Thousands Rally for Multi-Faith, Bi-Partisan Call for Compassion
For 34th consecutive year, the holiday weekend brings thousands together to break bread at Muslim conference
On Saturday, December 21, prominent civic, political and religious leaders across Southern California joined Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA during its 34th Annual West Coast peace conference in Chino, CA, to discuss ways to resolve conflict with compassion. The special event brought together thousands of people across the religious spectrum (Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims) and political spectrum (Republican and Democrat leaders) to share dialogue and a meal together. The gathering (called Jalsa Salana) featured various speeches on social and religious topics for men, women and children.
City of Chino Mayor, Eunice Ulloa, and Chief of Police, Wesley Simmons, began the conference by addressing the crowd to share their experiences working with Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. “You are a vital component in our city serving the needy and serving those of all faiths,” said Mayor Eunice Ulloa. Chief Simmons took this as an opportunity to recognize the relationship the police department has had with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He said, “your theme of compassion is what you have shown to the men and women of the Chino Police Department.”
San Bernardino County Supervisor, Janice Rutherford, addressed the crowd, stating: “Despite different faiths, ethnicities, races, beliefs, and habits, we share a community…I commend you for the tremendous service you have rendered to this community…Thank you for holding up a light for all of us to see and all of us to follow.”
California State Assembly member, Elois Reyes, has attended this conference for several years. “This is a special day for many reasons. We are here to join hands, to uplift each other, to celebrate unity among all people. I commend your dedicated service,” said Reyes. “Today I want to present this resolution from the state assembly to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to say to our neighbors, friends and constituents that we stand with you against islamophobia and hatred, and we will work to defend your right to worship.”
Diana Morales read a letter from Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the California Assembly, that stated: “I congratulate your community on its long history in this country. It is remarkable that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA will reach its 100th anniversary in the coming year. Your commitment to tolerance and dialogue is an important one.”
Mayor Raul Elias of the City of Pico Rivera recognized the Community’s new presence in his city. “You beautify our neighborhood scenery with your new Masroor Mosque, led by Imam Tariq…I honor the leadership of your Khalifa [and] look forward to welcoming His Holiness to Pico Rivera on his next visit.”
“You are pillars of our community, and I admire the depth of your commitment to spreading compassion, unifying everyone and educating everyone on what you do and who you are,” said Mayor Dr. Lynn Kennedy of the City of Rancho Cucamonga. “I consider you as partners. We appreciate everything you do.”
Artesia Mayor Ali Sajjad Taj echoed that sentiment, stating: “I look forward to working with you for many years as I have in the past, to enhance peace and tranquility across California and the world. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community sends a message of peace and I’m a big supporter of that.”
“From feeding the hungry to welcoming refugees, it is clear to see how our values align…The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been steadfast in its support for charity and generosity. You dedicate your free time and resources to helping those in need because you believe in Love for All and Hatred for None,” remarked U.S. Congresswoman Norma Torres. Citing the words of His Holiness the Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community during his 2018 visit when he said: “In times of grief and despair, we will always be there to wipe away the tears of our neighbors,” the Congresswoman said, “This community works to wipe away the tears of those around them.” Rep. Torres concluded by recognizing the Community’s historic 100-year anniversary approaching in 2020. “I want to extend my early congratulations to your centennial. I look forward to celebrating with you.”
The event concluded with a keynote address by Islamic scholar, Imam Azam Akram, who said: “All of you are here today with the heartfelt wish that the world comes to be filled with love, affection and friendship.” He quoted the Khalifa (Spiritual Leader of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community), His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who said “we must endeavor to always consider and respect the feelings of one another; and I would also request all of you to help and assist in our efforts to fulfil this crucial object. We must try to promote peace and reconciliation in society, because the alternative is that burning flames of hatred and conflict will continue to erupt and will come to engulf the entire world. Thus, it is my prayer and desire that all of you should help us to promote love, affection, reconciliation and brotherhood throughout society.”
About the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community: The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a dynamic, reformist and fast-growing international movement within Islam. Founded in 1889, the Community spans 213 countries with tens of millions of members. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, established in 1920, is among the first American-Muslim organizations.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only Islamic organization to believe that the long- awaited messiah has come in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) of Qadian, India. Ahmad claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus of Nazareth and the divine guide, whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. The Community believes that God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace. Ahmad’s advent has brought about an unprecedented era of Islamic revival and moderation. He divested Muslims of fanatical beliefs and practices by vigorously championing Islam’s true and essential teachings.