At a recent Sunday service at St. Peter's, West Allis, our mission for social justice was at the forefront. Deacon Karen Buker invited Hassiem Abdullah Babatu of the Bait ul-Qadir Milwaukee chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to address St. Peter’s congregation.
Hassiem arrived early with others in his community, and all shared in fellowship and a light brunch. Before the service began, Hassiem and others from his community formally addressed the congregation.
Their message was quite familiar but always good to hear: Love for all. Hatred for none. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s goal is to build bridges by connecting with people on a human level and helping them understand what we all have a lot in common. “We are what we do. And, in the next life, we will be judged by our actions. Our actions remain here.”
We also learned the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community faces violent persecution in many Muslim countries from extremist radicals who have perverted Islamic teaching, creating misconceptions and misinterpretations of jihad or “struggle.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community staunchly rejects the notion of violent jihad. They believe the greater jihad is the jihad of reforming oneself. This prepares one for the ultimate jihad, serving mankind.
Upon conclusion of their commentary, we proceeded with worship and Eucharist. After the closing hymn and dismissal, those from Ahmadiyya Muslim Community stayed with us for extended conversations. We sought first to understand rather than be understood. We found we all believe that love begets justice. And justice will ultimately beget peace.
Members of St. Peter’s have been invited to visit the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Bait ul-Qadir Mosque on Friday, November 29, to continue our conversations and share in their prayer service.
~Steve Elliot, Senior Warden
St. Peter's Episcopal Church
West Allis, Wisconsin
Photo credit: Karen Buker