The following press release is from Baitul Baseer Mosque.
On Sunday, June 10, 2012, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Silicon Valley, CA held a Panel Discussion on the topic of “Khilafat - Leadership in Islam, Political and Spiritual,” at the Milpitas Community Center, 457 East Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas.
Muslims all over the world, numbering over one billion, are in a state of social and political disarray. Many Muslims seem to have concluded that secular goals such as individual freedom and the rights of women cannot be achieved within the framework of the Islamic way of life. Others have adopted an extremist viewpoint and use militant means to acquire political hegemony under a misguided belief that this serves the cause of Islam. The root of this disarray and dissolution lies in the vacuum of leadership that exists in Islamic societies today. Only the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a dynamic and reformist organization within Islam, offers a viable solution to this problem by reviving the true and pristine teachings of Islam. And it was this solution and this message that was being presented at the event on Sunday.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community propounds Khilafat, the institution of functional leadership, as a means for achieving a lasting peace in the world. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which has an international outlook and a presence in over 200 countries, categorically rejects the use of violence in any form and divests Islam of fanatical beliefs and practices by championing Islam's true and essential teachings of moderation, tolerance, peace, love, and justice. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes that Islam offers a perfect balance between secular and spiritual aspects of life.
After a Reception during which several members of the Bay Area community including public officials, political, religious and community leaders mingled with each other, the program started shortly after 5:30pm with a recitation from the Holy Quran. Introductory remarks were then made by Aftab Jamil, Vice President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Silicon Valley Chapter located at 926 Evans Road, Milpitas. Welcoming the some 200+ guests, Mr. Jamil commented that it was wonderful seeing new and old friends together again and the event itself was a celebration of the diversity within our community and the commonality of purpose that we all share in building a community that is based on peace, harmony, security and justice for all. These sentiments were in fact echoed by each speaker that followed underscoring the motto of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community - “Love for All, Hatred for None.”
In his Welcoming Address, Wasim A. Malik, the President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Silicon Valley Chapter and National Vice President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA., mentioned that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which is the oldest Islamic organization in the United States of America, is a dynamic community with branches in over 200 countries and a global membership exceeding tens of millions. The Community is an embodiment of the benevolent message of Islam in its pristine purity. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community categorically rejects violence in any form, endorses the separation of Church/Mosque and State, and continues to be an advocate of human rights across the globe. Wherever the Community is established, it endeavors to exert a constructive influence of Islam through social projects, educational institutions, health services, Islamic publications and construction of mosques, despite being bitterly persecuted in some countries.
Mr. Malik’s comments provided a segue to the event’s Awards & Appreciation ceremony. Given that the event itself was about leadership, Mr. Jamil said that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wished to recognize leaders within our community who have demonstrated excellence in public service and civic responsibilities. These included Supervisor Santa Clara County, Dave Cortese; Milpitas Mayor, Jose Esteves; Chief of Police, Dennis Graham; community volunteer, Judy Chirco; food services administrator, Pat Plant; and Member, Advisory Committee on Small and Minority Business to United States Secretary of Commerce, Teresa Coxus.
Receiving his award from Mr. Malik, Supervisor Cortese said that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is truly remarkable in its having served various people all over the world. He said that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has taken its due seat at the table to promote freedom of conscience and communal harmony thereby propagating not only its own religious beliefs, but the beliefs of other faiths and religions as well as the fundamental values and principles of our country’s constitution.
During his acceptance speech, Mayor Esteves remarked that he is inspired every time he attends an Ahmadiyya Muslim Community event. He said that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has exhibited a deep commitment to the community and by holding events such as the one on Sunday afternoon, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continues to promote awareness and understanding of the fact that we are one community and one family.
In her remarks, Teresa Cox emphasized the importance of celebrating peace and brotherhood. Paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, she read an excerpt on his vision of freedom and peace from “Living the Dream.”
Other members of the Bay Area community who were recognized at the event included Armando Gomez of the City Council; Althea Polanski of the City Council; Teresa Castellanos, County of Santa Clara, Office of Human Relations; Anita Mukherjee, Suicide Prevention Associate; Deepka Lalwani, Candidate for Council; Mark Tierman, Candidate for Council; Reverend Susan Overland of the Center for Spiritual Living, Miss. Wei-Chien Lee, Counselor. San Jose State University, Reverend Abigail Schairer of the Center for Spiritual Living; Reverend Gerald Sakamoto of the San Jose Buddhist Church; Reverend Mark Denni of the San Lorenzo Family Church; Terra Wood-Taylor of First Unitarian Church of San Jose; and Head Priest Bajwa of the Sikh Temple, San Jose.
Mayor Esteves introduced the event’s keynote speaker, Imam Mubasher Ahmad, Missionary of the North West Region of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA. In his Keynote Address, Imam Mubasher explained the concept of Caliphate or more accurately, Khilafat in Islam. A Khalifa, Imam Mubasher explained, is one who comes after a Prophet of God and serves as his successor. The true or rightly guided Khalifa is one who is connected to the Divine Creator and one who is committed to serving mankind. The basic mission of a Khalifa is to promote spirituality and he has no political, material or temporal agenda. Imam Mubasher gave a brief exposition on the role of the Khilafat (the spiritual institution of successorship to prophethood) in the history of Islam. The first Khilafat was established following the death of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) however following this, the term Khilafat was somewhat erroneously used to refer to the political and temporal leaders of the Islamic world as in the case of the Ottoman Empire. It was in 1908, upon the death of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), that the institution of a spiritually inclined and Divinely inspired Khalifa was reinstituted fulfilling God’s promise to safeguard the message of Islam through the system of Khilafat.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community today is the foremost Islamic organization with a central spiritual leader. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes that only spiritual successorship can uphold the true values of Islam and unite humanity. Five spiritual leaders have succeeded Ahmad since his demise in 1908. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s fifth and current spiritual leader, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, resides in the United Kingdom. Under the leadership of its spiritual successors, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has now built more than 15,000 mosques, more than 500 schools, and more than 30 hospitals. It has translated the Holy Quran into more than 60 languages. It propagates the true teachings of Islam and the message of peace and tolerance through a 24-hour satellite television channel (MTA or www.mta.tv), the Internet (www.alislam.org) and print (Islam International Publications) which includes The Muslim Sunrise launched almost 90 years ago in the United States (www.muslimsunrise.com ).
Imam Mubasher briefly mentioned some of the principles espoused by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community through the institution of Khilafat - belief in the separation of Church/Mosque and State; emphasis upon moral and spiritual advancement; balance between spiritual knowledge and temporal knowledge/education; belief in the Supernatural Power (God) that provides enlightenment to every human being provided he/she forms a connection with Him; recognition of the noble teachings of the great religious founders such as Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha and the commonality between Islam and other religious faiths, many of which were represented at the event; and belief in the principles of non-violence, serving mankind and saving lives as captured in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s motto of “Love for All, Hatred for None.”
Following the Keynote Address, a panel comprising of Imam Mubasher, Mr. Malik and Daud Chaudhry, member of the operating board of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Silicon Valley chapter, discussed the crisis of leadership in Islam and the role of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in addressing it. They also responded to questions asked by members of the audience. The panelists underscored the fact that Islam condemns terrorism unreservedly and totally, and Ahmad, the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, had declared over 120 years ago that there is no place or justification found in Islam for violence whatsoever. Mr. Malik explained Islam’s concept of the separation of Mosque and State, the basis of which is Absolute Justice. Mr. Chaudhry explained the true concept of Jihad in Islam, which emphasized that the highest form of Jihad is striving for the spiritual reformation of one’s own soul, and not the violent form of jihad that has been championed by some terrorists and mischief mongers, and irrational interpretations of Quranic pronouncements and misapplications of Islamic law by certain extremists. Imam Mubasher highlighted that following the example of the Promised Messiah, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continues to spread Islam’s true teachings of moderation and restraint with compassion, patience and prayers despite having been at the receiving end of bitter opposition from extremists in the Muslim world.
The event concluded with a dinner which one guest commented, reflected the hospitality that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Milpitas has become synonymous with on events such as this, including their annual dinner during Ramadhan and their neighborhood barbeques.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s local chapter is located at 926 Evans Road in Milpitas. More information may be obtained by visiting the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community website on www.alislam.org or calling 1-800-WHY-ISLAM.