the Prophet Mohammed as the last prophet sent by God.

“Pudhiapura praised freedom of religion in the United States during his sermon marking Eid al-Fitr, the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

"This is an awesome country," Pudhiapura said, noting that a large part of the Ahmadi faith is the belief in the separation of church and state.

However, Ahmadis are often not welcomed by fellow Muslims.

"It's not as bad as in other countries, but it's not very good," Pudhiapura said.   "We have a couple of plans to have interfaith forums with other Muslim imams, but normally we get left out."

The Ahmadis' worship center outside Atlanta has also received threats, he said.

Nevertheless, the group is still pushing forward with taking its message of peace to the farthest reaches of rural Georgia.

"We are the foremost community who is championing the cause of Muslims for peace," Pudhiapura said.   "And that is to make the American citizens understand the true message of Islam is peace.  To put a face on the people who are loyal citizens who are true American Muslims."

- CNN.com Senior Producer

Filed under: Islam • Persecution • Ramadan

soundoff (310 Responses)
  1. Carl

    My question to the Dutch MP...who made the short film is this....How Many Nazi Buildings of The New German Order...do you allow in Holland ..??????

    September 15, 2010 at 3:21 am |
  2. Sayed

    @ Savas... well why dont you start with building a mosque in Vatican city? I have heard this argument before as well to build a church in Mecca/Medina. Well why dont you let muslims build a mosque in Vatican city? Build a mosque next to pope palace and then speak about building a church in Mecca/Medina.
    As far as YOU are letting us build mosques on YOUR land, you dummie its not you land, it is my land as well. If you were born here then so were a millions of muslims. What makes you think you are special by birth and muslims are not? So shut your racist rant since you are not better or worse American then a muslim who is born here.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  3. Nasir

    Ahmadiyya Muslims are peace loving, and truely practicing Islam in its pristine form. If there is any one organization or people who are spreading the true teachings of Islam are only Ahmadi Muslims though smaller in number but have gradualy and surely achieved success what the rest of the Muslims are not able to achieve in 1400 years. http://www.alislam.org is the official website full of logical and rational explanations and practices of Islam. Cyber-Newsnetwork.com has extensively provided coverage on Ahmadis and Cyber-newsnetwork.com is tracking each and every move they make.

    September 14, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  4. Rickytan

    I really appreciate, admire and respect ahmadiyya Islam and their message of peace. However, unfortunately the mainstream/orthodox islam do not recognize it as true islam and ahmadi muslims are labeled infidels and persecuted most of the times by muslims. In Pakistan, they are categorized as non-muslims by law...

    September 14, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  5. Just_Wondering

    Peaceful Muslims need to realize that they too will be conquered and dominated by their radical members. They need to shun them hard, or excommunicate them, or whatever it is that they do to misbelievers... and it seems that they are just resentful if the outside world intervenes. Allah (or any other god) is sure not doing anything.

    September 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  6. darth

    YOU ALL PATHETIC UNEMPLOYMENT PEOPLE, GET A JOB LAZY ASS WHITE BOY

    WHAT DO YOU CARE ABOUT THIS RELIGION MORON, GET A LIFE

    September 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
    • honestanon

      We care that you have a history of shoving things down people's throats. People here are ....juuuust NOW beginning to figure your kind out.

      September 14, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
  7. darth

    USA is nothing without muslims country they have oil,gold and other goods. we can live without america but america cant live witout us.

    September 14, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
    • Disgusted

      darth:

      Hah! Where do you think your wealth comes from? You don't need America? The day is coming when America will finally wean itself from your oil (gold? pffft!), and you will be sent back to the desert to weave prayer rugs for a living.

      I would almost rather go back to horse and buggy transportation than to see you prosper.

      September 14, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  8. Just_Wondering

    I just don't get it. Hordes and hordes of Muslims have been emigrating to Europe– why? - is it to escape from their peace-laden Islamic countries? The emigrants claim to want to live and worship in peace... and then they go and mess up the local residents' daily lives and demand Sharia law. What is going on?

    September 14, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • honestanon

      Territory and Control. Plain and simple. They're in "Conquering" mode, like they've been in centuries past.

      September 14, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  9. Anu

    Biraq Hussein.. dont tout Islam as more peacefule than Buddhism. No one is going to buy it. and As I see it Muhammad was a social and political reformer , not a prophet who brought some civilization to a completely uncivilized one. There were many more advanced one that were destroyed because of backward thinking of his followers.

    September 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  10. dongfanghong

    You know what's better than religion of peace? Peace without religion. I bet it lasts a lot longer.

    September 14, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • mecca me crazy

      @dongfanghong

      I, too, would bet that it lasts a lot longer. It's pretty much a sure bet, too, since we've never been without war...or religion.

      shehsheh

      September 15, 2010 at 4:22 am |
  11. Nonimus

    Is it just me or are the replies just appearing randomly.

    September 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Kate

      @Nonimus

      The threading breaks if a post that's been replied to is taken out of display, usually as a result of moderation. The replies to that post will get displayed at the bottom because there is no parent comment for them to be threaded under.

      Which is why you'll get new posts show up half way down the page, they don't have a "parent" comment set to thread under, whilst replies to the original comment, (and replies to those too) will show at the bottom because they have a "parent" set that doesn't exist any more.

      It's one of the downsides to using a mass-hosting blog system, very basic features 😛

      Just geekin'

      September 15, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  12. Nonimus

    That was @Kate, sorry.

    September 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  13. dustyrhodes

    Canadian Islamic leader disputes the "good intention" of Imam Rauf and claims Cordoba House is indeed a "victory mosque".

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73UvB7XG0dM&fs=1&hl=en_US]

    September 14, 2010 at 10:58 am |
    • Carl

      I personally know this man,,,and am shocked..He is a Jewish Radical from New York....he c

      September 15, 2010 at 3:36 am |
  14. Ahmed

    CNN: Alla Islam alla time. HHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No seriously, does a day go by that CNN "doesn't" post at least one pro-Islam article? Some of us are keeping score and so far, you just haven't missed a day. Good for you.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:44 am |
    • dustyrhodes

      No, it's not just you. CNN has taken it upon themselves to beat us over the head with daily doses of the wonders of Islam. Which, when you think about it, is pretty much how it's done in Islamic countries.

      September 14, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  15. frogman

    Gambian President: Islam not a religion of violence, but if you burn Qur'ans or draw Muhammad, we'll kill you
    He said it. "Gambian president: Islam is the best religion," from the Ahlul Bayt News Agency, September 14 (thanks to Twostellas):

    September 14, 2010 at 10:17 am |
    • Nonimus

      Was he the one that said he could cure AIDS?

      September 14, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  16. David Johnson

    Is it just me, or is that one little kid in the corner, poking the eyes on the Christian doll?

    September 14, 2010 at 10:11 am |
    • ConceptofGodinChristianity

      Telling you the truth.

      September 14, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  17. Markie

    It is easier for a camel to go thru the eye of a needle than to prove Islam is a religion of peace. Now other religion seems to have to make that effort.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  18. NewVision

    Again please DO NOT MISQUOTE PLEASE...Here is the Answers of all of your Questions:
    youtube.com/watch?v=c4M3idTSl4U

    September 14, 2010 at 9:51 am |
    • ConceptofGodinChristianity

      Mr.NEWVISION: Things have gone to this level now, You are saying "MISQUOTE" for actual facts from the AL-QURAN and BIBLE. I humbly request you read both the books ASAP

      September 14, 2010 at 9:57 am |
    • ConceptofGodinChristianity

      To mecca me crazy"- PBUH = Peace Be Upon Him. when ever we mention any name of the Prophets, we have to have to send blessing upon them as show of respect to them.
      Hope you understand with an open mind.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:19 am |
  19. ConceptofGodinChristianity

    PROPHET MUHAMMAD (pbuh) IN THE BIBLE

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the Old Testament:

    The Qur’an mentions in Surah Al-Araf chapter 7 verse 157:

    "Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures) in the law and the Gospel".

    1. MUHAMMAD (PBUH) PROPHESISED IN THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY:

    Almighty God speaks to Moses in Book of Deuteronomy chapter 18 verse 18:

    "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and I will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him."

    The Christians say that this prophecy refers to Jesus (pbuh) because Jesus (pbuh) was like Moses (pbuh). Moses (pbuh) was a Jew, as well as Jesus (pbuh) was a Jew. Moses (pbuh) was a Prophet and Jesus (pbuh) was also a Prophet.

    If these two are the only criteria for this prophecy to be fulfilled, then all the Prophets of the Bible who came after
    Moses (pbuh) such as Solomon, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Malachi, John the Baptist, etc. (pbut) will
    fulfill this prophecy since all were Jews as well as prophets.

    However, it is Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who is like Moses (pbuh):

    i) Both had a father and a mother, while Jesus (pbuh) was born miraculously without any male intervention.

    [Mathew 1:18 and Luke 1:35 and also Al-Qur'an 3:42-47]

    ii) Both were married and had children. Jesus (pbuh) according to the Bible did not marry nor had children.

    iii) Both died natural deaths. Jesus (pbuh) has been raised up alive. (4:157-158)

    Muhammad (pbuh) is from among the brethren of Moses (pbuh). Arabs are brethren of Jews. Abraham (pbuh) had two sons: Ishmail and Isaac (pbut). The Arabs are the descendants of Ishmail (pbuh) and the Jews are the descendants of Isaac (pbuh).

    Words in the mouth:

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was unlettered and whatever revelations he received from Almighty God he repeated them verbatim.

    "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him."

    [Deuteronomy 18:18]

    iv) Both besides being Prophets were also kings i.e. they could inflict capital punishment. Jesus (pbuh) said, "My kingdom is not of this world." (John 18:36).

    v) Both were accepted as Prophets by their people in their lifetime but Jesus (pbuh) was rejected by his
    people. John chapter 1 verse 11 states, "He came unto his own, but his own received him not."

    iv) Both brought new laws and new regulations for their people. Jesus (pbuh) according to the Bible did not bring any new laws. (Mathew 5:17-18).

    2. It is Mentioned in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 18:19

    "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not harken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."

    3. Muhammad (pbuh) is prophesised in the book of Isaiah:

    It is mentioned in the book of Isaiah chapter 29 verse 12:

    "And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned."

    When Archangel Gabrail commanded Muhammad (pbuh) by saying Iqra – "Read", he replied, "I am not learned".

    4. prophet Muhammad (pbuh) mentioned by name in the old testament:

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is mentioned by name in the Song of Solomon chapter 5 verse 16:

    "Hikko Mamittakim we kullo Muhammadim Zehdoodeh wa Zehraee Bayna Jerusalem."

    "His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters
    of Jerusalem."

    In the Hebrew language im is added for respect. Similarely im is added after the name of Prophet Muhammad
    (pbuh) to make it Muhammadim. In English translation they have even translated the name of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as "altogether lovely", but in the Old Testament in Hebrew, the name of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is yet present.

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the New Testament:

    Al-Qur'an Chapter 61 Verse 6:

    "And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said, 'O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me and giving glad tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmed.' But when he came to them with clear signs, they said, 'This is evident sorcery!' "

    All the prophecies mentioned in the Old Testament regarding Muhammad (pbuh) besides applying to the Jews also hold good for the Christians.

    1. John chapter 14 verse 16:
    "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever."

    2. Gospel of John chapter 15 verse 26:

    "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which
    proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me."

    3. Gospel of John chapter 16 verse 7:

    "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not
    come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you".

    "Ahmed" or "Muhammad" meaning "the one who praises" or "the praised one" is almost the translation of the
    Greek word Periclytos. In the Gospel of John 14:16, 15:26, and 16:7. The word 'Comforter' is used in the English translation for the Greek word Paracletos which means advocate or a kind friend rather than a comforter.
    Paracletos is the warped reading for Periclytos. Jesus (pbuh) actually prophesised Ahmed by name. Even the
    Greek word Paraclete refers to the Prophet (pbuh) who is a mercy for all creatures.

    Some Christians say that the Comforter mentioned in these prophecies refers to the Holy Sprit. They fail to realise
    that the prophecy clearly says that only if Jesus (pbuh) departs will the Comforter come. The Bible states that the
    Holy Spirit was already present on earth before and during the time of Jesus (pbuh), in the womb of Elizabeth, and again when Jesus (pbuh) was being baptised, etc. Hence this prophecy refers to none other than Prophet
    Muhammad (pbuh).

    4. Gospel of John chapter 16 verse 12-14:

    "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is
    come, he will guide you unto all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me".

    The Sprit of Truth, spoken about in this prophecy referes to none other than Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

    NOTE: All quotations of the Bible are taken from the King James Version.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:34 am |
    • mecca me crazy

      When I make that "pbuh" noise, people give me weird looks.

      You have no idea how retarded "pbuh" looks in your post.

      September 14, 2010 at 10:19 am |
    • mecca me crazy

      @Conceptoftardness

      I already knew what "pbuh" was supposed to stand for. duh.
      (phub-pbush-phcd-fbub-pbuh-durr-hbuh-wbup-dduh-duhurrh-hurr)

      It remains a retarded thing.
      like you.
      dduh

      September 15, 2010 at 4:16 am |
  20. stevie68a

    I once read a quote that said "the quickest way to become an atheist, is to read the bible". Something tells me that this also goes for the koran.
    What was written by shepherds hundreds of years ago cannot be a guiding force in these dangerous times. Grow up.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:13 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.