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Muslim organization opens its doorsAhmadiyya Muslim Jama'at opens a chapter in Yellowknife
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, September 29, 2011
With a new chapter of the organization being inaugurated this past Monday, Yellowknifers will have the potential to join the world wide membership exceeding tens of millions of people.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at (AMJ) is an Islamic organization that began with the man they recognize as the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Ahmad lived in Qadian, India from 1835 to 1908 and championed the teachings of Islam.
The AMJ has one central spiritual leader, currently Mirza Masroor Ahmad who resides in the United Kingdom.
Local members of AMJ were able to coincide with the fifth annual World Religions Conference which took place on Sept. 25 with the inauguration of the most northerly chapter of AMJ in Canada by Canadian national president Lal Khan Malik
"I am very excited, very happy. In Yellowknife, we used to just have one family four or five years ago when I first visited and he left. We wanted to have members here and now have quite an impressive presence here. We look forward to our presence in Yellowknife," said Malik.
Malik said AMJ helps to bring peace and harmony to Canadian society and offers its resources for spreading this message.
"The greatest danger to peace is the fear of the unknown. When we don't know about our neighbour, we are thinking, and that gives rise to various fears," said Malik.
The interfaith dialogues, such as what takes place at the religions conference, are something the AMJ organization works to develop.
"There is one God and one humanity and the various messages that have come from God are the same.
When people have a faith dialogue, they will discover that major practices are the same," said Malik.
Malik said the organization is hoping to open another chapter in the Yukon, but right now, this is the only chapter of AMJ in the three territories. Malik expects that it may take some time to build a place of worship, a mosque, with the goal of it being completed in five to 10 years.
Muzaffer Ahmed is a member of AMJ and recently moved to Yellowknife from Calgary. Ahmed said right now, there are 14 members of AMJ in Yellowknife, a huge increase from last year when there were none.
Ahmed said one very major part of the community is helping humankind regardless of religion and AMJ reaches out to different causes either internationally or right at home.
"Within our organization, there is a charity organization called Humanity First. It helps with big disasters and its major donations come from our own membership and sometimes we conduct fundraisers as well. That is in a big scenario. In a small scenario, wherever we have one chapter, we work within our capacity to help mankind," said Ahmed.
Ahmed said there is more similarities than differences between AMJ and other Muslim sects.
"I have a lot of friends from the local Muslim community and I always interact with them, but like all the religions, we have some differences but the main core is the same," said Ahmed.
Bilal (Bill) Ahmad is another AMJ member who moved to Yellowknife from Calgary in the last six months.
"In the last three to six months, three families and myself moved up here. This is AMJ's first entry into Northern Canada and is a very big step for us," said Ahmad.
Ahmad believes AMJ's strong stance against the violent acts by leftist Islamic religious organizations has played a big part in their growing membership.
"You cannot go out and kill innocent people in the name of God. You have to be respectful of other faiths and you have to bring the message of peace. That is the underlying base of this community and that is where the success is coming from," said Ahmad.