Religious Communities and Sects

Paragons of Peace Amidst Horrors of War

As the war in Gaza worsens, there has been one voice in the Muslim world that has highlighted the  suffering of all the innocent victims caught up in this atrocity. That would be the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which is led by His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), who has constantly warned the world of the urgent need to address injustice and to foster understanding and solidarity between different religious communities.

In response to this, the head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the Holy Land, Muhammad Sharif Odeh has initiated  programs aimed at increasing harmony between Jews and Muslims in this time of heightened political tension and fear.

On Monday, October 30th the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community along with the Haifa Laboratory for Religious Studies convened a multi-faith meeting to address the importance of religious coexistence and tolerance. Six hundred representatives and religious leaders from Judaism, Christianity, Islam and and Buddhism participated. 

Muhammad Sharif Odeh emphasised Islam’s condemnation of attacks on all innocent people and highlighted the true teachings of Islam, which promote “Love for All, Hatred for None.” He urged Jewish guests not to justify harmful actions in the name of revenge.

The attendees commented on how the program had highlighted how different religious communities can coexist peacefully even in times of war:

“In my view, this gathering serves as a significant testament that demonstrates to the Islamic community, the Jewish community, and the global community at large that we can engage in meaningful dialogue that brings us together. We are not adversaries; we are allies. Together, we achieve success.”

“This voice holds great significance, not just for the Islamic faith you represent but for all religions. This message of unity was profoundly moving, and it deserves global recognition. Embracing diversity and fostering coexistence are invaluable principles. As the Imam eloquently stated, we are not two separate entities, but one.”  

Both organisers and guests commended the mosque’s role in hosting the event, reflecting that this was a beacon of hope in a region marred by discord and conflict, truly embodying the Ahmadiyya Community message of “Love for All, Hatred for None.”

Haifa mosque

“This event brought a smile to my face when I was in a difficult emotional state and lacked the inclination to even smile. After hearing the address of the head of the community, (Mohammad Sharif Odeh ) I feel a profound sense of relief. It was my first time meeting him, and I must say he is an exceptional individual. I wholeheartedly wish he could lead our country as Prime Minister. He embodies true liberalism and advocates for the love of humanity, a rare quality in today’s world. While extremism, hostility, racism, and arrogance are sadly prevalent, the values of love and others that he emphasised are seldom seen. Therefore, today’s event holds immense significance, and I wish there were more people like him.”

The following day, the community also reached out to neighbours through text messages and social media promotions and 5,000 advertisements were printed and distributed within a few days, reaching people in the surrounding areas.

About the author: Imam Imaduddin Al Masri is an Imam for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Kababir in the Israeli town of Haifa.

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