‘Muslims for Life’

On September 1, 2011, I launched the “Muslims for Life” campaign at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. I … Continued

On September 1, 2011, I launched the “Muslims for Life” campaign at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. I did this on behalf of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the first and oldest Muslim organization in the U.S.. The same day, some two dozen members of the local DC area chapters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community were at metro stations distributing flyers emphasizing Islam’s teaching concerning the sanctity of life.

This campaign is about the very essence of Islam and the mission of the Holy Founder of Islam, Muhammad – peace and blessings of God be upon him. In a verse of the Holy Quran the believers are told to hearken, to respond, to the Prophet when he calls them so that he may give them life – the Holy Quran, Chapter 8, verse 25.

Now contrast this to the views of those extremists who claim to be doing the exact opposite in the name of Islam, it’s Holy Book and Holy Messenger. I have always reflected on the great tragedy that the vast majority of Americans got their first and only introduction to Islam, Muhammad and the Holy Quran on September 11, 2001.

So when in 2010, Faisal Shahzad tried to detonate a bomb in NYC’s Time Square, we thought enough was enough and something must be done in defense of True Islam. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been emphasizing the true teachings of Islam ever since it’s inception 122 years ago. We felt we had to do more and in more effective ways if we were ever to succeed in painting a true picture of Islam and let the Americans know what Islam is really about.

Our mission, since May 2010, has been to remove the flag of Islam from the hands of terrorists who have so tragically maligned the name of our religion, and ensure every Muslim, particularly the youth, living in America knows what Islam truly teaches about war and peace, making them impervious to the false, hatemongering propaganda meted out by extremists exploiting Islam for their own nefarious schemes.

Over the last 18 months we implemented two very successful nationwide campaigns to further these objectives: Muslims for Peace and Muslims for Loyalty. During the Muslims for Peace campaign we talked about some basic teachings of Islam and its purpose to establish and promote peace as well as teach humanity how to live in harmony.

Next, the Muslims for Loyalty campaign went a step further and stressed the practical guidance Islam provides. We told everyone, including our own Muslim youth that under all circumstances, as Muslims, we have to live in a law abiding, peaceful loyal manner wherever we reside if we are true Muslims. We wrote to newspapers, held press interviews and delivered speeches nationwide, saying that this is not a politically motivated statement for purposes of expediency but rather an essential teaching of Islam.

We have had great success with both these campaigns and the message has reached millions of people. We were able to communicate effectively to not only the population at large but also impressionable Muslim youth that Islam stands for peace and teaches that a Muslim, no matter where he/she hails from, has the religious responsibility, the religious duty to be a loyal, grateful, law-abiding resident of the place he/she calls home.

In spite of these efforts, we felt we ought to practically do something in goodwill and service to our community. On 9/11/2001 some 3,000 innocent lives were taken by terrorists acting in the name of Islam. Ten years later, this September, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community will remember this tragedy by organizing nationwide blood donations and with the expectation of collecting 10,000 units of blood, thus helping to save as many as 30,000 lives. We decided that the best way for us to get the life-giving true message of Islam across to our fellow Americans and simultaneously honor the victims of 9/11 would be by doing something both symbolic and significant. This is how the “Muslims for Life” campaign was born.

Islam promotes the sanctity of life and this is not a new message but part of the foundation of Islamic teachings. How beautifully the Holy Quran re-emphasizes the biblical teaching regarding the sanctity of life: We prescribed for the children of Israel that whosoever killed a person unjustly it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind – the Holy Quran, Chapter 5, verse 33.

In his Farewell Pilgrimage address, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Even as this month, land and day of Pilgrimage are holy, so has God made the blood, property and honor of every human being sacred.”

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community taught: “Be kind and merciful to all humanity, for all are His creatures; do not oppress them with your tongue, hands, or in any other ways. Always work for the good of humanity.”

The central part of the Muslims for Life campaign is community involvement and working together across faith and ethnic backgrounds. Every American can join in the effort, and we have asked everyone to join us and we have been humbled by the overwhelming show of support we have received everywhere. At this year’s Presidential White House Iftar, which I had the honor to attend; President Barack Obama congratulated our efforts, and has consistently made the distinction between terrorist ideology and the peaceful message of the Islamic faith – may God bless him.

Countless fellow citizens took our hand and promised to help us. And now what we thought would be a small effort has blossomed into a nationwide, 230 strong, blood drive initiative throughout the month of September. And we are confident that we will be able to collect at least 10,000 units of blood if not more. Already we are hearing a growing chorus of voices demanding that “Muslims for Life” be made a permanent annual event.

Visit our official page, www.MuslimsForLife.org and look at the 230 blood donation sites. You will see that there are churches, synagogues, gurdawaras and mosques as well as law enforcement agencies, congressmen and senators – people from all walks of life and the whole spectrum of religions joining hands in a show of solidarity and unity for this initiative. The message is clear. This is a united nation standing together against terror and for the sanctity of life.

May God bless us all.

Naseem Mahdi is national vice president and missionary-in-charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. He is directing the nationwide “Muslims for Life” campaign that will host blood drives in September at all mosques and prayer centers of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and at other locations in collaboration with many community organizations. The goal is to collect at least 10,000 units of blood and convey the message that Islam values the sanctity of life. Visit MuslimsforLife.org to find a blood drive near you or to start your own.

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  • GaryRumain

    How about quoting sura 8:12 instead? Or sura 9:5 or 9:29?

  • bigeee1

    Naseem,

    While your actions are nice and civil they are not nearly enough. Muslims nationwide need to be much more active in the actual daily fight against their radical brothers. How about organizing a group which will actually go undercover and assist the FBI in finding and prosecuting would be terrorists? In the weeks after the 9/11 attacks, 60 Minutes inteviewed a group of young Muslim (but USA college educated) students regarding what they thought of the attacks. Every one of them said the US deserved it. .One even said it was good to see the US “brought to it’s knees”. All across the Muslim middle east, people danced and celebrated with many villages slaughtering their finest livestock to emphasize the enormity of the triumph. So while your actions might make you feel better, in the minds of most US citizens, most muslims need to go far and above these efforts to regain any sembleance of trust and respect.

  • jkhan2

    very nice article, sum up of efforts of Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Muslims for life campagin is bringing people of all faith or no faith together as American with a common goal to fight against terrorism with unity and brotherhood. visit http://www.alislam.org for true teachings of Islam and ahmadiyyat.

  • WmarkW

    There is no way to reform Islam as long as the entire Quran is believed to be a single work from a single source. The impression one gets from the Mecca and Medina verses is so totally divergent that anyone applying an ounce of skeptical thought, immediately concludes that they were written by different authors and contain different messages.

    Until tools like literary critcism and archaelogy start being applied to the Quran, it’s just going to continue as an anachronistic national fable.

  • Secular1

    WmW, there is indeed a lot of contradictory messages in meccan (or pre-yatrib) & yathrib 9or post meccan) verses. Verses dealing with the same subject are apparently improved versions of the older ones. That statement is such a illogical statement, when the two statements are contradictory of each other. How can latter verse be an improvement of the former verse when it absolutely contradictory of the former? this is beyond my rational brain, and fortunately for me mother nature has endowed me with only a rational brain. I wish one of our apologist bloggers can enlighten us. Of course the latter one would be infinitely better, iff the former was completely bogus then.

    I often hear or read that the verses need to be interpreted in the context of the history. Yet at the same time it is claimed that koran was uncreated – it always existed under the allah’s a$$, according to one tradition. That notwithstanding, my question to teh apologists is, how is it that your sky-daddy, granted it be read in the context, uses such sweeping generalizations, when only a small 5 of the infidels were guilty of any malfeasance against islam. Yet these apologists rise up in arms, when mere mortals like us use generalizations. Is it that generalizations are allowed only to the infallible, omniscient & omnipresent and not the fallibles like us , I wonder?

    I wonder if the author of this article would dare write this in paradises of paradises in that dar-ul-islam called Saudi Arabia. I wonder would he be just tarred and feathered and ran out on the rail – do that have rails there? Or will he skewered on an open pit? or will he be severed of the four limbs and then stoned, until he breathes his last? I wish one of our apologist blogger will enlighten us on this as well. Our apologist bloggers could you please, please – I beg you – enlighten us.

  • Secular1

    My comment here has been lost.

  • Secular1

    oh well it appeared suddenly as if it were magic. Proof positive sky-daddy is alive and kicking. That is all i needed hallelujah.

  • SODDI

    “Muslims for Life” is almost as bitterly funny as the ubiquitous Christian “Choose Life” bumper sticker.

    Knowing both religions’ pasts, it’s easy to understand that both worship death far more than life.

  • SNLDallas

    Islam is religion of peace. Terrorism, violence and hatred are not the teaching of Islam. The fanatic group of Muslims is ruining the peaceful religion, Islam. Islam teaches or explained by clerics (Mullah) is the wrong interpretation. Islam teaches us that unless man learns to live at peace with himself and his fellow human beings, he cannot live at peace with God. The first thing for peace is to respect others feelings. Islam re-en forces the concept of humanity and respect for individual liberty.
    Ahmadiyya Muslim community founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed of Qadian India is practicing the true teaching of Islam that is peace, Loyalty to yours authorities, Love for humanity and respect to all.
    No religion teaches violence and terrorism or killing innocent peoples in the name of religion. To unite mankind under one flag can even momentarily entertain the idea of employing force to spread teaching of the religion. Swords can win territories but not hearts. Force can bend heads but not minds. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Motto is, “Love for ALL Hatred for None”. Please visit http://www.alislam.org to get the true picture of Islam

  • SNLDallas

    Islam is religion of peace. Terrorism, violence and hatred are not the teaching of Islam. The fanatic group of Muslims is ruining the peaceful religion, Islam. Islam teaches or explained by clerics (Mullah) is the wrong interpretation. Islam teaches us that unless man learns to live at peace with himself and his fellow human beings, he cannot live at peace with God. The first thing for peace is to respect others feelings. Islam re-en forces the concept of humanity and respect for individual liberty.
    Ahmadiyya Muslim community founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed of Qadian India is practicing the true teaching of Islam that is peace, Loyalty to yours authorities, Love for humanity and respect to all.
    No religion teaches violence and terrorism or killing innocent peoples in the name of religion. To unite mankind under one flag can even momentarily entertain the idea of employing force to spread teaching of the religion. Swords can win territories but not hearts. Force can bend heads but not minds. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Motto is, “Love for ALL Hatred for None”. Please visit http://www.alislam.org to get the true picture of Islam

  • SNLDallas

    Islam is religion of peace. Terrorism, violence and hatred are not the teaching of Islam. The fanatic group of Muslims is ruining the peaceful religion, Islam. Islam teaches or explained by clerics (Mullah) is the wrong interpretation. Islam teaches us that unless man learns to live at peace with himself and his fellow human beings, he cannot live at peace with God. The first thing for peace is to respect others feelings. Islam re-en forces the concept of humanity and respect for individual liberty.
    Ahmadiyya Muslim community founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed of Qadian India is practicing the true teaching of Islam that is peace, Loyalty to yours authorities, Love for humanity and respect to all.
    No religion teaches violence and terrorism or killing innocent peoples in the name of religion. To unite mankind under one flag can even momentarily entertain the idea of employing force to spread teaching of the religion. Swords can win territories but not hearts. Force can bend heads but not minds. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Motto is, “Love for ALL Hatred for None”. Please visit http://www.alislam.org to get the true picture of Islam

  • SNLDallas

    Islam is religion of peace. Terrorism, violence and hatred are not the teaching of Islam. The fanatic group of Muslims is ruining the peaceful religion, Islam. Islam teaches or explained by clerics (Mullah) is the wrong interpretation. Islam teaches us that unless man learns to live at peace with himself and his fellow human beings, he cannot live at peace with God. The first thing for peace is to respect others feelings. Islam re-en forces the concept of humanity and respect for individual liberty.
    Ahmadiyya Muslim community founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed of Qadian India is practicing the true teaching of Islam that is peace, Loyalty to yours authorities, Love for humanity and respect to all.
    No religion teaches violence and terrorism or killing innocent peoples in the name of religion. To unite mankind under one flag can even momentarily entertain the idea of employing force to spread teaching of the religion. Swords can win territories but not hearts. Force can bend heads but not minds. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Motto is, “Love for ALL Hatred for None”. Please visit http://www.alislam.org to get the true picture of Islam

  • aslam0312

    Yes, it is a worthwhile effort by Ahmadiyya Muslims to show that some thing of practical value is being done to show value of human life and loyalty to the country. I hope more and more people from all walks of life and various faith groups join this humble effort. This effort and philosophy is quiet different from the Mainstream Muslims, who usually preach murder in the name of Jihad.

  • suhailKausar

    Campaigns like ‘Muslims for Peace, Loyalty and Life’ send a loud message to fellow citizen for highlighting the true teachings of Islam, but it also provides better understanding to vulnerable youths of how their religion teaches them to be a source of peace for their communities. We all have to work together irrespective of our religious orientation in order to isolate interpolators of Divine teachings and their ideologies which they exploit only to achieve their nefarious objectives of destruction. For true teachings of Islam, go to http://www.alislam.org
    Suhail Kausar

  • I-touch-the-future

    Excellent article! I am grateful and also proud to have been one of undoubtedly-thousands of individuals who signified their undying devotion in blood on 9/11/2011 — their devotion to humanity’s freedom in general, and the remarkable principles of liberty that form the basis of the United States of America in particular! My contribution was humble but not trite — I GAVE blood at a Red Cross collection center in California. The center was set up in a mosque of the same Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of which the author speaks, a group that has been at the forefront of positive civic and community efforts for decades. While waiting in line for hours, I chatted with other donors. One donor’s words (uttered as he rested a while after giving blood) captured perfectly the mood of the crowd; When given appreciation for having donated, Neil simply said, “It was the least I could do!”

    Just as the tragic events of ten years ago brought the nation together, this tenth anniversary has galvanized Ahmadi Muslims and a myriad of their fellow-citizens into positive action. Where the fiends, whoever they were, wrongfully TOOK lives, Ahmadis and other patriotic citizens are GIVING the gift of life!

    Long live the principles of justice and freedom enshrined in the Constitution! May Ahmadis, and other men and women of goodwill, forever enjoy peace and progress!

  • Muslimsforpeace

    Teachings of any religion can never be to take blood. Prophets come to give life not to take lives. I find this principle so obvious that I wonder how anyone can have hatred and cause violence due to a religion -Islam in this case. 9/11 is indeed a very sad day in our history and innocent victims of the day can never be forgotten. Indeed a good gesture in their remembrance is adopted by Ahmadiyya Muslim community. It’s also a clear message to hate based mentality who were behind 9/11, that we as Americans stand united against extremism.

  • JonathanMAG

    Vice President Joe Biden has read the “Muslims For Life” flyer. He takes the train from his home to DC every day, and youths from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community were handing out flyers on the train.

    The flyer was seen on his desk, where an aide, who recognized the flyer as coming from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, commented to the VP that Ahmadis were Muslims who always stood for peace and loyalty to their country of residence.

    Also, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community does not intend or claim to portray itself as “elitist” compared to the rest of the Muslims in America and elsewhere by presenting themselves as “Muslims for Peace – Loyalty – Life” as if asserting that other Muslims are not for peace, loyalty or life. Far from it (except in the case of the al-Qaida & Taliban jihadist types).

    Ahmadi Muslims invite all Muslims who love and strive for peace to join with us in presenting the true face of peaceful Islam to the world by actions and not just our words.

    What is ironic and sad is that many Muslims — being indoctrinated thru Saudi-paid Wahhabist/Jihadi ideology — brand as as “non-Muslims” & heretics & apostates “deserving to be killed” because of a biased, incorrect and un-investigated understanding of actual Ahmadi beliefs.

    Non-Ahmadi Muslims are taught that Ahmadis do not believe in or follow the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which is NOT TRUE; that we follow a prophet whom we esteem to be higher and better than the Holy Prophet (pbuh) — NOT TRUE; and that Ahmadis do not practice any of the prescribed rites, rituals and prayers (the 5 Pillars and 6 Articles) in islam — ALL NOT TRUE!

    HERE’S THE TRUTH — Ahmadis believe that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the GREATEST and LAST LAW-BREARING PROPHET but that God has all power (and has promised) to raise up a Reformer-Messiah, subordinate NON-LAW-BEARING PROPHET who will never supercede the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or invalidate the Holy Quran as the last Law from God. It’s that simple. The Muslims who denigrate

  • Secular1

    Jonathan, why should I believe that your interpretation is the indeed the correct one. Your sect within islam has been around for less than 1/10th of the age of islam. Are you suggesting sir, that the islam was interpreted incorrectly for 9/10ths of its history? You, yourself said that muslim in the two most populous muslim countries do not care to keep you people from persecuted. So given all the above couldn’t we consider that your sect is just an aberration of islam, albeit a very good aberration. That islam is fundementally flawed?

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