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Muslim leaders speak out


By Lisa Brody
News Editor
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When my mother was 12 years old, that's when a lot of the African nations began gaining independence, so being loyal to Britain, my family then migrated to Great Britain. My mother went to school in London; from there, went to Canada; then Canada, here to the States.

I, myself, I am a spiritual person – maybe not as much as I really should be – but I think everyone would say that. We all have our personal jihad – because that's what jihad means, struggle. When you're waging a jihad, you're waging a struggle for the betterment of yourself and for the betterment of mankind. So if individuals say they are going to wage a jihad and kill innocent individuals, where's the betterment in that?

Our readers need to understand the nature or purpose of the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Township and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center in Rochester Hills. What are the centers' purposes and what activities take place here?

ALMASMARI:
I think the purpose of our centers, regardless of the religious nature, is to serve the community and to serve their needs. Basically, to cater to them. The activities that take place are service activities, where we serve our communities. So you could begin with exercise, youth activities, basketball, private classes, tutoring, lectures. We have a cafe so youth can get together. It's pretty large – it can fit over 100 people. We try to make it a welcoming environment where people can come and feel it's their home. It's their home away from home. We have a male youth director and a female youth director, so if anyone has challenges – it could be drug challenges, alcohol challenges, whatever it is, we try to provide services to accommodate our community.

OSMAN: I am an elected official (not a spiritual leader) with the Ahmadiyya Center of Metro Detroit. Our calipha heads the entire community. Each country has what is called an emir, that is elected by a congressional body within that country. That emir has his own cabinet. Each director, or national secretary, they have different offices or departments, like public affairs, outreach, moral training, education, a secretary of finance. From there, each individual chapter elects their own president and each cabinet position as well. I've been elected to serve as the secretary of public affairs for the Ahmadiyya community. This center has been here since 2008.

Can you explain what is the basis of the Muslim religion? There are five pillars of Islam; what are they, and how do they define the faith? How does Islam differ from Christianity and Judaism, and what are its similarities, since the three share similarities?

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