Muslim group spreads message of peace

Twelve-year-old Raza Rahman deals with the negative perception many Americans have against Muslims on a daily basis, he said.

Classmates tease him about bringing bombs to school and the terrorist jokes never end.

"I pretty much have gotten used to it," Raza said. "That's all they have to bring up to me. I've gotten most of my friends to stop. But it doesn't matter how many times I tell the other students to stop, they just won't."

To combat the stereotype many have placed on the Islamic religion, a group from the Aymadiyya Muslim Community met Wednesday with local leaders and handed out brochures to residents in Bryan spreading the message of "Muslims for Peace."

"We are not the Muslims the media has presented," said Mohammed Zafarullah, an imam, or religious minister, in Houston. "We are the Muslims who want to promote peace."

He came to Bryan with Dawood Munir, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Houston.

Munir stressed that while certain sects of Muslims believe that the message behind the Islamic term jihad is to engage in a holy war, that's not what the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes. The English translation of jihad is "to struggle," he said.

Their messiah taught that killing in the name of God was disgraceful, Munir said, and his followers were instructed to spread the Muslim faith through debate and reasoning.

"After September 11, there were a lot of things in the media about Islam and terrorism," he said. "Americans were asking why Muslims weren't coming out and condemning terrorists."

That's what Ahmadiyya Muslims are now attempting to do around the world, he said. It took time to become organized and receive directions from their leader, but Munir and the others said they shared the same sentiments as Americans about terrorism and denounced those who took part.

Munir and Zafarullah have been speaking out against terrorism and spreading the message of Muslims for Peace since July.

People they've met have responded "beautifully," Zafarullah said.

Local Muslim Ahmad Rahman moved to the area from Pakistan with his wife and family in 1985. He's been helping deliver the Muslims for Peace message in larger cities, and asked Munir and Zafarullah to assist him in emphasizing the points locally.

"We believe in love," he said. "We believe in peace and harmony for everyone."

His wife, Bushra Rahman, was with the group of men and spoke out against the stereotype that Muslim women are oppressed.

She was dressed in Islamic garb -- wearing a long dress that covered a majority of her body and a head scarf.

Despite what many may think, the traditional outfit makes her feel secure, she said.

Members of the group said they will continue to speak out against Muslim terrorists and hope that someday Americans will see that just because certain Islamic factions commit terrorist acts in the name of their god, the majority of Muslims want peace for all.

Reference URL - http://www.theeagle.com/local/Muslim-group-spreads--message-of-peace
Category: News
2010-11-04T10:53:39-04:00 News|