May peace be upon all my readers. This past weekend was very hot and sunny in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, yet a large number of Muslims gathered for the annual convention. It is the oldest annual convention of its kind in the United States and it is still going very strong. I also was in attendance at the convention, as a member of the community and a guest of the promised messiah. People of all race, color and nationality had gathered. People that wore shalwar kameez, suits and ties, Boubou or even turbans and baseball caps came together and prayed to one god in congregation. Speakers at the farm-show complex in the capital city of Pennsylvania amplified the great teachings of Islam and Ahmadiyyat, shared stories of some of the greatest people who ever laid foot on this earth. People chanted the name of this great country and how it has bestowed such great blessings on its citizens. Kids screaming, Love for all Hatred for none, the slogan of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Southeast Asian food served to all in attendance along with pasta to thousands of guests free of cost. A blood drive was set up in the main lobby area of the hall for all to donate blood if they were capable in a nationwide campaign titled Muslims for Life. As a guest it was a place to rejuvenate my spirituality and a place where I could gain knowledge. Guests from different religions were awestruck and politicians that had come to the convention could only dream of a world like the one in the complex. The three-day event attracted people from 24 various countries around the globe. Scholars of this great religion purified my soul and gave me a feeling that an individual would have to feel for himself, a feeling that would be hard for me to describe to anyone that was not in attendance but mutual among all attendees.
The picture seemed as though it was painted perfectly, but it was not. In actuality the paint had merely brushed the surface of the paper and millions of Americans outside that Pennsylvania farm-show complex and millions more people around the world fear Muslims and have yet to see the true face of Islam and understand its peaceful teachings. As a guest, like thousands, I was caught up in the prestige of the convention and its divine roots along with the message that was being conveyed. I forgot about the reality surrounding that blessed convention. I come to realize the truth, that many Americans fear Islam and some even believe that all Muslims are terrorists, extremists and some people go so far to say that all Muslims hate America and all its freedoms. Some of the more intelligent and intellectual Americans blame the acts of Muslims to the idea of jihad yet those people could not be more wrong. As a Muslim I am ashamed to hear these rants, but I have come to understand each and every one of them. As an American I am loyal to my country and am willing to die for the benefit of it. Loyalty to one's county is a part of every Muslim's faith. I tell Americans to read the Holy Quran and tell me where it says to kill Americans. Rather in the Holy Quran god says, "One who kills one person, it is as if he has killed all of mankind" (verse 5:32). As I have learned in school about the English saying, "You cannot judge a book by its cover", similarly you cannot categorize or judge the religion of Islam and its more than a billion followers by the handful hell-bound radical extremist Muslims and the titles and headlines they make on today's top media. It is a hadith or saying of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) that the followers of Islam will be the worst people under the sky. So it is clear and yet reasonable to find how much of the western world perceives Islam. The followers of Islam have dug themselves into a very deep ditch in the eyes of most of humanity but Muslims that separate themselves by being a part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are holding shovels and filling that ditch. Ahmadis are those Muslims who have accepted the Promised Messiah (as) of Qadian the second advent of Jesus Christ (as).
The 67th convention of the United States came to an end this past Sunday on a good note that the community is growing and the movement, Muslims for peace, is getting stronger across America and the world. I hope people of America and around the world understand that these conventions that this community holds are not any ordinary conventions. The conventions try to shine light on the true teachings of Islam and bring people of all colors and races together. The 49th Convention of the United Kingdom will be officially starting this weekend with the same goals, features and ideology. The convention in the UK is the biggest of its kind and his Holiness Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Imam and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, will be in attendance. The convention will last this weekend and will spray the true teachings of the Islam to all of those in attendance in greater London. I hope as citizens of this world and particularly this great country we can progress to our ultimate goals, one of which is Peace for all.
Member of the Muslim Writers Guild of America