Muslim dialogue in Cochrane
Posted By Sara Francis
Posted 7 days ago
Violence against Muslims in Pakistan will be a topic of discussion when the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community meets in Cochrane July 24-25.
Recently a terrorist attack against two Ahmadis mosques in Lahore, Pakistan on May 28 left more than 80 people killed and dozens injured. It was a devastating reminder for Calgarian Sultan Mahmood of the ongoing violence and why he fled Pakistan in 1992 to seek refuge in Canada due to religious persecution.
“Many people in Calgary lost their relatives in the bombing,” said Mahmood, adding he knows of an Ahmadis follower in Cochrane who lost her uncle in the bombing.
“Things have gone from bad to worse,” he said.
On a more positive note, the Calgary Ahmadiyya Muslim Community received national media attention two years ago this July when Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to northeast Calgary for the opening of the 48,000-square-foot Baitun Nur mosque, the largest mosque complex in Canada.
Mahmood was among the Ahmadis members to re-finance his home in order to cover the cost of the $14-million mosque, a negligible cost compared to the loss of religious freedom he experienced in Pakistan.
“I understand how it feels to be suppressed in a society, how it feels to be not an equal citizen, how it feels to be persecuted and how it feels to remain in continuous fear,” said Mahmood.
For this reason he is grateful to be able to openly express his faith in Canada. He is tirelessly coordinating the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Western Canada Convention at Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre this weekend and welcomes the Cochrane-area public to attend the Sunday afternoon session starting at 2 p.m., followed by dinner.
“We looked around to see if we could get some place that is beautiful and peaceful and where there are not too many distractions. We were lucky to find a place in Cochrane,” said Mahmood.
Mayor Truper McBride has been invited as well as provincial and federal politicians in hopes they will learn more about the Ahmadiyaa Muslim Community and the state of Ahmadis in the world.
“We have been requesting our government in Canada that they should use the diplomatic channels and talk to the government of Pakistan,” said Mahmood.