Anwer Mahmood Khan
On Friday, 21 December 2018, prominent civic, political and religious leaders across Southern California lauded the efforts of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in USA during its 33rd West Coast Jalsa Salana at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, California.
More than 2,000 delegates, including 220 guests, took part in a special session to discuss ways to establish peace. The special event kicked off the weekend convention that saw members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat from several western states, as well as Canada and Europe, convene in Chino. The gathering featured various speeches on social and religious topics for men, women and children.
The theme of the evening gathering was Justice – the Foundation of Lasting Peace. National vice president and missionary in-charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in USA, Azhar Haneef Sahib, highlighted the life example of the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammadsa, and his standards of kindness and justice to all: “It’s not just about being kind to one another, its being kind even to the one who hates you.”
California Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes acknowledged the work of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat towards promoting peace, commenting, “I value your voice at the table. We must promote peace and interreligious harmony. We must focus on building bridges and finding common grounds.”
Mayors from the cities of Chino and Pomona, alongside local police chiefs, voiced their deep appreciation for the Jamaat’s efforts to unite faith communities across southern California. They were joined by prominent faith leaders from the San Bernardino Diocese, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Jewish and Buddhist communities, as well as local academics from University of La Verne and Chaffey College.
Chino Mayor Eunice Ulloa commented, “I will admit to you, as I did when I was first invited to the mosque, I was fearful… there is so much misunderstanding out there. Now when I come here, I am completely at peace in visiting the mosque, and in visiting you. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is truly a community of peace.”
California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon sent a special message to the convention acknowledging the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat’s True Islam campaign which was launched in the aftermath of the 2015 San Bernardino attacks to educate the public about Islam: “The actions enacted by your community across California inspire both hope for the future and goodwill for those around us. The campaign to educate people about the basic tenets of Islam is an important example of outreach and expression.”
As is customary in all Jalsas around the world, food was served to the guests throughout the course of the event with a special marquee being put up for seniors. A tent was installed in the basketball court where dinner was served to guests.
The weather overall was excellent and the event was hailed a success. Alhamdolillah.