MÉRIDA, Yucatán, February 9th.- Naseem Mahdi, national vice president and missionary-in-charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United Stated, visited Mexico for the first time a few days ago and spent a week at the center of the Community in Merida.
|Waseem A. Sayed, representative of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Mexico, Naseem Mahdi and Imam Noman Rana (Photo: JMRM)|
Mahdi spoke to the local Ahmadiyya Community and the general public on January 29th and February 5th during their weekly gatherings, teaching the attendants a few words in Arabic for a better understanding of the Quran and the fundamental notions of Islam.
Libertad de Expresión Yucatán interviewed Mahdi right after his last public appearance in this city during his visit, asking him about the Community's reaction to the recent terrorist attacks in France and ISIS' radicalism, among other issues.
Tell us a little about the current state of the Community worldwide.
"By the Grace of God we are increasing day by day and now more and more people are saying that we are the fastest growing religious community in the world and the reason is that our message is a message of peace and this is a contrast".
Mahdi warned that some leaders of Islam are promoting violence and doing things which cannot be expected from any religion.
"What ISIS is doing... I was in tears to just read that they have burned that pilot, it is so painful. How could a person say that this is our religion and we are giving him the punishment according to Islam?"
Do people sometimes give you a hard time, thinking you're all the same?
"We, by the Grace of God, without having any fear we condemn these terrorists".
"After 9/11 we condemned that violence and we said that this is unfortunately a crime against humanity".
"How could you kill people who are innocent civilians in the name of Islam?"
"In the United States we started a campaign under the banner "Muslims for Life". We asked people to donate blood and started collaborating with the Red Cross and other organizations".
"By the Grace of God, in three years we were able to collect more than 35 thousand pints of blood".
"The Red Cross says that one pint of blood saves three lives. They say that we were able to save 100,000 lives in the United States with this initiative of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community".
Was life harder for you in the United States after 9/11?
"Not for our community because, by the Grace of God, wherever we are we have created this understanding which is very clear that we are not violent people and now people have started differentiating even more and they say "these is a totally peaceful community of Islam".
What was your stance regarding the attack against Charlie Hebdo?
"We condemn violence, when people start taking the law in their own hands and we say that this is unfortunate that they have killed those people. They should have not done it because we say that if we want to demonstrate against something you should do a peaceful demonstration, not killing people".
"The thing which people have missed unfortunately was why this has happened. That a person has misused the freedom of expression. Why would you, in the name of that freedom, hurt the feelings of 1.5 billion people?"
"And then people say that we love Prophet Muhammad more that our own parents and we love Prophet Muhammad more than anything in our life. When somebody does something wrong some people become emotional and they cannot control their emotions".
"So we say that, unfortunately, the world is missing this point… It's a matter of decency. If I am a decent person I will not hurt you".
"How would you like if I go to somebody's home, I knock at the door and the person comes out and I start accusing him, and accusing his father, his mother and his whole family and say "I'm using my freedom of choice". This is wrong".
"When the 40 heads of state went to Paris to show their solidarity... I said they should have also spoken on this issue that why people are misusing their freedom and why they are hurting the feelings of religious people".
"There are always limits and there has to be always decency and respect for others".
You spent one week here in Merida. What are your impressions on the Community here?
"I'm very happy and excited and I'm going with heavy heart because I wanted to stay here and talk to people".
"We have been accepted and welcomed by the people in Merida. We are distributing about 5,000 flyers every day and not a single person has ever said something wrong or something stupid on the street. They have taken our flyers".
"Every Thursday more and more people are coming, asking questions, and I think this is excellent and I'm going with this intention that I'll come back". (JMRM)