Muslims urged to cast aside differences of religion, ethnicity and nationality for the sake of peace and unity.
A clarion call to Muslims to set aside differences and work relentlessly for peace and unity in the UK has been made on the occasion of the opening of a new mosque in South East London.
To mark the opening, and as part of its ongoing commitment to serving mankind, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community donated thousands of pounds to British charities.
Representatives of all major religions had gathered for the inaugural ceremony of the new £675,000 mosque in Catford, which had been funded entirely from voluntary donations from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community – many of whom had donated jewellery, savings and indeed pocket money for this noble purpose.
The worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the fifth Caliph of the community, opened the new Tahir Mosque and led its inaugural prayers.
At the opening ceremony, also attended by Heidi Alexander, MP for Lewisham East and Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, cheques totalling £5000 were presented to the MP’s charity, Youth AID Lewisham, and to the Mayor’s charity the Lavender Trust. This adds to the hundreds of thousands of pounds donated to British charities by the community each year.
The purpose of a mosque to serve as a beacon for peace was highlighted at the event by His Holiness Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who said:
"It is essential that a Muslim should never usurp the rights of others and instead he should cast aside all differences of religion, nationality or ethnicity and seek to become the means of support and love for all others. If someone comes to a Muslim for help, then it is the duty of the Muslim to try and fulfil that need."
Addressing the issue of Islamophobia, the Caliph spoke of the fear some people held of mosques and of Islam itself. But he said it was the acts of a small number of extremists who were destroying the peace and security of society at large. These were enemies of all of mankind – and were not at all in keeping with the real teachings of Islam. He added:
"Peace in society is a two-way process and can only be established if all parties work together towards mutual reconciliation.
"We must set aside our own personal desires and instead be concerned for the future existence and well-being of our next generations. We must adopt selflessness rather than selfishness. When we all join together and come to respect each other’s feelings and sentiments then and only then will an atmosphere of mutual love develop. It is then that we will truly see the beautiful society that all peaceful people desire."
The National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, Rafiq Hayat, said:
"Love for All, Hatred for None defines the ethos of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and it underpins our mission in every mosque. These are abodes of peace where we worship God and give thanks for His blessings.
"The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community built the first mosque in London in Putney in 1924 and at the turn off this century, we opened western Europe’s biggest mosque, again in London. The new mosque in Catford will share the vision that is common to all our mosques and that is an ongoing commitment to build bridges between communities and to strive for peace.
"That is why we are running a national peace campaign from our mosques across the UK, raising funds for local charities, holding blood donation drives and holding interfaith events. This is true Islam in practice"
The mosque will serve some 300 worshippers and features prayer halls for men and women.