USA: Ahmadiyya Muslim group brings 'True Islam' to UCI with discussion of Prophet Muhammad - Ahmadiyya Media Library


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Thursday, 21 April 2016

USA: Ahmadiyya Muslim group brings 'True Islam' to UCI with discussion of Prophet Muhammad

Daily Rabwah | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Orange County Register
By Deepa Bharath | April 20, 2016

IRVINE – Who was the Prophet Muhammad, and for what ideals did he stand?

That was the question Amjad Mahmood Khan, lawyer and national director of public affairs for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, addressed at an event the organization hosted Tuesday night at UC Irvine as part of its nationwide True Islam campaign.

Speaking to a gathering of about 50 people, Khan said extremist groups such as the Islamic State, have distorted the true teachings of Islam to further their agendas.

“The Prophet Muhammad has specifically said, ‘Do not strike terror in the hearts of people,’” Khan said. “And that is exactly what ISIS is doing, contrary to his teachings.”

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community launched its True Islam campaign days after the Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino in which 14 people were killed and 22 seriously injured.

Tuesday’s event was part of the group’s effort to bring that campaign to Orange County, especially to college campuses. The group already has an informational booth every Saturday at Cypress College, where it hands out similar information, and plans to hold more events in Orange County in the coming months.

Khan focused his talk on the Prophet Muhammad, his life and teachings. He said Muhammad did not even refer to himself as a “prophet” until he turned 40.

“Muhammad was strongly in favor of a pluralistic society,” he said. “He sought peace among non-Muslims. He had a special place in his heart for the poor and the marginalized. He wanted equality for women.”

The word “Islam” mirrors the ideology of the religion’s founder, Khan said. Islam is derived from the Arabic root “salema,” which means peace.

Khan referenced two historic documents, which he said clarified Muhammad’s intent to uphold the ideals of peace and tolerance. One was the Charter of Medina, a constitution, drafted by Muhammad, which formed the basis of a multireligious Islamic state in the city of Medina.

The second document was a letter written and sent by Muhammad to the monks of St. Catherine’s Monastery offering Christians his respect and protection. A reproduction of the letter is still displayed at the monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt, Khan said.

Why, then, do extremist groups such as ISIS quote passages from the Quran encouraging the killing of non-Muslims? Khan said the passage from the Quran ISIS and other extremist groups print on fliers and distribute for recruitment purposes is taken out of context.

“They deliberately leave out the passages that come before and after, which clearly and emphatically state that war is an option only when your ability to practice your faith is under attack,” he said. “True jihad, or holy war, is not waged by the sword.”

After the talk, Orange Coast College student Nicole Rost said she learned a lot about the history of Islam and about Muhammad.

“I did not know that he emphasized so much on respecting all religions,” she said. “I was surprised to hear that.”

Rachelle Reiff, a sophomore at UC Irvine, said she was particularly intrigued that Muhammad wrote a letter to the monks of St. Catherine’s Monastery and his respect for Christians.

“As a Catholic, I was really impressed by that fact,” she said. “I do believe that Islam is a peaceful religion. Now, I feel like I have more facts when I talk to people who don’t.”

For more information about the True Islam campaign, go to

Contact Deepa Bharath: 714-796-7909 or

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