Largest Mosque in Canada opens

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Largest mosque in Canada opens in Calgary to political fanfare

Congratulations to the Ahmadiyya Muslims of Calgary for building the Mosque, a community center. I hope it will thrive and become a center for learning and peace making.

I am surprised at Stevenson’s comment that “But unlike mainstream Muslims, the Ahmadiyya believe that Muhammad was not the final prophet.” I have read and heard differently than this or perhaps I am mistaken that the group believes in Prophet Muhammad as the last prophet and that HH Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the promised Messiah.

We have always included Ahmadiyya into the fold of Muslims, however, the statement made by Imam Suharwardy that the Ahmadiyya are to Muslims, what Mormons are to Christians makes an interesting comparison.

I strongly urge the Ahmadiyya community to refrain from saying this particular phrase “… we do not believe in violent jihad ..” These are not the peace making words, the sentence alludes that other Muslims believe in violent Jihad. I have dealt with the same issue on local level at least on two occasions. One does become good on his or her own merit and not others perceived demerits.

I urge the few fanatics among us to leave the Ahmadiyya alone, let them practice their version of the faith as it works for them. After all, on the Day of Judgment, each one of us is accountable for our own deeds and not our kids, parents or community’s deeds. We are individually responsible for our actions and words, and we are certainly not responsible for what others say or do.

Mike Ghouse

Largest mosque in Canada opens in Calgary to political fanfare
Canadian Press
July 5, 2008 at 3:26 PM EDT

CALGARY — Calgary’s Ahmadiyya community, an offshoot movement of Islam persecuted in some countries, was to officially open what is believed to be Canada’s newest and largest mosque Saturday.

The country’s top political leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Opposition Leader Stéphane Dion, were expected to attend the ceremony.

The mosque complex covers more than 4,300 square metres and includes a community centre, classrooms, office space, children’s area, kitchen, dining room and a multi-purpose hall.

The main outward features are its massive steel dome together with a steel-capped minaret tower.

When construction plans for the mosque started 14 years ago, there were no plans to make it Canada’s largest, said Safeer Kahn, a spokesman for Calgary’s Ahmadiyya community.

“We did not have intention on make it the biggest one. But when we started looking at our needs, we decided to make it for the future, not for the past,” he said.
About $8-million was raised by local Calgarians. Ahmadiyya from all over Canada also chipped in.

“People sold their houses and children broke their piggy banks and actually this was a great example of sacrificing,” Mr. Kahn said, adding the mosque complex will be open to everyone, whether they belong to Ahmadiyya or not.

“We welcome everyone here, and this mosque will be a symbol of peace. I assure you, Calgarians will be proud of having this building in their city.”

Members of the Ahmadiyya faith, which began in India and is now estimated to have about 70 million followers worldwide, call themselves Muslims and follow Islam’s main tenets.

But unlike mainstream Muslims, the Ahmadiyya believe that Muhammad was not the final prophet. Instead, they maintain that he was followed by another prophet in the 19th century called Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who came in the spirit of Christ.

Just last month, thousands of Indonesian Muslims took to the streets of Jakarta calling for the government to ban Ahmadiyya.

The faith is considered non-Muslim in Pakistan’s constitution and some consider it heretical.

Mr. Kahn said the discrimination in other parts of the world is precisely why the Ahmadiyya are thriving in Canada, where religious freedom is tolerated. “Anybody can have their own opinion and it does not affect us. We have our own goals and we do not believe in violent jihad and we believe that we are always open to discuss this issue.

“Religion is a personal matter and a person has the right to declare his religion so that’s the right that Islam gave us.”

Calgarian Imam Sayed Soharwardy, founder of Muslims Against Violence and the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, said he respects the Ahmadiyya’s right to religious freedom, but does not consider them to be Muslim.

“A lot of Muslims do not concede that they are Muslims,” he said recently. “They pray like us, they fast, they do everything except this one particular belief.

“They are our Mormons. I call them our Mormons because the Mormons had Joseph Smith and they had Mr. Ahmad. Some people express hate about them, but in my book there is no word ‘hate.’ ”

http://www.theglobe servlet/story/ RTGAM.20080705. wmosque0705/ BNStory/Front/ home

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