Muslims for Life Campaign Honors 9/11 Victims with Annual Blood Drive and Memorial Event
For the eleventh year in a row, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA commemorated the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by organizing a nationwide blood drive to honor the victims lost and to emphasize Islam’s essential teachings about the sanctity of life. Known as “Muslims for Life,” the campaign has collected 65,000 pints of blood and counting—and has saved close to 200,000 lives.
To mark the solemn occasion on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA hosted a special virtual event that day to highlight its Muslims for Life blood drives around the country, share Islam’s true teachings and feature live interviews from blood drive sites at mosques in Boston, Connecticut and Virginia.
“We felt as a community that we wanted to send a message: the only blood Muslims should shed is to save lives,” said Amjad Mahmood Khan, the community’s national director for public affairs, who moderated Saturday’s virtual event. “We have transformed our mosques into service centers.”
Partnering to save lives
Speakers at the virtual event included U.S. member of Congress Rep. Norma Torres of California and Dr. Yvette Marie Miller, executive medical officer for donor and client support at the American Red Cross, as well as community members such as local mayors, police chiefs and fire chiefs at three Muslims for Life blood drives around the country.
Rep. Torres has been a longtime supporter of the Muslims for Life campaign, attending several blood drives at the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, Calif.
“Each year, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community honors the victims of 9/11, turning this dark day into a day of service, love and remembrance by hosting blood drives and saving lives. There is no more love than to save someone’s life by giving with your own blood,” Rep. Torres said during her remarks, adding that she had been impressed by the spirit of service and dedication at the Muslims for Life blood drives.
The Muslims for Life campaign relies on partnering with the American Red Cross to help administer blood drives around the country, a fact that Dr. Miller highlighted in her address.
“The Red Cross is immensely grateful for the blood donations of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. When blood is needed, only blood will do…your organization has donated 65,000 pints or more,” she said.
The virtual event also featured live interviews at three Muslims for Life blood drives around the country, including one at the Baitul Aman Mosque in Meriden, Conn. Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati was on site, commenting that “people of all walks of life are coming in to give back to others. You’re doing that here with your mosque, and I can’t thank you enough.”
Islam’s true message
Mayor Scarpati added that the community’s message of “love for all, hatred for none” is what the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is all about .
It’s precisely that message the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community hoped to highlight during its virtual event. Imam Frasat Ahmad, who is posted at the Baitur Rehman Mosque in Silver Spring, Md., home of the national headquarters of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, spoke about the true teachings of Islam, which were unfortunately distorted by the heinous acts on 9/11.
“Twenty years later, the memory [of 9/11] still haunts me,” said Imam Ahmad, who lived in New York City during the attacks. “And 20 years later, to this day, I and my fellow Muslim Americans are still presumed guilty of the heinous crime that is 9/11. And those who presume us guilty have no idea that the bulk of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims find militant Islam such as Taliban, Al-Qaeda and ISIS completely despicable.”
He added that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community across the world, both since its inception in 1889 and since the 9/11 attacks, has vigorously denounced and condemned all terrorist attacks. “It’s inherent within our religion to be a people of peace,” he said.
Imam Ahmad continued by highlighting the message of His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (may Allah be his helper), the fifth worldwide spiritual leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
“He has traversed continents…to condemn these attacks and to espouse and disseminate one message—a message of peace,” said Imam Ahmad.
He went on to quote His Holiness directly: “In his own words, His Holiness said: ‘These evil acts conducted by extremists claiming to be Muslims have nothing to do with the real teachings of Islam. The very meaning of Islam is peace, security, giving a guarantee of protection against all forms of harm and evil.’ He asks, ‘Who is a true Muslim?’ He says, ‘the question cannot even arise in the heart of a true Muslim that he should bear enmity, ill will or hatred toward any of God’s creation.’”
He also quoted the holy founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). “The Holy Prophet has said that God has made the blood of every human being sacred and holy to one another.”
Imam Ahmad added that some 10,000 Americans have lost their lives as a result of terrorism, comparing that to the pints of blood donated by that Ahmadiyya Muslim Community which have saved up to 200,000 lives so far. That means that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has saved 20 American lives for each one lost in connection to terrorism since 9/11.
Watch the complete video of the event below. Muslims for Life blood drives are continuing around the country. Find a blood drive near you at muslimsforlife.org.